Interpret Europe - European Association for Heritage Interpretation e.V. - registered in Germany (project initiator)
We are an independent and non-profit association that brings together people from across Europe who are professionally involved in explaining the significance of heritage sites or collections to non-expert audiences.
Many people work in this special field of non-formal education at historic monuments and sites, museums, protected landscapes, parks and gardens. Regardless of whether dealing with natural or cultural heritage, all share the challenge to present it in a way that enriches the visitors' heritage experience. We call this activity 'heritage interpretation' as this name is well recognised in most English speaking countries, but not yet as widely known in most parts of Europe.
Over the last decades heritage interpretation has developed a professional approach specialised in facilitating learning experiences at heritage sites to visitors. 'Interpreters' develop guided tours, exhibitions, self-guided trails and other forms of on-site visitor experiences. One of their key skills is to carefully select and structure content. Some say interpretation is a form of storytelling. Professional heritage interpretation does four things:
• it provokes visitors’ curiosity and interest in what may be an unfamiliar topic or theme
• it relates the site or objects to visitors' own knowledge, experience, background and values,
• it reveals the significance of the site or objects which visitors can understand and appreciate, and
• it helps people to enjoy a satisfying experience.
As a European association we foster exchange among all who work in this field regardless of which heritage sector they work in.
Our members include:
• practitioners on the ground
• teachers, trainers, researchers
• organisations that use interpretation as a management tool at heritage sites and museums, and
• others who want to help further our aims.
We aim to enhance the quality of heritage-related visitor experiences in Europe by fostering collaboration in education and training, and developing common professional standards.
Interpret Europe – Germany
Mr. Patrick Lehnes