Transforming your ‘thing’ – 5 golden ingredients of interpretelling


 Raw enthusiasm is not enough. If you want people to get excited about  your thing you’ve got to grab their attention – and keep it.

Whether you are working with words, action or other media, the following will help you deepen people’s experience, enjoyment and understanding of your place or object. Use them to transform your thing into something they will remember and treasure.


People like people. So make your stuff about people.  Even if you really want to communicate about otters, or carpets, or trees ferns, or medieval churches, make it about people.  Dig around in the stuff you know till find people and see how the story unfolds if you start with them.


We discover the world with our five senses. People say sensory stuff is for kids but they are wrong. Watch adults , they behave like kids, but shyer. Letting your audience use their senses will help them have a fuller experience of your place or the objects.

Touching the past.

Encourage people to:

  • look – for things they may not otherwise see
  • listen  –  okay, they’ll have to stop chattering and moving which may be tricky , but it’ll be worthwhile.
  • feel  –  do NOT say ‘don’t touch’ if you can possibly avoid it.  We all love touching, prodding, stroking, rubbing. If they cannot touch, use words that describe how things feel.
  • smell for many people this the most evocative of the senses, with the power to unlock memory. Don’t overlook it
  •  tasteIf you can give people something to eat you are onto a winner!  We love eating best of all – and it  has loads of good associations with hospitality and sharing


Tell stories and give information about the things you can see.  This very one.  At this very place. Where you are standing. Here. And Now.


Connect with the important things in people’s lives –  childhood, family, birth, death, travel, home, mystery. These experiences make us human and  link us people throughout the world and in all times.


We are often dealing with the past and with possibilities past , present and future. Do it boldly. Trust your listeners.  Trust yourself.  We are all creatures of imagination. Free it.

About susancrosstelltale

Great visits to heritage and natural sites do not happen by accident. This blog is about the work that make special sites great places to visit. I hope it will be useful to visitors and host alike. Find out more at me and my blog.
This entry was posted in Interpretation, Interpretelling, Museums, Tips and advice, Visit experience, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Transforming your ‘thing’ – 5 golden ingredients of interpretelling

  1. Pingback: Could your 'thing' become a successful heritage attraction? Part 2 - TellTale

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