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Interpretive planning

What is interpretive planning?

When people visit your community archive, you are helping them discover the history of people and places from your area - this is often their own history. Creating an exhibition of highlights from your collection is a great way to bring this history to life.

Whether it's online or in a physical space, your exhibition needs to be organised to give clear messages and stories to your visitors.

Setting out what these will be, and how you will present them through your collection, is called interpretive planning.

Creating an interpretive plan has many benefits. It will:

  • Ensure the team understands the aims of the exhibition so you can produce a display that makes sense as a whole
  • State what you hope to achieve with the exhibition - this is helpful if you are applying for funding
  • Make sure your visitors have an enjoyable experience, learn from your collections and make meaningful connections with its messages and stories
  • Give each exhibition you stage its own character, so you can attract new and repeat visitors to your community archive