Since I launched this website in April, I’ve been having very interesting conversations with Kris Wetterlund, the Editor of the Museum-Ed Journal in America.
This journal represents professional museum educators in the States and has some excellent articles regarding interpretation and museums, which I’ll highlight and link to at a later date.
In the meantime, Kris spent time this summer as “Educator in Residence” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Her role there was to produce a writing guide for art interpretation, which I have added to the Resources page of this website as a downloadable pdf document. It’s comprehensive and extremely accessibly written, packed full of tips and examples about how to write good interpretation. I hope visitors to this site looking for this kind of information will find it super-useful.
Interpretation Matters has had considerable international attention since it launched, including this interview with the Government-run Swedish Exhibitions Agency and many emails offering support and praise for the site. It’s been incredibly helpful to get this kind of external feedback, and, importantly, more of an international perspective.
I’m pleased to share some of Kris’ American perspective with you:
“It is brilliant, congratulations on your wonderful resource. This new effort by Interpretation Matters couldn’t have come at a better time!
I might also mention that every year the American Alliance of Museums honors excellent interpretive writing with awards, and those winners are represented on our site. Very few art museums are among the winners, and I’m just now trying to track down the cause of that – whether few art museums enter their labels for consideration or few art museums labels are deemed suitable for awards.”
I really like the sound of an award for excellent interpretive writing! Should we start one in this country do you think? And let me know if you, or someone you know, would like to sponsor it.
Hello and welcome to this brand spanking new Interpretation Matters site! It’s your place to discuss all aspects of written interpretation in galleries, and I hope you will become a regular visitor and subscriber. As time goes on we intend to host discussions, case-studies, interviews, resources and two regular features – our Good Writing Citations, giving praise where it is due, and our Tortured Language Alert! where we think it could be done better. (You can see who has won the first Good Writing Citation in the featured post below).
We want to reach out to everyone involved in making written interpretation happen – to those working in the visual arts sector, and to gallery visitors, for whom interpretation is written. We will be hosting a plurality of perspectives and opinions and as you explore the site, you’ll see that we’ve structured it to feature the:
But the aim is not to put these different views into silos – we want you all to interact, respond and discuss. I suspect gallery educators may have a thing or two to say as well – say enough and we’ll create a page for you! As things get going, we’ll summarise specific discussions and post them as blog entries so that they don’t get lost.
In the next few weeks watch out for:
There are a range of ways to make your voice heard. You can comment directly via the comments box that appears on every page and post. We also welcome contributions of research, resources, case studies and guest bloggers with strong – but informed – opinions. We’re very much looking forward to receiving entries for our Good Writing Citations and our Tortured Language Alert! The intention with these is not to “name and shame” but to offer genuine and sincere feedback, focusing on the sin rather than the sinner. So if you have entries for either of these categories, do please bear this in mind! You can find out how to submit these on the Audience Perspective page.
You can also contact us by:
So – enjoy exploring the site, and we very much look forward to hearing from you!
Interpretation Matters is all about the written material found in galleries - the text panels on the walls, providing context for the work on show, and the printed booklets that describe the works or overall programme. Usually "under-the-radar", the aim of this site is to highlight this important area of gallery practice.
Interpretation Matters is conceived and directed by arts writer Dany Louise.>