ITP+ Aswan: Museum Interpretation

Written by Claire Messenger, International Training Programme Manager

Tuesday 23 October will see the start of the third ITP+, which will focus on museum interpretation in the wonderful setting of the Nubian Museum in Aswan.

Today we are at the Basma Hotel welcoming our colleagues from around the world.

We are excited to be joined by our UK Facilitators:
Jane Batty, Interpretation Manager, British Museum
Stuart Frost, Head of Interpretation and Volunteers, British Museum
Anna Garnett, Curator, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan, Manchester Museum

And our ITP Fellow Facilitators:
Jackline Besigye (ITP 2013) Senior Conservator, Uganda National Museum
Huzoor Choudhry (ITP 2008, India) Proprietor, Huzoor Designs
Cynthia Iruobe (ITP 2010) Assistant Chief Curator, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria
Vandana Prapanna (ITP 2010, India) Senior Curator, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai

Tomorrow we will be joined by ITP fellows from Egypt and Sudan, and participants from museums across Egypt.

Aswan 1

Day One of the ITP+ Museum interpretation workshop will focus on interpretation and visitor experience. Following a welcome to the Nubian Museum from Director Dr Hosny Abd el Rheem, there will be a series of interpretation-based case studies from UK and ITP Facilitators where we will learn more about interpretation methods – and challenges – around the world. The day will end with a visitor experience task led by Stuart Frost that will get course participants thinking about their visitors and the kind of interpretation visitors need from museums.

Aswan 5

After this introduction, Day Two will see participants getting creative and working on their own ideas around interpretation. The group will be split into four, each assigned a UK and Fellow Facilitator to guide their working group task. Each group will be assigned a unique project to complete by the end of the day, using the Nubian Museum for inspiration.

Group 1 will look at how additional panels can be used to create a new narrative, with Stuart Frost
Group 2 will create a trail around the museum along a theme, with Campbell Price
Group 3 will create a themed guided tour to tell a new story, with Anna Garnett
Group 4 will use the British Museum’s Object in Focus model to propose a small display that provides a new perspective for museum visitors, with Jane Batty.

Aswan 2

Day Three, the final day of the workshop, will introduce a label and panel writing exercise where participants will be able to focus on their own museum’s panel and label text and think about their museum’s audiences. In the morning, the group will look at re-working text from a panel or label of their choice from their museum under the guidance of UK Facilitators. In the afternoon, participants will have the opportunity to question the panel of UK Facilitators on audience surveys and evaluation methods, taking into consideration how/if their institutions currently survey audiences and evaluate their work. The workshop will conclude with time for evaluation of the previous three days and closing remarks.

Each day we have asked selected participants to blog so that we share a wide range of views and experiences of the work and discussions that have taken place. We hope you will enjoy reading them.

And it’s fabulous to have British Museum Chief Photographer John Williams with us to document this exciting project and beautiful location! Look out for John’s photos in the upcoming blog posts.