ITP+ Aswan Day 2: Interpretation Methods
Today was the second day of the ITP+ workshop on Museum interpretation, being held at the Nubian Museum in Aswan, Egypt in partnership with the Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt.
Delegates were today split into four working groups, each assigned a different interpretation method to work on a project proposal focusing on the Nubian Museum, which they had to present by the end of the day.
Group 1 worked with Stuart Frost (Head of Interpretation and Volunteers, British Museum) to look at how additional panels can be used to create a new narrative.
‘The ideas kept flowing all afternoon. We all agreed that storytelling is essential for good interpretation.’
‘We went into the galleries to select highlight objects for families. I learnt a great deal about distinctively Nubian aspects to exhibits through listening to the group.’
‘We were all keen to find ways to make the interpretation more personal. Vandaba Prapanna (ITP 2010, India) showed a great example of first-person interpretation. Souad Fayez (ITP 2010, Egypt) suggested the use of speech bubbles and dialogues – the person represented by an object, talking yo the visitor directly.’
‘By the time we got to the end of the day we were tired, but I think we would have loved to have kept developing some of the ideas the group came up with.’
Group 2 worked with Campbell Price (Curator of Egypt and Sudan, Manchester Museum) to create a trail along a theme.
‘Today has been a day of discovery – everyone has discovered something new in the galleries, about how to use interpretation and about themselves! I had thought I would sit on the sidelines, facilitating discussion – instead I have been drawn into debates as if my life depended on it!’
Group 3 worked with Anna Garnett (Curator, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology) to devise a themed tour.
‘I was so lucky to work with such a wonderful team today! Together we discussed how best to construct a guided tour of the museum. I learned so much from working with my Egyptian and Sudanese colleagues and ITP fellow facilitator Huzoor Choudhry (ITP 2008, India) and it was great to know that they will take the ideas we discussed back to their own work in their museums.’
Group 4 worked with Jane Batty (Interpretation Manager, British Museum) using the British Museum’s model for Room 3 – the Asahi Shimbun Displays to propose a small display that provides new perspectives for museum visitors.
‘I was delighted to be part of the group developing a plan for a new display focusing on one object from the Nubian Museum. We spent time debating the opportunities presented by a range of objects, and it felt like a privilege to hear the views of ITP colleagues from Egypt and Caudan on these objects.’
‘We focused on the ‘what, why, who and how’ for our display. These are the building blocks of any piece of interpretation and we used this framework to structure our thoughts and planning.’
‘After some thorough discussion of ‘what’s the hook?’, ‘why does this matter?’, ‘what’s unique to this museum and place?’, ‘how can we get visitors to look at details on the object?’, ‘what do we want to tell visitors and what do they want to know?’, we chose a figure of a local priest, which was dedicated to a local god, his hand on his chest in a gesture of respect still used today – an engaging choice.’