The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live Interpretation Blog plus Minds-on Engagement

Via Museum-L:
Live Interpretation Blog plus Minds-on Engagement

In preparation for a workshop this spring, I contacted this listserv and several others and asked for examples of successful interpretive strategies that incorporate hands-on or minds-on engagement for use in a space where people are not permitted to touch objects (i.e., an historic house). Museum professionals from across the country sent in their thoughts and examples.

The responses were practical and thoughtful, and I organized them into the broad categories below:

Minds-on engagement
Hands-on activities
Personal connections
Overall approaches

I combined the above information, along with research findings from a wide variety of sources, for several workshops and talks I later presented about live interpretation topics: making connections with visitors, engaging audiences in spaces where they can’t touch objects, and using museum theatre.

I realized I wanted to find a way to share the research and information about live interpretation that I was gathering. That desire led to starting a blog, Live Interpretation, at My first posting, with your responses, includes “Minds-on Engagement.” In subsequent posts, I’ll review “Hands-on Activities,” “Personal Connections” and “Overall Approaches.” I’ll also include links to resources, comments by leaders in the field and anything else I can think of that helps us understand and become effective at one of the most powerful visitor experiences – live interpretation.

Please feel free to check out the blog and read the first post on “Minds-on Interpretation.”

Dale Jones
Making History Connections
affiliated with QM2 at

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