I am in the process of figuring out what a new interpretive plan should look like for an organization with two historic estates.  As I talk to consultants, read and re-read articles, talk to colleagues, and think this over, I wonder if there is a different model for interpretive planning that needs to emerge.

If someone were ask to ask how to learn about interpretive planning, what would you say?  Would you go to the traditional, National Parks method?

What I would love to see is a really concise, visual, and usable document that could be used in every facet of programmatic planning for our two sites. I know that’s what every plan we do (strategic, benchmarking, etc) intends to be, but are they?  I would love to clearly articulate what we are about at our core on one-two pages. It seems that the shorter a document is, the more likely it will be used as a tool.

In the field of history we are excited about our content and want to articulate (and sometimes over articulate) our stories, so most examples of interpretive plans are very robust that they begin to read like docent training.

Maybe I’m wrong too. The cons for a shorter plan could be:

-missing important content

-glossing over really important material

-assuming too much knowledge on the user of the document.

I would love to see examples of visual representations of interpretive plans- so if you have one- share it with me at mwood@fordhouse.org.  Let’s continue the conversation on this blog, at the next AASLH conference in Louisville, KY, and via email.