Two New Museums on our Horizon
The cultural landscape of the United States has been enriched by the recent addition of two new museums.
Museum of African American History – Detroit, Michigan
This is the world’s largest cultural institution devoted to Black heritage in America. Through a combination of videos, photographic time lines, and a recreation of a slave ship, Black history is traced from its African roots through slavery, civil rights and urban struggles, to a broad range of achievements.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Georgia O’Keeffe loved and painted images of the Southwest throughout much of her adult life. Housed in a traditional, adobe-style building, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum presents more than 80 of her works.
Advice from a Sage Interpreter
There seems to a be scarcity of good, useful texts that help educators teach the skill of interpretation to visitors. However, one resource written back in 1957, remains a definitive resource. It is entitled Interpreting Our Heritage, and was written by Freeman Tilden, a Park Service employee.
Mr. Tilden offers sage advice in the form of succinct principles that are applicable to all disciplines and settings. They include:
- The chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.
- Interpretation is an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships, rather than simply to communicate factual information.
- Information, as such, is not interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information.
- Any interpretation that does not somehow relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile.
- Interpretation addressed to children should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a fundamentally different approach. To be at its best it will require a separate program.
“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator 7.3 (Spring 1998): 7.