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For Your Consideration 6.2

Notable Quotables

“A crank is a man with a new idea — until it catches on. ”  – Mark Twain

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. ”  -Albert Einstein

“Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences in beliefs. ”  -James Russell Lowell

“Chance favors the prepared mind. ”  -Louis Pasteur

“Man’s mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension. ”  -Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The only man who can change his mind is the man who’s got one. ”  -Edward Noyes Westcott

“To a mouse, cheese is cheese. That’s why mousetraps are effective. ”  -Wendell Johnson

“Every great oak was once a nut that stood its ground. ”  -Anonymous

“Interpreting Our Heritage”

Just about forty years ago, the National Park Service employed Freeman Tilden to define a foundation of principles for interpretation and interpretive programming. His text, entitled Interpreting Our Heritage, is a classic and, despite its 1957 publication date, remains fresh and useful.

Consider some of the following principles presented by Tilden:

  • 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.
  • Information, as such, is not interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information. But they are entirely different things. However, all interpretation includes information.
  • Interpretation is an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships, rather than simply to communicate factual information.
  • The chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.
  • Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historic, or architectural.

The Value of Nothing

  • …nothing can convince a zealot to change his mind;
  • …nothing cures baldness;
  • …nothing can make children eat their vegetables; and .
  • ..nothing is too good for your friends.

“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator  6.2 (Winter 1996-97): 10.

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