“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.