Heritage interpretation resources

I’ve written many articles and papers about interpretation. Here’s a selection, all in pdf format. You’re welcome to quote from or use these materials, as long as you reference me as their author and give a link to this website.

A Sense of Place

I co-authored and edited this popular manual on interpretation planning. It’s even been translated into French, Czech and Chinese! Originally prepared for the Scottish Tourism and Environment Initiative, it’s a practical guide for small to medium heritage projects. Since then, I believe interpretation has evolved to include more of a sense of visitor experience as a whole: see my papers Effective Interpretation and Don’t fence me in.

Five Questions

A very brief introduction to planning interpretation through five key questions. First published in the journal of the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI).

Effective interpretation

This paper looks at some of the roles interpretation can fulfil, and considers what implications those roles have for attempts to define ‘effective’ interpretation. It was developed as the opening keynote paper for the 2010 AHI conference.

Don’t fence me in

I’ve always been interested in pushing the boundaries of what interpretation is, or can be. This paper looks at how interpretation is much more than a way to communicate ideas and stories.

Writing interpretation

This article explores and celebrates the craft of writing interpretation. I first wrote it in 1993, when I also developed the UK’s first training course on the subject. I think most of what it says is still relevant today.

Whispered sorcery

More on the craft of writing, and especially on what gives words their power.

A selection of papers by James Carter about heritage interpretation.