How Museums Work - Interpretation
See, Read, Understand
It may be that you have already looked at one of our online exhibitions. Perhaps you have visited a museum; or maybe you have recently chosen to borrow a loan resource box for your school. In every case, you have made use of some kind of museum interpretation.
It is our job to present the museum collections and information to you in a form that you can see, read, experience and understand. Very often this means putting objects into display cases and inviting you to come to the museum to see them, but more and more now we are trying to find alternative ways of giving you access to the objects.
Choosing the Object
Before we can put objects into cases on into loan boxes, we have to choose them carefully so that they contribute something to the story or theme that we have chosen to interpret. It may be that your school has suggested a theme to us, in which case we have to search our catalogue for objects that meet your needs.
Writing a Caption
Having selected an object, we have to check that it is in good enough condition and robust enough to withstand whatever display use we have intended for it. Then we must identify its associated information in the catalogue, and write a label, caption or story to go with it, so that you can learn something about the item. This might include information about how and when it was made, who used it, for what purpose, and where and how it was used.
Illustrating the Object
We may have to find or create pictures and other illustrations to help you understand our explanation. Only then can we consider how to mount the object for display or, if it is to go into a school loan box, how we have to pack it to protect it on its journey to and from the school.
Time to Finish the Job