Interpretive Tour & Educational Program Design
When was the last time you went on a museum or gallery tour that inspired you, encouraged you to connect with the work on view, and stuck with you even after you left the museum? Museum and gallery tours have incredible potential to ignite the power of art and get visitors coming back for more, but many arts organizations don't take advantage of this.
I believe that interpretive tours are imperative for any arts organization that exhibits artwork. It's the most personal and effective way to help your visitors engage with the work on view. As an independent museum educator, I design and facilitate tours of art exhibitions as well as related educational programs.
After an interpretive tour, surveyed participants state that they want to return to the museum or exhibition and are looking forward to their next visit.
My process begins with a close study of the content and structure of the exhibition to determine the flow and narrative of the tour. After designating "conversation points" – select works of art where conversation and meaning making will be focused – I create corresponding guided-looking activities. Finally, I personally facilitate scheduled tours or train other staff or docents to facilitate the tour.
Why interpretive, thematic tours?
While there is a time and a place for the standard overview tour, information-based tours are often static and suggest that there is only one way to look at a work of art or an exhibition. Discussion-based, interpretive tours create dynamic and inclusive experiences that are both memorable and open-ended, leaving room for tour participants to come back and rediscover the exhibition. Participants feel empowered by what they have learned and are anxious to return and explore some more.
Sometimes focusing on a small selection of artworks – even just one or two – can be a unique and powerful experience. Close-looking sessions typically last 30 minutes to an hour and highlight one work of art or a small selection of works in an exhibition. This is an excellent way to supplement existing educational programing or an exhibition-related event.
My interpretive tour design services are customizable to accommodate the needs of your institution. Whether you need one close-looking session, an interpretive tour for a temporary exhibition, or an enhanced tour of your permanent collection, we can work together to find a solution that works for you.