Monday, August 27, 2012

Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London - masters of heritage interpretation

On August 3rd Angela DeFinis blogged about Beefeaters: the Olympians of Public Speaking. Those Yeoman Warders have to be veterans with over 22 years of military service, and must undergo over a year of training in consistently telling the story for that very high profile historical site.

But, what they are doing is heritage interpretation, not just public speaking. Interpreters are people who explain natural or cultural resources for visitors at places like parks, nature centers, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, and tour companies. Interpretation is a relatively small but important field. The US-based National Association for Interpretation serves about 5,000 members, and the UK-based Association for Heritage Interpretation serves about 500.


What the Yeoman Warders do with their story is like one particular team Olympic event. The 4 by 100 meter relay race involves passing a baton, like the teamwork of passing along a story of the history for the Tower.

You can read a chapter on Encyclopaedic Museum vs. Story-Led Experience from a new book on Museum Narrative & Storytelling that discusses the Tower of London.

Images of a Yeoman Warder and the 4 by 100 relay both came from Wikimedia Commons.

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