Freeman Tilden outlined six principles of interpretation in his book titled "Interpreting Our Heritage," first published in 1957. These principles are intended to guide interpreters in effectively communicating and engaging visitors with natural and cultural heritage. Below is an updated look at these six principles:
Any interpretation should reveal the significance of the resource being interpreted. It should help people understand why the resource is important and how it relates to their lives.
Interpretation should aim to relate the resource to the visitor's own experiences and interests. It should establish a personal connection and relevance for the visitor.
Interpretation should be organized and presented in a way that tells a story or creates a narrative. Stories are powerful tools for engaging visitors and conveying information.
The interpretation should be thought-provoking and stimulate visitors to think and explore further. It should encourage curiosity and intellectual engagement.
Interpretation should aim to present a holistic and balanced perspective, incorporating different viewpoints and avoiding bias or overt advocacy.
Finally, interpretation should inspire visitors to care about and appreciate the resource, fostering a sense of stewardship and a desire to protect and preserve it for future generations.
These principles continue to be influential and are often considered fundamental in the field of interpretation. They emphasize the importance of creating meaningful and engaging experiences for visitors, connecting them with heritage resources on intellectual, emotional, and personal levels.