This is a review of ‘The art of Relevance’ by Nina Simon, the director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. It reveals the practical wisdom about opening and sharing meaningful cultural experience with the community.
How can relevance build a deep connection with our audience? What can you do to make visitors feel valued?
‘The Art of Relevance’ presents numerous examples that clearly and cleverly show how cultural institutions can shift, change and open to a new audience. It explores the meaning of relevance, explaining the importance of truly knowing who your audience is and how to attract them. With that knowledge you could, with the right approach and appropriate tools, engage that audience with content you are presenting, so they can relate, connect and unlock the meaning, feeling or memory.
This book is relevant to heritage interpretation because it speaks about how to package and present the content you want your audience to understand and connect with. It is shown in engaging and listening to the community when creating the exhibition, in writing interpretive text that should be understandable, explanatory and fun, related to the audience. It is shown in producing and developing programmes in your institutions that can gather the community and strengthen their connections with their heritage. The author says that ‘relevance is the key that unlocks meaning’ and she emphasises the importance of unlocking new meaning and whether it is easy to reach that meaning. It is a job of heritage professionals to present and interpret the treasure that is meaningful to the audience and to create the links for them to easily reach that treasure and to reveal the meaning it could unlock for them.
Cultural institutions have a mission to be relevant to their communities, but often they struggle to invite the new audience, to show local people there is something valuable for them in there. So, this book is for everyone who wants to bring a new audience into cultural institutions, for the audience to participate and get involved, to feel welcomed and appreciated.
Simon, N., 2016. The art of relevance. Santa Cruz, California: Museum 2.0
Mirna Draenović received the Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Management in 2009 and Master’s degree in Museology and Heritage Management and Information Sciences in 2012. She has been working in Muze/Muses Ltd as a museologist and cultural manager on nature and cultural heritage projects from October 2013. She can be contacted at: [email protected]
To cite this article:
To cite this article:
Draenović, Mirna (2017) ‘Unlock relevant experience and meanings’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2017, 17.