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Interpretation - How To Guides

Interpretive panels, exhibitions and signs are often the main methods botanic gardens use to get their messages across to their visitors. But developing your own interpretation can be a formidable task. There are a few key points to keep in mind to make your interpretation effective;
  • try and find out what your audiences actually want to learn about before you even start - to prevent wasted effort!
  • keep interpreation themed and make sure this theme is clear throughout
  • make it relevant to your audience
  • remember, a picture can be worth a thousand words, but they must be the right words
  • short amounts of text, divided into sections with headingsmakes easier reading
  • interpretive panals are like houses,the value is based onlocation, location, location - the most perfect display in the wrong place is a waste.

For more hints and tips, see the articles below (all taken from Roots), or the education links section for further information.

Helpful Hints - Designing and Installing Interpretative Signs

Hints and tips on how to make the most of your interpretive signs.

Not Signs of Prosperity - How to Produce Low Budget Signs

Botanic gardens in developing countries suffer, even more than other botanic gardens, from a chronic shortage of funds. In such circumstances basic things, like signs or labels, often become a luxury. Here are two ways that signs can be produced economically and without needing much skill.

Make Your Own Letters

Unless you are an artist, drawing the letters for a sign will pose a problem. The easiest way to ensure that your letters are uniform is to use ready-made cardboard stencils. It is easy to lay out text in letter stencils on a signboard. When they are in the right position you can trace around them. This article tells you how.

Panels for the Public

Most visitors to botanic gardens come to enjoy the plants and pleasant surroundings. How many have any idea that the plants also have fascinating histories and often amazing practical uses? Most of your visitors need a little help to enjoy this aspect of a botanic garden and outdoor interpretive panels are an excellent way of sharing the secrets of your plants.

Sign Solutions

We approached several botanic gardens asking for problems encountered and solutions found to erecting and maintaining interpretive signs. The range of materials and techniques used in producing signs is vast. Here we have compiled a list some of the most common problems you encounter together with solutions you have suggested.