New interpretation at Oakham Castle

interpretation, oakham castle

Working with our friends at PLB consulting HDC has recently installed new interpretive exhibits at Oakham Castle in Rutland, UK.

New office build

HDC has outgrown our office!

Since the company started in 2008, HDC has grown and grown to the point that we realised that we had just ran out of space in our UK office! So mid 2016 we decided to take the drastic action of knocking down our old office, workshop and storeroom and building a new one - 5-times bigger!

We were delighted when our ambitious arctitects plans sailed through the planning process without a hitch, and building approval was granted. In December 2016 we relocated all our tools, archives, equipment and materials, moved out of the office into some site huts and demolished the old building which was carried away in a series giant roll-off skips. All that remains is the original brick-built Victorian post-office building which will be incorporated into the new build. Using our own team we have cleared the site and excavated 160 tons of earth ready for the new foundations and oversite to be laid before Chritmas. Our hope is to move in to the new HDC office in the spring of 2017....but we will see!
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Just what makes a heritage interpretation professional, a "professional"?

Just what makes a heritage interpretation professional, a

Just what makes a heritage interpretation professional, a "professional"?

Recently we have come across a growing number of individuals and companies that misleadingly claim to be professional heritage interpretation experts.

If they are not trained, qualified and accredited, they are not "professional"!

Unfortunately, they get often get hired because they present you with impressive looking proposals and fancy pitches - and because the majority customers don’t really know what makes a heritage interpretation professional, a professional, they get hired.

The result is poorly planned, designed and implemented interpretation, and that is bad for you!

Your site depends on interpretation for its survival – get it wrong and you could be out of business, and perhaps out of a job! 72% of our time at HDC is spent helping clients rescue poorly planned and designed interpretation that has been developed by so-called professionals that don't really know what they are doing.

These phony experts give a bad name to those of us that have spent years and years studying, training, earning our professional qualifications and struggling long and hard to build our skills and knowledge base.

Remember that if you hire someone without the proper training, the specialist skills and knowledge and a good level of demonstrable experience, you wont get the service and standards you need to make your interpretation project the success that it needs to be!

So, please help us to stamp out these bogus “experts” that damage our industry by asking a few simple questions...

  • Do they have specialist heritage interpretation training? If so, where and how did they train and who with and for how long?

  • Do they have recognized professional heritage interpretation qualifications? Membership of AHI or a similar organization is not a qualification! Accreditation or certification with NAI, NPS or at a university such as Michigan, Indiana or Perth is!

  • Do they possess the specialist knowledge required by interpreters? Can they explain something simple such as recreational learning theory, experiential learning, mass customization, market of one, objective based interpretive master planning, pre-testing methodology or negative social proofing?

  • Do they have any real experience? Just what sort of experience do they have? Is it first hand experience or just made up? Is heritage interpretation a full time career or something that is a sideline?

  • Do they have the necessary skills? Do they have the full set of heritage interpretation skills or are they going to farm out the areas they don’t know about? Any a trained and qualified heritage interpretation professional should be able to offer you all the skills you need as a complete package.

  • Do they work to the NAI or NPS standards of best practice? Do they work to recognized standards of best practice and are they accredited?

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New India projects

New India Projects

We are delighted to announce that our India office has just won two projects in Bhopal

This is a great beginning for our newly opened Indi office!
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Downturn in the economy affecting visitor numbers

Downturn in the economy affecting visitor numbers

Will the downturn in the economy affect your visitor numbers this year?

Almost certainly...

You have probably noticed, the current economic climate is, shall we say, challenging!

Visitor attractions across the USA and Europe are beginning to feel the strain as visitors stay home. Pay freezes; tax hikes, increasing fuel costs and the cost of living have put a strain on family budget like never before. It is not that visitors want to stay at home at the weekend and school holidays, it is that it just that the costs are too high for such a little return on that investment…

What families are looking for now, more than ever before, is value and a return on their investment. The investment being the financial and emotional cost of visiting your site set against the perceived value of the educational and entertainment (“edutainment”) experience they receive from your site. Remember, your admission fee is just a fraction of the total cost for a day-trip to a voisitor attraction.

So what is the real cost for a family of 4 for a one-day visit to a visitor centre, heritage site, museum, zoo, or fun park, etc.? Lets do some numbers:

Car fuel: = £40.00
Refreshments: £4.50 per head = £18.00
Lunch: £9.00 per head = £36.00
Parking = £10.00
Your admission fee £7.50 per head = £30.00
Souvenirs - $20.00

TOTAL £144.00

Add to that organization stress and trip stress involved in getting to your site and that is a big investment!

These are just general, relatively conservative estimates, however the fact is that a day-out visit for a family of four, to an average heritage site is going to cost around £144.00.

Is a 2-3 hour visit to your site really worth £144.00? Just how many videos and computer games could you buy with £144.00? Or, how about a trip to the cinema or day wandering around a garden centre, walking or cycling in the countryside or some other activity? All are likely to cost less than £144.00.

Remember too, that there is stiff competition for those precious visitors - there are more attractions for visitors to choose from today, than there has ever been, and yet the total number of visitors visiting heritage sites each year remains fairly static.

Look around - many of your competitors will be leaner, fitter businesses that offer a more engaging, fulfilling and better value visitor experience than you…

So what are you going to do? What’s your plan?

If you want to survive this economic downturn, you need to act, and act quickly!

If you need help developing your survival plan, speak to us at HDC and we will help you ride the storm to quieter waters!


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Interpretive Master Planning at the Henry Ford Estate

Interpretive Master Planning at the Henry Ford Estate

HDC have just won an important new heritage interpretation project in the USA.

We have been asked to provide interpretive master planning for the Henry Ford Estate in Michigan.

Ownership of this fascinating estate has recently been transferred from the Univ. of Michigan to the team that manage the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan).

They are looking for innovative ways to "reinterpret" the estate and tell the story of Henry Ford, one of the most famous and controversial industrial leaders in history.

Humphry Repton exhibition at Woburn

Humphry Repton exhibition at Woburn

HDC have just completed a design and fit project for a new visitor centre at Woburn Abbey. The visitor centre celebrates the work of Humphry Repton, the visionary landscape gardener who designed Woburn's wonderful gardens.

HDC joins forces with Fossil Graphics!

HDC joins forces with Fossil Graphics!

HDC is pleased to announce that it has teamed up with Fossil Industries in the USA to offer the HDC Fossil HPL interpretive panel.

These panels are far superior to anything else available on the market - they are virtualy indestructable and using Fossil's 12-colour digital printing, brighter, cleaner and more detailled and anything the competition has to offer. What is more all panels come with a 10-year gurantee and are built using environmentally ffrindly processes!
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