The Stowe Center has undertaken an effort to reconsider the visitor experience in the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and how we share Stowe’s story with our guests. This process, called “reinterpretation,” is the result of years of brainstorming, group discussions and re imagining. It is part of a larger multi-year collections preservation project to upgrade the interior of our central exhibit, the Stowe House.
This is a very exciting time for the Stowe Center, as the house has not been reconsidered or reinterpreted since its opening in 1968. Reinterpretation is usually a once-in-a-lifetime experience - and now is our time! This past spring we began working with interpretive consultant Linda Norris. Linda has worked with museums and organizations across the world to help them shape compelling stories and experiences. She has made several visits to Hartford to lead staff and community brainstorm sessions, reinterpretation exercises and prototyping, and has featured us in three posts on her blog, The Uncataloged Museum:
- Is the Pen Mightier? Can Words Reshape a Historic House?
- Over-Estimate? Under-Estimate? What do We Think of our Visitors?
- Imagine: Can Your Visitor Do It? Not Unless You Try
The posts have generated discussion about museums, historic sites, and visitor experiences among many museum professionals and tourists. Be sure to read her insight on her visits!
The goal of the reinterpretation is to bring the call to action that is present in our public programs (ie. Salons) into the Stowe House. How might we do that? What would you like to see as part of the Stowe Center experience? What experience in the House would inspire you to take action on an issue that is important to you? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below - who knows, your idea may impact our plans for the House!