Being great is not enough for your audience

We always dream of interpreting an amazing natural or cultural resource. Some people dream about the “coolest” sites in their mind and how easy it would be to make them relevant to their audience. I have heard quite a few times interpreters saying “my site is nice but nothing amazing or mind blowing so interpretation can be challenging; only if I was at _____, my job would be so much easier”.

The Washington Post tested your theory in 2007; if we have a world famous musician playing a master piece on one of the best instruments ever built people should stop by and admire him. To their surprise over 1,000 people walked by and hardly anybody even noticed that he was playing, he collected a few coins during the 47 minutes he played at the Metro Station.

His name is Joshua Bell, one of the best violinist in the world, a few days before the experiment he had a full house at the Boston’s stately Symphony Hall where tickets were no cheaper than $100. He played a violin built in 1710 by Antonio Stradivari worth $3.5 million dollars. Obviously the performer, the instrument and the music could have not been any better but nobody knew about it.

It is our job as interpreters to make sure that people understand what is ahead of them so they can make a connection. Otherwise another 1,000 people will walk by your site and miss the uniqueness of the resources.

The entire article can be read on the Washington Post  and here is short video of the experiment.

Categories: General, Interpretation tools | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Being great is not enough for your audience

  1. Thanks for sharing a very cool story. We plan experiences that help people engage with a place, a story or a site, but doing only a part of it right is not enough. This example provokes a lot of thought. Tim Merriman

  2. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s
    both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I found
    this during my hunt for something regarding this.

  3. Wow! Would people pass by the Hope Diamond if it wasn’t in the Smithsonian? How about the Mona Lisa, The Night Watch or the Rosetta Stone. It seems mother nature makes people pause automatically. Objects need The Story, connections, a place, etc. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pingback: How to Grab Your Audience’s Attention | Behind the Scenes at Taylor Studios, Inc ©

  5. ecologito

    Thank you for the kind words, I am glad you enjoyed this post.

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