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Museological provocation is a tricky art form. It is easy to excite folk sensually with artefacts, much harder to make them think. I visited a week after the [Roman Frontier] gallery had opened and there were already many handwritten visitor comment labels. One states what I was struggling to articulate: ‘I have visited Hadrian's Wall numerous times … this is the first time I have seriously considered the social and personal consequences of the wall’.
Hadrian's Wall is one of the greatest monuments of the ancient world. It tells us as much about ourselves as about the past. We should take pride in it and help unlock its potential to teach, inform and stimulate our own and future generations. The purpose of the Interpretation Framework (Adkins and Mills 2011) is to enable us to do just that; to create a structure within which more detailed strategic planning and coordination can take place and through which each site and museum can build on its own particular strengths and opportunities to create distinctive, differentiated and complementary experiences for visitors. Realisation of these opportunities will in turn deliver wider benefits:
• enhance the visitor experience and visitor enjoyment for the widest possible audiences;
• increase visitor numbers and, more importantly, encourage visitors to stay longer and to visit more sites;
• improve awareness and understanding of the WHS, its significance and the need to conserve and protect it, thus supporting the objectives of the WHS Management Plan;
• promote UNESCO's WHS values which seek to share the heritage and experience of people around the world.
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