Interpretation Plan for Government House

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Image courtesy of Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries.


As a designated provincial and national historic site, Edmonton’s Government House serves the city, Alberta, and Canada as a powerful symbol in connection with our political system and its people. This interpretive plan seeks to define activities that will help visitors understand the House’s historic creation and evolution through its architecture and collections. The plan guides the development of a physical site for explorations of public memory attached to the House by facilitating new interpretations of its building and object stories. With an overarching goal to increase visitor engagement with Government House, the plan establishes Government House Foundation’s mandate, vision, and specific goals that guide interpretation and ensure the Foundation’s responsibility to Alberta’s Minister of Culture. An audience is defined based on Government House’s location next to the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM), but new and specific audiences are also identified and targeted in anticipation of the RAM’s move in 2017. Before detailing interpretive themes, the plan discusses the what, where, and why of applicable museum learning styles based on the knowledge and skills to be built by a visit to the House. The bulk of the plan is devoted to describing theme-related interpretive techniques to be carried out according to a proposed timeline. All techniques work to stimulate audience interest in and connection to Alberta’s political and cultural history. Approaches to staff training follow, outlining interpreters’ relationships to Government House visitors and objects. A final section on evaluation techniques sets out specific strategies for meeting Government House programming objectives.

by Karen Fraser (HRM student)