Our gardens are important visitor attractions, both for our tourism industry and also to our local community and businesses. The potential for increased visitor numbers, and all year round opening needs site staff and stakeholders to work together in order to balance our core aims and relevant legislation alongside our visitor offer. How we reach, manage and engage with our visitors successfully to fully realise the values of our historic landscapes and help them enjoy and learn from our plant collections are not easy tasks.
This conference considered and discussed:
- How we drive the visitor experience using our historic landscapes, horticulture and plant collections
- How we measure how well we are doing and how we benchmark presentation standards
- Balancing conservation of the historic fabric with increased needs and expectations of garden visitors
- How we can identify and work with external organisations and partners
- Visitor facilities – the loo and the brew
- Visitor engagement on and off site
- A range of case studies across heritage and botanic gardens
- Opportunities to network and share experiences
Dr Matthew Jebb, PlantNetwork Chairman
Director, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
Tony Berry, Head of Visitor Experience, National Trust
Richard Toomey, Traffic Technology Limited
Nick Johnson, Manager and Elisa Biondi Botanical Horticulturist, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Garden Kew.
Faye Steer, Senior Supervisor Glasshouse and Production, Chatsworth
Judy Preston, Administrator, University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Christopher Weddell, Senior Gardens Advisor, English Heritage
Simon Toomer, Director Westonbirt Arboretum
Jon Wayte, Safety Officer Peak District National Park
Pam Smith, PlantNetwork Administrator and National Trust Garden Consultant
Steve Porter, Head of Gardens and Landscape, Chatsworth
Steve Porter and Faye Steer
Chatsworth House, 1 April 2014
Jane Knight, Landscape Architect, Eden Project
Mark Bradshaw, General Manager Northampton and Rutland, National Trust
Phillip Turvill, Lead partnership Manager, Grow Wild UK
Michael Walker, Head of Garden and Estate, The Trentham Estate
Jenny Mayer, General Manager, English Heritage Wrest Park
Helen Hoyle, University of Sheffield Landscape Department
Visitor Safety in the Countryside Group website
Grow Wild: Flowers to the People website
Link to slideshare presenation on QR codes in the garden.
Link to BGCI resource on QR Codes for Horticulture and Botanic Gardens.
Link to PDF version of Konig,M. (2000) Making your Garden Come Alive! Environmental Interpretation in Botanical Gardens. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 9. SABONET, Pretoria.
Link to a RBGE website article which offers a good explanation of plant labels and understanding plant labels.
Link to the HLF article providing good practice guidance designed to help you think about an application to HLF for a project which seeks to achieve the outcome: ‘heritage will be better interpreted and explained’.
Link to Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) website. ALVA provide training, benchmarking and advocacy initiatives and assist their members to continually improve the visitor experience.
Link to the Historic environment local management (HELM) website with Information and training for local authorities, statutory advisers, change managers and decision makers.
Link to the Association for heritage interpretation (AHI) website. The AHI is a key forum for anyone interested in interpretation – the art of helping people explore and appreciate our world. It aims to promote excellence in the practice and provision of interpretation and to gain wider recognition of interpretation as a professional activity.
Link to the Black Environment Network (BEN) website. BEN works to enable full ethnic participation in the built and natural environment On the one hand we reach out to ethnic communities in order to stimulate participation. On the other hand we work to support mainstream organisations so that they may gain the necessary awareness and skills to work effectively with ethnic communities in a socially and culturally relevant way.
Link to English Heritage guide to Easy Access to Historic Landscapes to help property owners and managers provide easier access for all their visitors, whatever their age or level of ability. It will also be of value to designers, planners, and others working to open up historic sites to a wider audience.
Link to the Inspiring Learning Framework has been developed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) as a self-help tool to enable museums, libraries and archives to develop their learning offer.