What Is Interpretation?

IA believes that interpretation enriches our lives through engaging emotions, enhancing experiences and deepening the understanding of places, people, events and objects from the past and present. Interpretation communicates ideas, information and knowledge in a way which helps people to make sense of their environment.

IA aims to support interpreters Australia-wide in the practice and delivery of interpretation.

IA What is Interpretation?Interpretation communicates ideas, information and knowledge about locations, the natural world or historic places in a way which helps visitors to make sense of their environment. Good interpretation will create engaging, unique and meaningful experiences for visitors.

Interpretation takes many forms including guided walks, talks, drama, art, sculpture, displays, signs, brochures and electronic media as well as any other way in which ideas can be communicated.


Good interpretation should:

  • enrich the visitor’s experience by making it more meaningful and enjoyable;
  • assist the visitor to develop a keener awareness, appreciation and understanding of the heritage being experienced;
  • accomplish management objectives by encouraging thoughtful use of the resource by the visitor; and
  • promote public understanding of heritage management organisations and their programs.

To hear more about the value of interpretation – follow this link.


2018 IA Conference Sydney. Image by Kylie Christian.


Like to learn more?  Why not take a look at some of our Case Studies?

Face-to-Face – Phillip Island

The purpose of the Heritage Farm Ranger Talk is to educate Primary School students within the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) levels 1-4. We aim to enhance student knowledge about the rich history of the area including the Bunurong and early European settlers through engaging activities and tales of farming life in the 1800s.

Upcoming Events

all-day International Conference on Inte... @ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
International Conference on Inte... @ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
May 20 – May 24 all-day
International Conference on Interpretation @ Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Join us in Rio de Janeiro, a city famous the world over, for the 2019 International Conference on Interpretation. Hosted for the first time in South America, the International Conference on Interpretation takes place in[...]
all-day 2019 IA National Conference
2019 IA National Conference
Oct 16 – Oct 18 all-day
2019 IA National Conference
 The Interpretation Australia National Conference in 2019 will consider the topic of sustainability in interpretation.  We will contemplate the importance of telling sustainable stories in a time of global uncertainty and climate change.The conference will consider sustainability[...]