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Improving museums in Europe

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A new ‘Heritage Interpretation for Seniors’ (HISA) project; designed to improve the visitor experience for seniors in museums across Europe, is launching this week.

Organisations from Germany, Malta, Poland, Italy and the UK will come together in Bristol to consider how on-site interpretation and informal education can be improved for senior citizens.

As more people enjoy a healthy old age, senior citizens are often ‘active citizens’ who influence the opinions of others and are an audience to which heritage sites and museums across Europe need to appeal.

This project builds on research that was recently conducted by the Group for Education in Museums (GEM) and the Age Collective that shows museums can contribute to the well being of older people.

Once feedback is collected, the partners will develop a manual and a set of tools that will be distributed to other organisations across Europe, beyond the partnership.

Red Kite Environment, a UK-based interpretation consultancy have approached the ss Great Britain Trust in Bristol to take part and spearhead the UK element of the research project in partnership with Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The two organisations will host a meeting with all European organisations this week to discuss the entire programme and plan activities for the next two years.

Director of Red Kite Environment, Peter Seccombe said; “This is a great opportunity for us to bring everybody together and work out what more we could be doing for this invaluable demographic.

“We know how important they are to our heritage sites and museums across the UK; so now is the time to ensure their visit is enhanced to the highest possible standard.

Jude Holland, the Interpretation Manager for ss Great Britain Trust added; “We are constantly monitoring and evaluating how our visitors are engaging with the interpretation on site but this project will enable us to take it a step further and really delve deeply into what we could be offering the senior audience who visit us.

“We feel privileged to be at the centre of the research; it will be great to see the guidelines and results established across Europe.”

The project will run from November 2013 until 31 July 2015, with all partners from across Europe meeting at Brunel’s ss Great Britain from 28 – 29 November.

For more information, images or quotes please contact PR, Content and Social Media Manager Jess Hellens on 0117 926 0680 ext 309 or email jessh[at]