Rethinking the “Do Not Touch” Sign

Museums and historic sites are well known for their “do not touch” signs.  The UK National Trust worked with The Click Design Consultants to change the rules to engage visitors. According to The Click,

The campaign, titled ‘Nature’s Playground’, is designed to entice visitors to explore, enjoy, savour and touch. A series of nine signs were created which, at first glance, look like warnings or instructions not to do something, whereas actually they encourage the opposite.

The physical signs were packaged up and sent out to National Trust properties across the east of England. The properties were then briefed to install the signs in appropriate locations within their grounds and / or estate. The inclusion of a hashtag (#NaturesPlayground), encourages visitors to share their experiences and post pictures of their visit on social media sites.

The signs were also photographed in situ. This imagery then becomes the external focus of the campaign (i.e. posters, literature and ads) – targeting new visitors as well as encouraging existing visitors to enjoy the properties differently.

Clever idea because it takes the expected and flips it on its head–a pleasant surprise that’s bound to cause visitors to smile and rethink historic sites!

Thanks to Travis Kirspel at the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs of the State of Delaware for sharing this idea.

2 thoughts on “Rethinking the “Do Not Touch” Sign

  1. Hammond-Harwood House

    I love these signs! And, more than just the signs themselves, the mentality they represent: a willingness to engage with the public, and even a sense of humor. One of the best things I heard at the AAM conference was that museums should have a “bias towards yes,” and these signs are a great example of that philosophy. Instead of saying no to pictures, walking on the grass, and touching things, they actually invite people to enjoy themselves.


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