When I recently visited the Campbell House Museum in St. Louis, I was really impressed by their use historic images and documents throughout the tours. It wasn’t just that they were integrating lots of different historic materials into the tours (that’s always a good practice), but they looked great. In the entry hall, a couple 16″x20″ historic maps on the wall put the house in a historical context. In the parlor, a stand held an assortment of historic photos on lightweight boards, which the docent passed around so that visitors could examine them more closely.
They were clearly modern so there was no confusion you were handling something historic and the docents could easily use them because they were so simple and light. They were easy to examine because the matte surface reduced glare from the sun and lights. But what really surprised me is that they were more than ten years old—they looked brand new! No edges were peeling and the images hadn’t been worn out or bent by the constant handling. Even better, they were cheap to produce—about $8-10 per square foot by a local sign maker. These are so much better than laminated or framed interpretive tools I’ve seen and used elsewhere.
If you’re interested in creating these for your site: Continue reading