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Planning and managing interpretive signage at archaeological sites

Ahmed Rjoob

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MA in Managing Archaeological Sites of the University of London in 2003.


Note: This Dissertation is an unrevised examination copy for consultation only and it should not be quoted or cited without the permission of the Director of the Institute.

Interpretive signage is increasingly becoming a crucial tool to interpret and manage archaeological heritage places. It is used to conveying interpretive themes and messages to visitors as well as utilized to keep them far away from vulnerable and fragile features. However, to be an effective interpretive and communicative technique, this signage must be flowed out from a comprehensive planning framework of a particular place. Its chief aim should be interpreting tangible and intangible cultural values of that place by making them more understandable, thematic and more meaningful for various categories of visitors. Moreover, this plan must involve assessment criteria to get feedback for its product through gauging whether or not its interpretive messages get across. In doing so, this paper will explore the issues of interpretation by highlighting its methods and principles as well as presenting an interpretive signage planning model as general guidelines for preparing an effective interpretive signage as a program and as a technique. In additionally, a case study from Palestine will be used to uphold this trend, showing how these guidelines can be adapted to suit local conditions and traditions of particular place, including its special social, economic, political, and physical environment.

Abstract ..........................................................................................................................2 List of illustrations: ........................................................................................................5 Acknowledgments..........................................................................................................6 Introduction....................................................................................................................7 Chapter One: Holistic approaches to interpretation: basis and theory...........................9 The definition of interpretation..................................................................................9 The uses of interpretation.........................................................................................10 Basic principles of archaeological site interpretation ..............................................12 Planning interpretation.............................................................................................14 Chapter Two: Interpretative signage: a planning model..............................................15 Step 1: Objectives ....................................................................................................16 Step 2: Interpretative themes (stories) .....................................................................16 Effective themes...................................................................................................18 Step 3: Audiences ....................................................................................................19 Psychological and cognitive learning studies ......................................................22 Step 4: Techniques for interpretive signage.............................................................22 Effective interpretive signage ..............................................................................23 Types of signage ..................................................................................................25 Interpretive signage design ..................................................................................27 Step 5: Implementation and evaluation....................................................................34 Implementation ....................................................................................................34 Evaluation ............................................................................................................34 Chapter Three: Planning interpretive signage for Hishams Palace: a case study.......36 Objectives and goals ................................................................................................37 Inventory and evaluation of site resources...............................................................38 Inventory of cultural evidence .............................................................................38 Establishing a theme and supporting messages .......................................................46 Establishing interpretive signage .............................................................................47 Recommended guidelines for interpretive signage at Hishams Palace ..............48 Specific objectives and purposes of new interpretive signage.............................49 Proposed interpretive signage ..............................................................................51 Evaluation, implementation and maintenance .........................................................54

Evaluation ............................................................................................................54 Implementation ....................................................................................................54 Maintenance.........................................................................................................55 Conclusions..................................................................................................................56 Bibliography ................................................................................................................59 Appendices...................................................................................................................64 Appendix 1: Definitions of interpretation................................................................64 Appendix 2: levels of planning in archaeological heritage places...........................65 Appendix 3: Guidelines for better message text ......................................................66 Appendix 4: Fifteen steps to more powerful sign text.............................................67 Appendix 5. Artistic considerations in signage design............................................68 Appendix 6. Readability and viewing distance........................................................70 Appendix 7. Signage materials and comparative attributes.....................................71 Appendix 8: Strengths and weaknesses of common sign materials ........................72 Appendix 9: Specification of effective signage .......................................................73 Appendix 10: List of some main stakeholders of Hishams palace.........................74 Appendix 11: Stakeholder questionnaire.....75 Appendix 12: Visitor Questionnaire........79

List of illustrations:
List of figures Figure 2.1: Interpretive signage planning model 15 Figure 3.1: Geographical location of Hishams palace... 36 Figure 3.2: Interpretive signage planning model for Hishams palace....37 Figure 3.3: A plan of the main features of Hishams palace...38 Figure 3.4: General plan of the palace complex ......40 Figure 3.5: The Diwans mosaic floor..40 Figure 3.6: The mosque....41 Figure 3.7: The ornamental pool......41 Figure 3.8: The existing interpretive signage at Hishams palace...42 Figure 3.9: The orientation signage at Hishams palace......43 Figure 3.10: Profile of visitors to Hishams palace......44 Figure 3.11: A plan for proposed new signage at Hishams palace ....51

List of tables Table 3.1: Results of the visitor questionnaire analysis...........44 Table 3.2: Results of the stakeholder questionnaire analysis.......45 Table 3.3: Interpretive signage guidelines for Hishams palace .48

I am grateful to many people for helping me accomplish this research. Sincere thanks to my supervisor Mr. Tim Williams for his help, guidance, patience, and understanding. Much appreciation should be given to Osama Hamdan, Director of Hishams palace mosaic workshop, and Carla Benelli and Walid Sharif for their continued support throughout this research. Special thanks to Baha Jubeh, Ihab Daud, Zahra Zawawi, Yaqoub, Jaber Rjoob, all of the archaeological students at Jerusalem University and everybody who provided me with valuable information about interpretive signage at Hishams palace. I also wish to thank my wife for her entire support and valuable information on colour issues. In addition, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, which contributed to my study costs and thus made possible my attendance at this course.

Interpretive signage is one of the most common self-guiding techniques used to interpret archaeological heritage places. It gives immediate meaning to visitors experiences through employing a combination of text and visuals, conveying interpretive messages of these places (Diment 1998, 3). Nonetheless, a holistic consideration of interpretive issues is crucial to make this signage thematic, and more meaningful, containing only one unambiguous theme for the entire site, related to some key ideas or central message, and coming up with various ways to express and illustrate that theme by linking it with images and actions of everyday life of the visitors, making the interpretation easier to follow and more meaningful to them (Ham 1992, 236; Veverka 1994, 20). Furthermore, any interpretation process should be emerged from an overall planning process, especially conservation and management plans, statements of significance and stakeholders. Obviously, interpretive signage will be more effective if it is based on information gathered through a framework designed to identify interpretive programmes and activities, including details of how the site is going to be interpreted in the light of its current and future opportunities and constraints, who will be involved in this planning process, what themes and messages will be conveyed, to whom, and so on. Therefore, as good planning practice, interpretive signage should be planned and designed to be clear, precise, applicable, exciting, provocative, revealing and memorable (Veverka 1998, 5). The overarching scope of this research is to present a planning approach for interpretive signage, to be seen as part of a holistic planning and management process at archaeological sites, and to suggest a range of principles and steps to achieve this.

The first chapter will explore general issues of interpretation, including its definition, uses, principles, and planning. It will highlight Tildens interpretive definition and principles, among others, as influential conceptual ideas in interpretive theories. The second chapter, which is the core of this paper, will consider interpretive signage as part of an overall site planning process. In doing so, a model for planning interpretive signage is presented: this process has five interrelated steps, undertaken in a logical order and aimed at producing an interpretive signage plan for any archaeological place, regardless of its size or cultural importance. It gives particular attention to visitors, interpretive themes and messages, as well as exploring the best way(s) of presenting these through conceptual and artistic design. In the third chapter, Hishams Palace, Palestine, will be presented as a case study. It is one of the most important managed archaeological sites in Palestine. This case study will explore a planning model (developed from the general model set out Chapter 2) designed to suit the specific local conditions of the site. In doing so, it will explore the existing interpretive signage at Hishams palace, ways to get feedback and input from the visitors and stakeholders to upgrade it, and how interpretive themes and supporting messages can be established. In the light of above observations, this paper will argue that interpretive signage in the archaeological places should be attractive, thematic, meaningful, based on a comprehensive planning framework, and stem from an overall site planning process. It is hoped that raising such issues will enhance the current debate regarding planning and managing interpretive signage, as well as providing guidelines for improving interpretive signage in Palestine.

Chapter One: Holistic approaches to interpretation: basis and theory

Effective interpretation can only be achieved through a comprehensive planning and management approach that takes into consideration all the variables of a particular site. This chapter aims to provide a brief theoretical background to some contemporary issues in interpretation, through four components: The definition of interpretation The uses of interpretation Basic principles of archaeological site interpretation Planning interpretation

The definition of interpretation

Interpretation is a term increasingly used in the field of cultural heritage to describe a thematic and meaningful interpretation process. It uses a variety of approaches and techniques, planned and designed to reveal meanings and values of heritage places to the public (Pearson and Sullivan 1999, 288; Uzzell 1998, 235; Ham 1992, 4-5). Typically, any interpretation process consists of two ingredients: a programme and an activity. The programme establishes a set of objectives designed to build thematic communication with the visitors, while the activity is the techniques by which the programme is undertaken (Alderson and Low 1987, 3). There is no single definition of interpretation adopted by most interpretation professionals. Freeman Tildens definition (who was the first scholar to define interpretation formally in 1957) is the most commonly used and comprehensive. He identifies interpretation as an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships through the use of original objects, by firsthand experience, and by illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual information (Tilden

1977, 8). Most heritage scholars and institutions tailored this definition to serve their own needs, resulting in similar definitions throughout the world (see Appendix 1). For example, for Ham interpretation involves translating the technical language of a natural science or related field into terms and ideas that people who arent scientists can readily understand. And it involves doing it in a way thats entertaining and interesting to the people (Ham 1992, 3). Similarly, it has been identified by Interpretation Australia as a means of communicating ideas and feelings which helps people enrich their understanding and appreciation of their world and their role within it" (IAA 2003). Essentially, all above definitions are alike and they include the basic elements of the interpretation process at archaeological heritage places: cultural significance, the nature of the visitors, and techniques. These elements are incorporated together to shape the visitor experience and highlight the key to effective interpretative planning in any archaeological place (Uzzell 1998, 235-237; Hall and McArthur 1998, 170).

The uses of interpretation

The interpretation of archaeological places is a multifaceted and potentially controversial issue, either as an interpretive programme or as a technique. As a programme, it is unambiguous that a diversity of interest groups have presented their own interpretation of heritage evidence, in accordance with their cultural backgrounds. Consciously or unconsciously all the players, archaeologists included, have used heritage assets to serve their own ends. In this sense, archaeological heritage has lent itself well to serve various interests. For example it has been used widely to legitimise political positions, claims to land or property, promote national identity, and enhance ideas of racial and cultural superiority (Skeates 2000, 89-94).


In this sense, interpretation is a subjective and selective issue, designed by heritage experts in specific formats to communicate with targeted audiences, seeking to achieve particular purposes. Many scholars argue that there is no such thing as objective facts or truths about the past: the past is only a subjective interpretation about what happen in earlier periods (Lowenthal 1985, 213-14; Aplin 2002, 31; Pearson and Sullivan 1999, 291). As a presentation technique interpretation may be simple or elaborate, static or interactive, specifically targeted or generalized. It may relate to the whole place, or to selected aspects or themes within it (Pearson and Sullivan 1999, 288). Nevertheless, interpretation is a dynamic process used by site managers either to interpret a meaning and/or a cultural significance, making it more clear and accessible for visitors, or as a preventive conservation tool to protect some fragile assets: through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection (Uzzell 1989, 13). This dictum implies that one outcome of the interpretation process should be an encouragement for protecting heritage places. However, as Uzzell states, this model postulates that information leading to increased understanding of an issue will lead to attitude change and then, as a consequence, to behaviour change, while this model has appeal, if only through its intuitive logic and simplicity, more thoughtful consideration will suggest that it is problematic (loc cit). These issues raise crucial questions: why do people visit heritage places? Are they seeking to understand the values of these places? Clearly there is no simple answer to such questions: however, cultural heritage studies (Lowenthal 1985; Hall and McArthur1998; Skeates 2000; Carter 2001) have found that the nostalgia of the past is one of the prime motivations that makes people sympathetically and


unconsciously interest in the past. David Lowenthal argues that the nostalgia is often for past thoughts rather than past things, people flock to historic sites to share recall of the familiar, communal recollection enhancing personal reminiscence (Lowenthal 1985, 8). In other words, people visit heritage places because they want to experience human meanings and values, rather than mute physical remains (Sivan 1997, 52). This corresponds with Tildens perspectives that the objective of interpretation is to bring to the eye and understanding of the visitor not just a house, a ruin, or a battlefield, but a house of living people, a prehistoric ruin of real folks, a battlefield, but where men were only incidentally - even if importantly - in uniform (Tilden 1977, 70). Therefore, in spite of the subjectivity of interpretation, it should go beyond the tangibility of physical remains of archaeological places to their intangibility, presenting their cultural values as productions of diverse human activities. These sites should be treated and interpreted as stores and records of human memory, giving visitors an opportunity to turn over the pages of these records through attractive and thematic interpretation that contributes to educate and inform them about various interpreted features of these sites away from fragile areas.

Basic principles of archaeological site interpretation

Basic principles of interpretation are aimed at guiding professionals to build effective interpretation, ensuring its ability to communicate with all types of visitors at heritage places. Tildens six interpretative principles (Tilden 1977, 9) are probably the most important and influential methods articulated. They have been used by most professionals as indicators of well-organized interpretation, and they have inspired interpretive scholars for more than forty-five years and are still working forcefully today.


I. Any interpretation that does not somehow relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile; II. Information, as such, is not interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information. But they are entirely different things. However, all interpretation includes information; III. Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historical or architectural. Any art in some degree teachable; IV. The chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation; V. Interpretation should aim to present a whole rather than a part, and must address itself to the whole man rather than any phase; VI. Interpretation addressed to children (say, up to the age of twelve) should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a fundamentally different approach. To be at its best it will require a separate program. (Tilden 1977, 9) Examination of these principles reveals that Tilden mainly focused on the human dimension, rather than on the physical dimension, of archaeological places. However, both dimensions are crucial to promote visitors experience at archaeological places. They should work together to achieve this. Some additional principles have been advanced, therefore, by Sivan (1997, 52-3) to enhance site setting as an authentic resource of visitor experience: I. Every site is unique, both in its present and past realities. The proper interpretation depends on the survived physical elements;


II. Effective, accurate, sensitive interpretation takes into consideration the size of the site, its physical conditions, and its heritage and aesthetic values; III. Interpretive themes must go far of current physical bounders to include tangible and intangible values to communicate human history in more thematic and mindful approach; IV. Interpretation process should keep intervention on the site to a minimum. (Sivan 1997, 52-53)

Planning interpretation
Planning interpretation has been identified as a process that identifies and describes significant visitor experiences in a park, forest, zoo or other resource-based recreation area; and recommends ways to provide, encourage, sustain, facilitate or otherwise assist those experiences (Harpers Ferry Centre 1998, 2). In this sense, planning is a dynamic and continuous process, having short- and long-term perspectives. It steers the interpretive process at a particular place, in light of the places statement of significance and conservation plan, seeking to enhance visitor experience without jeopardizing or detracting from its values, but rather articulates and makes them more thematic and meaningful (Alderson and Low 1987, 22-23; Taylor 2001, 3; Kerr 1996, 38) (see also Appendix 2). In this broad vision, interpretive signage is part of a holistic interpretative planning process, involving a variety of interpretative programmes, media and services (media-mix) used to illustrate and interpret a given place, such as printed leaflets, interpretation centres, exhibits, etc. (Veverka 1998, 5). Accordingly, the next chapter will explore the issue of planning interpretive signage as an essential element of management and conservation plans at any given site.


Chapter Two: Interpretative signage: a planning model

Figure 2.1 (below) presents a sequence of steps required to prepare an effective interpretive signage plan for a given managed heritage place. Such planning should have emerged from a holistic interpretive approach of the place, consistent with its conservation and management plan. It is assumed, for the purposes of this paper, that the necessary data for planning interpretive signage would be gathered and analysed during the preparation of a site management plan, and that this would include the effective engagement of all stakeholders, especially those who have an interest in, or impact upon, the place: such as archaeologists, historians, designers, guides, artists, learning and education experts, local people, and so forth (Sullivan 1997, 17). Conservation & management plans
and statements of significance

Stakeholders and archaeological and

historical records, etc International Conventions and Charters such as Venice, Burra Charter, etc


Interpretive themes (Stories) Interpretation signage Techniques (Activity)


Implementation and evaluation Figure 2. 1: interpretive signage model


Step 1: Objectives
From the outset, conceptual objectives for interpretive signage should be identified in accordance with the sites management plan and statement of significance. These objectives form the key stone of any interpretative plan, guiding it toward conveying interpretative messages, and acting as a monitor to examine whether or not interpretive signage has achieved its envisaged purposes (Veverka 1998, 6-7). Clear objectives are the key of any effective interpretive plan: they should be specific, applicable and measurable, reflecting the interests of stakeholders, and deriving from long-term considerations of protecting and conserving cultural significance of heritage places (Sullivan 1997, 16). In doing so, an interpretive signage plan should include three types of targeted objectives, each of which has its own specific role in getting across interpretive messages: 1. Learning objectives: these are concerning with what visitors are going to learn and remember from the site, after they reading/looking at the signage. 2. Behavioural objectives: these are concerned with what visitors can and/or cannot do, and how they can use interpretive information. 3. Emotional objectives: these help visitors to remember the theme. They may help visitors to feel emotions such as surprise, anger, guilty, or acceptance, and might develop feelings about the protection of the place and its values. (Veverka 1994, 45-46)

Step 2: Interpretative themes (stories)

Identifying a theme or themes for interpretive signage is the second step in this planning model. The aim is to identify key messages, concepts or big ideas to be


communicated to the visitor about a specific archaeological heritage place, conveying its tangible and intangible meanings and values. It should be possible to express these in a clear sentence, possibly supported by secondary point(s), sub-theme(s) or message(s). The visitor should be able to understand the theme and be able summarize it in one sentence after viewing the interpretive signage (Hall and McArthur 1998, 171; Harpers Ferry Centre 2000, 8; Serrell 1996, 1-3). The theme should organize and clarify the structure of the interpretive process, making it more understandable and comprehensive. Many interpretation studies (Tilden 1977; Ham 1992; Veverka 1994; Serrell 1996; Carter 2001) have shown that interpretive themes are one of the most critical indicators of effective and well-planned interpretation. It organizes and focuses entire interpretation process on a main story or big idea, making it more interpretive, meaningful and memorable, rather than just informative. As Ham argues that interpretive signage is a thematic as long as it has a theme; and more meaningful as long as this theme is understandable by visitors. He goes on stating that When interpretation has a theme it has a message, we call this thematic interpretation. When our interpretation isnt thematic, it seems unorganized, difficult to follow, and less meaningful to our audiences. This is simply because they cant easily see where the communication is going, and they dont know how to connect all the information theyre receiving. But when the information we present is thematic - that is, when its all related to some key idea or central message- it becomes easier to follow and more meaningful to people (Ham 1992, 33). This argument reminds us strongly of Tildens interpretive principle that interpretation should provoke, reveal the essence of the message, and relate to everyday life of visitors (Tilden 1977, 9). These issues obviously highlight that the


theme is a context, not only for ideas embedded into text, but also in the outcome of the interaction of signage elements, including graphics, maps, etc., designed to communicate with visitors through engaging as much as possible of their senses (Cross 1998, 12; Veverka 1994, 10). Research has suggested that most people can handle about seven (plus or minus two) ideas simultaneously (Miller 2003, 19-20). In the light of this result, Ham suggests using only one single theme, based on five or fewer main points, in any interpretation process: The theme of a presentation, and the five or fewer main ideas used to develop it, provide the adhesive. In this important respect, themes not only help interpreters select from their wealth of knowledge which few facts and concepts to put into their presentations, but if they reveal in advance what the theme is, and how it will be organized, their audiences also benefit in terms of understanding and comprehension (Ham 1992, 23). Effective themes (see appendices 3- 4) An effective interpretive signage theme should be understood by all visitors, regardless of their physical or psychological differences. Its text should be worded accurately, avoiding bias, jargon, ambiguity, unfamiliar words, or non-visual reference words or illustrations (Masters 2002, 4; Cross 1998, 13). As Veverka argues, for example, writing that the site is five acres in size. Consider that most visitors have never seen an acre! Most have no visual reference for just how big an acre is. If you dont give them an analogy or some visual frame of reference, this is useless information for the visitor. There are lots of other words like this, including technical terms for which visitors may not have any frame of reference (Veverka 1994, 24). Interpretation, therefore, should be strongly related to the visitors


experience and built upon their pre-existing experience and knowledge (Uzzell 1998, 244; Zehr et al 1992, 7). Washburne and Wagar argue that interpretative themes will be more effective and memorable if interpretive signage uses the story format (as a complete idea, having a beginning, a core, and a result), or cause-and-effect relationships to narrate them. Visitors prefer such formats and link these easily with their visual-reference framework, which often related to their surrounding. In contrast, they do not like information presented as isolated facts or as identification (Washburne and Wagar 1972, 248-252). Many scholars, therefore, suggest that interpretative text is more comfortable, for all categories of visitors, if it is presented at a reading age of 9-12 (Woods, Moscardo and Greenwood 1998, 50; Masters 2002, 1). Peter Howard; however, has criticized this trend, claiming that interpretation with one theme might diminish visitor experience because it is, very often, presented through only one storyline, or a few ideas, stemming from one paradigm or from one disciplinary position. As a result, interpretation becomes intrusive and might detract from the cultural significance of the site (Howard 2003, 247-249). In spite of this critique, it is obvious that visitors only remember one thing or message from overall interpretive signage (Veverka 1998, 6). If this message contains too many ideas, visitors might find it hard to understand and the majority of them move through it quickly due to overwhelming and confusing with many themes, which contain too many different ideas (Serrell 1996, 7).

Step 3: Audiences
Concurrently with the identification of the interpretive theme (step 2 above), those leading the interpretive planning process must identify and understand the physical and psychological needs of their target audience, who will be the potential viewer and


reader of interpretive signage. Basically, the target audience is likely to be those people for whom the place has value, and for whom it is interpreted. This will vary from place to place and from country to country; however, in most instances, the target audience consists of those people who are sufficiently engaged to visit a given heritage place: be they experts or people with little knowledge; local residents or tourists; children or retired folk (Veverka 1994, 51-52). This phase of planning aims at analysing current and/or potential visitors to a particular heritage place, providing interpretive planning process with information about the target audience, such as: Who are they? Where are they coming from? What are their motives and expectations? Why are they visiting the place? What basic information might they already have? What information do they want about the place? And so forth. The better the target audience has been understood, the better and more effective interpretive signage is likely to be (Moscardo1999, 25-26). Visitor researches (Moscardo1999; Serrell 1996; Washburne and Wagar 1972; Diment 1998) have shown that target audiences are increasingly heterogeneous rather than homogenous. Each visitor has his or her own values, interests, motivations, and physical characteristics, which are different from the others. Understanding these variables, however, can contribute to identifying common traits, enabling the interpretive signage to be moulded to them. Visitors represent a non-captive audience (in contrast to captive audience in classrooms). If they decide to stay, pay attention, view and read signage, it will only be because they want to. If the interpretive signage doesnt interest them, seems too academic, or requires too much effort to follow, they will probably not pay attention (Ham 1992, 6). Most often, the primary reason for visiting heritage places, for non-captive audience, is not purely for the interpretive experience or taking part in interpretive


programmes, but for picnicking and being with friends (op cit). Veverka claims that the visitor is in a vacation frame of mind and wants to have fun (to recreate). Thus any learning activity should also be a recreational activity. Interpretive service must promote the notion that learning is fun and enjoyable (Veverka 1994, 2). Evidently, this argument recalls what Tilden raises in his interpretation principles that the chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation (Tilden 1977, 9). There are two common approaches used to investigate target audiences: demographic and psychographic analysis of visitors characteristics. Demographic criteria include personal information (such as age, social-economic background, level of education, origin, etc.): such information is usually very valuable, used as indicator of familiarity with the archaeological heritage places and to develop an understanding of the physical needs of visitors. Psychographic criteria reflect more personal traits about people, such as motivations, expectations, attitudes, level of interest and understanding about a theme. This information is very useful to examine comprehension levels, and the interaction between visitors and various interpretive messages (Veverka 1994, 52-59; Hall and McArthur 1998, 170-71). Understanding physical and psychological characteristics of target audiences is critical to creating an effective interpretive signage plan. It gives interpretive planners practical clues as to how to capture visitors attention, how to enhance their interpretive experience, and how to make people remember the interpretive messages after leaving the place. If planners fail in this mission visitors, as non-captive audience, may choose not to participate or they may quickly forget all that was learnt. As has been said how poorly we understood our visitors, how ineffective we probably were in communicating with them (Veverka 1994, 53, 2).


Psychological and cognitive learning studies Psychological and cognitive learning studies have become one of the main tools used to understand the limits of visitors capacity for processing information. The results can be used to enhance the visitors experience of archaeological places by making interpretive approaches suit their various limitations. One result from these studies suggests that there is a limit how much information a visitor can absorb from the interpretation process. It is suggested that people might retain about: o 10% of what they hear o 30% of what they read o 50% of what they see o 90% of what they do (Lewis 1980, 27-28; Veverka 1998, 7) In addition, studies in museums have raised crucial issues for effective site signage. For example, they have suggested that people spend an average of forty-five to sixty seconds in front of an information panel; given an average reading speed for an adult, who speak the language, standing on their feet, of about 250-300 words per minute, the potential maximum size of each text panel could be envisaged (Serrell 1996, 125). The main lesson can be leant is that interpretive signage should be concise, clearly organized, thematic and meaningful, using all presentation methods to engage as many as possible of visitors senses.

Step 4: Techniques for interpretive signage

Interpretive signage is one of the most practicable interpretive techniques, used at many heritage places to reveal their meanings and cultural values by making them more understandable and interpretative for visitors. This technique is an amalgam of


many ingredients, including text, illustration(s), photography(s), and map(s), imaginatively presented to tell a story about an object or a place (Jones 1998, 11; Diment 1998, 3). Interpretive signage is not only used as a self-guiding technique for educating and entertaining visitors, at any hour of the day, but also used as an effective management tool, keeping them away of unsafe and vulnerable features (Carter 2001, 43; Aplin 2002, 43). Thus individual signs should be carefully planned as part of an overall signage system, not as a one-off: signs should both make sense themselves (recognizing that non-captive audience often encounter such signs out of order - Serrell 1994, 21), with other signs, and as part of the total media-mix at any given place. Effective interpretive signage Good interpretive signage should stimulate the visitor to view it, and help make the site understandable and meaningful. Interpretive studies (Veverka 1994; Ham 1992; Woods, Moscardo and Greenwood 1998) have outlined four main issues that might be followed to create effective interpretive signage: attractiveness, clarity, purpose, and placement (see also Appendices 3-4, 9). Attractiveness A signs attractiveness is largely based on whether it is aesthetically pleasing, an appropriate size, and consistent with the landscape or place. As a general rule, the signage should be totally compatible with the environment of interpreted heritage place in terms of colours, sizes, shapes, etc., capturing the visitors attention and motivating them to interact with the signage (Veverka 1994, 50). Clarity of the message Effective interpretive signage must contain a conspicuous, recognizable and understandable theme, communicable to viewers within a few seconds. In doing so, the text should be balanced between brevity and detail, with five or fewer main ideas 23

used to develop the theme. Text should be readable, written in an understandable language(s), enabling the visitor to follow the structure of the theme and incorporate its messages into their existing knowledge (Woods, Moscardo and Greenwood 1998, 49). Purpose Every sign should be used to achieve learning, behavioural and/or emotional objective(s) through its various design elements. Signage should influence visitors, making them interact with the place. These objectives have general and specific perspectives. The general perspectives are designed to tailor the messages of specific signs to the general theme, while the specific perspectives connect these messages with interpreted features or objects, adding new messages and values to the visitors experience (Ballantyne, Hughes and Moscardo 2003). Placement and mounting (see appendix 9) Intuitionally, interpretive signs will be more effective if those who are writing or designing them know where they will be placed in advance. Tilden states that It is useful to the writer to be familiar with the exact spot where the inscription will be placednor indeed any inscription, should intrude itself between visitor and the object intended to delight and impress. And there are spots where no interpretive sign should be erected (Tilden 1977, 60). Consequently, interpretive signage must be well-sited, at visible and convenient key locations, attracting the visitors eye and holding their attention. It needs to be mounted carefully, at an appropriate height (comfortable for seated/standing adults, children, wheelchairs, etc), distance and angle (for example, to avoid sun dazzle), and matching the view of visitors, with a connection made between signage and heritage feature (Jones 1998, 10-11). Thus careful consideration should be given to the placement of every single sign, so as not


to detract from the visual qualities of the place or from visitors appreciation of it (Drew 2001, 19). Using angled or lectern signs is often preferable in heritage places, since this type is less obtrusive than upright ones (Diment 1998, 4). The size and shape of the signage needs to be a convenient size, consistent with the interpreted feature and with the available space around it, since several people may view it at once. The signage needs to be erected in a convenient spot; to avoid potential overcrowding and viewing obstructions, and to ensure that it does not stand above the horizon of the sites features or its landscape (Carter 2001, 43; Ham 1992, 237). Additionally, interpretive signage plan should consider the potential negative impacts of placement and mounting on site features. In terms of conservation, interpretive signage is a physical intervention into the heritage place. As such, this intervention should be reversible, either in its physical material or in its placement (Australia ICOMOS 2003). Similarly, mounting any type of signage on walls, objects and/or monuments should be avoided; free-standing signage is less intrusive and highly recommended. Australia ICOMOS outlines that New signage where attached to the place should be capable of being removed without causing damage to the fabric of the place (loc cit). Types of signage There is no agreed universal terminology for signage types on archaeological sites. Some institutions use function to describe them (e.g. orientation, introduction, caption); others use placement (e.g., wall text, feature signage). There is much confusion in the literature from these contradictory categories. For the purpose of this paper, interpretive signage will be broadly divided into four main types: introductory, sub-introductory, feature, and orientation.


Introductory signage This type is mostly placed close to the main entrance of archaeological place, and will include the main themes of the interpretative programme, often telling the story of the place. From this signage visitors should get the main story of the place. Obviously, many visitors will not stop to read a long introduction as they are being drawn into the site by many competing sights and objects. If the entrance is crowded, visitors may not want to stop. For these reasons, introductory signage should be placed at an appropriate spot, its text should be concise, and its typeface clear and large enough to be read quickly, without stopping for long (Serrell 1996, 21-22). Sub-introductory signage Using this type depends upon the interpreted heritage materials and the interpretive plan. It works as a mediator between the general theme and its supportive messages. Feature signage Typically this type of signage is used to interpret individual features at archaeological sites. It contains brief information about a given feature, including text, illustrations, plans, etc. as appropriate. As mentioned previously, every feature signage should have a specific purpose, providing visitors with a specific new message(s) about the cultural values of the interpreted feature, and clarifying parts of the places story. Although this type of signage is, very often, erected in archaeological places according to the quality/quantity of their features, these places should not be cluttered with more signage than their capacity, detracting from the authenticity, integrity and sense of place (Jones 1998, 11). Orientation signs Orientation signs should contain quiet brief information, such as names, directions, symbol, maps, etc. They should be written in friendly approachable language, or illustrated with well understood symbols, informing visitors in how to perceive or use 26

the place, and clarify its story. They are primarily aimed at helping the visitors to find their way around, keeping them on planned routes away from any potential risk or fragile features (Serrell 1994, 31; Moscardo 1999, 14). The language of orientation signage is extremely important: they should be written carefully, avoiding harsh or ordering words, as Ham states giving the reason for a rule is almost always going to be mire effective than just giving the rule, itselfwhen observing the rule will benefit the viewer as well as the site, it is best to tell how (Ham 1992, 287). Interpretive signage design Interpretive signage must look attractive and be accessible at a glance. Many people will decide within seconds whether or not to read it. These few seconds, that noncaptive audience spend in reading the signage, should be used to provoke and stimulate their interest and capture their attention: If there is no reason for visitors to want to learn this information, it should be created (Veverka 1994, 49). It should attempt to communicate its theme, almost regardless of how much time the visitor spends viewing or following its sequence (see Appendix 9). Ham (1992, 237) argues that signs that are designed to communicate a theme, and then look attractive, are more useful than those that are designed solely to look good, and he suggests two levels of design: conceptual and artistic design. Conceptual design In contrasting oral and written presentation, Ham states in a talk, the communicator decides the sequence of the presentation; but in an exhibition viewers, themselves, decide if and when to pay attention to different parts of the exhibition, regardless of what the designer has planned or hoped (Ham 1992, 238-239). Normally oral communication proceeds in a pre-planned sequence from a definite beginning to a definite ending; but interpretive signage is nonlinear, because it is without a definite


ending. If its title or main heading(s) is conspicuous, most viewers will probably start reading it, but they may then continue in any order they wish and end at any place the want (loc cit). Theme title The Theme title is a term used to describe a title that makes reference to the theme in interpretive signage (Ham 1992, 240). Building a theme into the title is a key point of any effective interpretive signage. As has been argued, most visitors spend little time reading interpretive signage; they may read conspicuous titles immediately, although some interesting objects or illustrations may initially attract their attention. Nevertheless, if the theme is in the title, most visitors, regardless of how much time they spend viewing the signage, will recognize and absorb it (Ham loc cit). The best interpretive signage communicates its theme very quickly (Drew 2001, 9). Levels of conceptual message design As visitors read interpretive signage with different motives and different enthusiasms, Ham argues that interpretive messages should be divided into levels, so as to fit various types of visitors: Theme awareness Awareness of the messages components Signage elements and details

Theme awareness Demonstrating the theme is the core of this level, which should be easily recognized within few seconds. The theme title can be employed to achieve this purpose, especially if it is backed by artistic design.


Awareness of the message components (five or fewer ideas) This level can be accomplished through highlighting conspicuous headings or subheadings, colours, illustrations, or other visual separators, to quickly show the visitor the main ideas used to support the theme. Signage elements and details This should be highly selective, including those facts, ideas and other information directly necessary to communicate the theme and its supporting messages. (Ham 1992, 242) The idea of these levels is that most visitors will not read everything in interpretive signage, and many of them might go no further than Levels I or II, but conceptual design should enable the visitors to absorb as much of the theme as they want, and in the order they wish, regardless of the time they spend reading the messages. Artistic design After establishing the conceptual design, interpretive planners have to work hand in hand with designers, thinking how to present the theme and its supportive messages artistically. They should consider how they will employ design elements, such as colours, layout, illustrations, unity, emphasis, balance, and so forth, to serve the theme and its messages (Ham loc cit). Well-deigned messages should increase the effectiveness of the interpretive signage (Gertsch 2000, 45). For example, the designer may choose to emphasize the theme and its messages by breaking up the text into titles and subtitles, through colours, or through illustrations and photographs. Although each of these ingredients is a distinctive part of the signage, the viewer often sees them together as a whole, so all the design elements must visually go together, leading the visitors eye through the


sign; otherwise the signage will lack unity and attractiveness (Davis 2003; Ham 1992, 250; Serrell 1996, 149). Well-designed interpretive signage should have four main characteristics (see Appendix 5): Unity of signage design: this includes overall design elements (titles, subtitles, headings, illustrations, etc.). These elements should be consistent and look like they go together. Emphasis and contrast: these two criteria should be employed to direct the visitors concentration through the signage. As viewers instinctually read the largest and most prominent letters first, text format should be employed to guide them to the most important ideas. Balance: this should be utilized to offer the interpretive signage design stability and making it more pleasing to the visitor eye, using formal and informal balance on signage. Colours: the signs should be based on surroundings environment, or related to the topic of the interpretive signage. (Ham 1992, 245-256)

Colours issues A key issue in interpretive signage design is that dark colours stand out against light backgrounds, and vice versa, regardless of the colours involved. Typically high contrast colours are needed for signages letters and background; otherwise the words will not show up very well. This is especially important for outdoor interpretive signage, exposed to the fading effects of the sun,


which subsequently reduced their contrast. Nonetheless, neutral colours, such as black, white, grey, and brown look good in any colour scheme (Ham 1992, 261-62) and for this reason they are commonly used in text and titles of interpretive signage. These colours often stand out without making the design appear more complex, whereas true colours (yellow, red, etc.) often do (ibid). Additionally, signage located in open sunlight is more readable if light letters are used on a dark background: however, if the signage is shaded, dark letters on a light field is preferred (Ham 1992, 287). Basically, combinations of colours that blend or contrast are usually pleasing to the eye. However, using glared colours should be avoided, as they may confuse viewers and may make them switch their attention to something more attractive (Veverka 1998, 6-7). Maps and plans The maps and plans on interpretive signage need to be simple, selective, symbolic and easy to read, including only what the visitors need to understand from the site. Unnecessarily details should be left out, in order to make the main landmarks more visible and more legible. In addition, the orientation of maps/plans should be considered carefully during the design process, so that they match the signage direction on the ground (Drew 2001, 10; Moscardo 1999, 55). The best maps/ plans should (see Appendix 9): include important information, and excluding excessive details; highlight important landmarks and major paths or routes; use realistic symbols; put text on the map instead of beside it; use some colours, if possible; include you are here to let visitors locate themselves.


(Moscardo 1999, 55) Images and graphics Interpretive signage should not only rely upon text to get across its messages. Graphics and images can be very effective devices to convey interpretive stories, along with the text as supportive elements. Historic images or reconstruction drawings, which show what a site looked like at an earlier time, might be more valuable and communicative than other kinds of illustrations (Carter 200, 44; Drew 2001, 9-10). Text Format Typically any interpretive signage should not have more than 300 words per sign, providing information on one theme, supported with five or fewer messages (see above). The theme should be obvious, and its supported ideas clear (Carter 2001, 4344; Cross 1998, 12). Similarly, text needs to use specific standards for typeface. Even though there are no firm rules on this issue, the typeface should be visible and readable; its point size might range between 24 and 40 (according to the context whether it is a theme title, headings, etc.). The typeface must be readable from a distance of at least one meter and often further. Generally serif and san-serif typeface are used in outdoor interpretive signage because of their high clarity and readability (Aplin 2002, 43; Veverka 1994, 113; Zehr 1991, 20-21) (See Appendix 6). Language(s) Effective interpretive signage should not be written in more than two languages. The local language, of course, should be the main one, along with one other language, determined according to the majority of visitors in a particular place. However, bilingual signs should be considered carefully, since using two languages can mean duplication of costs and words, and possibly graphics as well (Serrell 1996, 101).


Shape and size of interpretive signage There is no standard shape or size for interpretive signage. However, there are some general guidelines that can be used to make signage more durable, attractive and interpretive. Rectangular signage (c 0.90 x 0.60m) is strongly recommended, and commonly used, as being more pleasing to the eye (Drew 2001, 17; Diment 1998, 4). Material and maintenance The range of available materials for interpretive signage should be identified during the planning process. Local materials are often preferable, as they are more likely to match the native environment and its vernacular distinctiveness. Choosing signage materials (metal, fibreglass, aluminium, etc.) should be based on local circumstances, either in terms of physical environment, or human and financial resources. It is recommended that all interpretive signs should be constructed of durable materials, with a life of at least five years. These materials should be maintainable, costeffective, corrosion and vandal resistant, and so forth (Davis 2003; Carter 2001, 43; Diment 1998, 4) (see Appendices 7- 8). Since signage materials are generally vulnerable and deteriorate, planners should set up general guidelines, illustrating what procedures are needed to alleviate its deterioration and estimating how long it will last in site (Davis 2003; Veverka 1998, 6). Thus the decision of signage material must consider: long term maintenance requirements; budget limitations; life expectancy; cost benefits of the various materials; graphics requirements including the use of colours (Drew 2001, 13)


The effectiveness of interpretive signage, however, is not only dependent upon the quality of the signage itself, but also on the quality and quantity of visitor facilities at a certain place. If the interpretive signage is excellent, but other facilities (such as parking, catering and lavatories) are poor, unsafe and/or uncomfortable, this will have a detrimental effect on visitors image of the place: visitors will stop paying attention to interpretive services and instead switch attention to meeting their psychological and physical needs (Uzzell 1998, 249; Veverka 1994, 15).

Step 5: Implementation and evaluation

Implementation The main purpose of this step is to provide the planning process with a blueprint as to how the interpretive signage plan is going to be implemented, in light of current opportunities and constraints of a particular place (including human and financial resources). Phasing implementation into a number of stages, with a wide range of alternatives, is strongly recommended to overcome the lack of resources (Veverka 1994, 78). Evaluation This is an important step in the interpretive signage process. It examines whether or not interpretive messages are getting across to visitors, and whether the plans objectives are being accomplished. Interpretive signage is relatively inflexible, in terms of evaluation and it does not allow visitors to provide immediate feedback: consequently, it needs to be much more accurate than other interpretative techniques (Uzzell 1998, 187-188). There are three evaluative criteria used to appraise interpretive signage:


1. Front-end evaluation: mostly used in the early stages of the planning process to understand target audiences and their needs. For example, from where they come and what they expect. 2. Formative evaluation: typically undertaken at the design stage, in order to examine the efficacy of a particular interpretive technique. It is much more targeted towards understanding how specific interpretative activities will work. Most often it uses mock-ups or prototypes to gain audience feedback, such as testing a map in order to check if visitors can use it, before printing a final version. 3. Summative evaluation: examines the effectiveness of the programme after it has been completed, or already exists. It can inform managers as to whether objectives of the plan are being met; and whether the audience are getting key message, etc. (Serrell 1996, 133-137; Moscardo 1999, 102) There are various techniques that can be used in these reviews, such as readability and comprehension tests, questionnaires, interviews, focus group, etc (Serrell 1996, 137146). The selection of techniques should be based on the purpose of a specific research and its evaluation criteria.


Chapter Three: Planning interpretive signage for Hishams Palace: a case study
Introduction This chapter develops an interpretive signage plan for Hishams Palace (see fig 3.1), within an interpretive planning model (fig. 3.2) that is based upon the planning framework discussed in the previous chapter, adapted to fit specific local conditions. Hishams Palace does not yet have a conservation plan, or statements of significance, which would ideally have provided an understanding the needs of the place, and the requirements of its visitors. To compensate for this, within the context of this project, a sample of stakeholders and visitors to the site were consulted through two questionnaires. These were targeted to: 1. Assess the existing interpretive signage at the site. 2. Elicit input for new signage. In addition, the results of previous research undertaken on the site place were compiled to create an interpretive signage plan.
Figure 3.1: Geographical location of Hishams Palace,(modified from http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/cia02/west_bank_sm02.gif)


Implementation plan

Objectives and goals

Inventory and evaluation of resources

Inventory of cultural evidence

Evaluation of existing signage, visitors and stakeholders

Establishing a theme and its supportive messages

Establishing interpretive signage

Evaluation, implementation and maintenance

(Figure 3.2 : interpretive signage planning model for Hishams Palace)

Objectives and goals

The main objective of this case study is to develop a planning model to improve the quality and quantity of the interpretive signage at Hishams Palace. This will be explored by: o o Examining the effectiveness of existing interpretive signage. Proposing new interpretive signage that might increase knowledge gain and comprehension. o Enhancing visitor experience through creating new thematic and meaningful interpretive signage.


Increasing the public awareness of cultural heritage values of Hishams Palace.

Developing an interpretive programme and service convenient for all types of visitors.

Inventory and evaluation of site resources

Inventory of cultural evidence This step includes two main components: the historical background and a survey of the sites main features. Historical background Hishams Palace is one of the most significant early Islamic monuments in Palestine, built between 724-743 A.D, during Umayyad dynasty. It is located approximately two kilometres north of Jericho, at Khirbet al-Mafjar

(Bouchian 1999, 115). Excavations during 1930s and 1940s exposed the luxury and lavishness of the palace (Hamdan et al 2000, 10). Without doubt, Hishams Palace shows a considerable development of

architectural and artistic talent during the early Islamic era.

Figure 3.3: A plan of the main features of Hishams Palace (modified from Hamdan 2003)


The complex contains a palace, a bath, a mosque, and a public forecourt (see fig.3.3), reflecting the Umayyads luxurious standard of living and their political and tribal power (FSTC 2002). In decorative terms, the palace gathered the most exquisite forms of architectural dcor, from polychrome mosaic floors, frescos, and marble to stucco decorated walls and geometric and vegetal representation (Hamilton 1977, 762764; FSTC 2002). Perhaps the most important of these are the six lobed (pointed) rosettes and octagons that appear in different features throughout the complex. Hishams Palace represents a unique example of the depiction of humans and animals in Umayyad decorative art (FSTC 2002). Archaeological investigations indicate that the baths were the only part of the complex that had been completed and was in use, before the destruction of the site by an earthquake in 749 A.D (Bouchain 1999, 117). Main features of the site For the purpose of this paper, the main features of Hishams Palace were identified by consultations with stakeholders, especially those who have a direct relationship with the site, such as, department of Antiquities, Municipality of Jericho, and so on (see appendix 10) and through consideration of its historical and archaeological record. Four main features (with numerous sub-features) were identified: Palace Baths Mosque Ornamental pool


The palace The palace was a square, twostoried building, constructed

around an internal porticoed courtyard, and set within a boundary wall with protruding towers. Its entrance was in the west wall of the forecourt, which was decorated with finely

Figure 3.4: General view of the palace

sculpted niches. The palace included an audience hall, a small internal mosque, and an underground bath (Hamilton 1977, 755-757). Currently three features stand out: a circular rose window, a private mosque, and the underground bath or Sirdab. The baths complex The complex consists of a domed porch, a hall or frigidarium, a small reception room, a series of bathing rooms, and a latrine. The baths are one of the largest Islamic baths ever built, with possibly the largest continuous mosaic surface of ancient times. The fine mosaic panels have remarkable geometric, vegetal, and other designs and motifs, and make it the most attractive feature on the site (Bouchain 1999, 116-117; Hamilton 1997, 757).
Figure 3.5: Diwans Mosaic floor


The dominating features of the bath are the frigidarium and the reception room Diwan). The frigidarium is a square hall, with sixteen massive piers (reconstructed during 1960s), which originally supported the baths domed roof. Each of its sides has of three curves, used for placing statutes. The Diwan, however, is the most lavishly decorated, not only at the bath, but also among all over the palace components: the walls were decorated with stucco and the floor was paved with a wonderful polychrome mosaic, known with the life tree, containing the scene of a lion pouncing upon unsuspecting gazelles grazing under a tree (Hamdan et al 2000, 10; Bouchain 1999, 116-117). The mosque This is a rectangular building, lying close to the north side of the palace, and built as an open-air mosque. The area immediately in front of the niche (mihrab) was covered by a portico, supported by columns (Hamilton 1977, 757). Ornamental pool A square pool, in the centre of the forecourt, supplied by a central
Figure 3.6: The mosque

fountain and covered by an octagonal pavilion, decorated with stucco and sculptured relief figures (Hamilton 1977, 757).
Figure 3.7: reconstruction of the ornamental pool


Evaluation of existing interpretive signage, visitors and stakeholders The effectiveness of existing interpretive signage at Hishams Palace was assessed by undertaking a review of existing signage (from a summative and front-end evaluation) and through results of previous research (undertaken at the site). The former methods were used as criteria to assess the effectiveness of the existing interpretive signage, and to get input from stakeholders and visitors to help inform any upgrading or replacement of the signage. This work was carried out through two questionnaires: one for site visitors and another for its stakeholders (see Appendices 11-12). Both questionnaires were distributed to visitors and stakeholders for a month (June 2003). Due to the unstable political situation in Palestine, these questionnaires were delivered to both visitors and stakeholders through the Internet. Some stakeholders were also engaged through telephone-interviews (see Appendix 10). Critical review of existing signage Currently there are two types of metal interpretative signs used at Hishams Palace: introductory and orientation signage. A single introductory sign is used to interpret the entire site: it is placed vertically, standing 1.7m high, close to the main entrance of the palace complex. As seen from the photograph (right), the sign is bilingual (Arabic and English), with white letters on brown background Unfortunately, and the without date of illustrations. the palaces
Figure 3.8: existing introductory sign at Hishams Palace


construction is different in the two languages. Furthermore, the signages mounting system is not comfortable for either viewing or reading. The orientation signage is used without any clear system. They are marked with either white arrows, or with feature names, on a black background. The signage has often been employed to function as feature signage, rather than orientation. This signage does not conform to the standards for effective interpretive signage as set out in Chapter 2, and this reflects the results of P.I.S.A project (integrated planning in the archaeological sites: it was one of EuorMediterranean cultural heritage projects, undertaken at eight countries in the Mediterranean region between 1998-2000. Hishams Palace was used, among other sites in Jericho, as a case study for this project) which suggested that the interpretative signage at Hishams Palace lacked the quality and quantity to be effective (Hamdan et al 2000, 80). Evaluation of visitors and stakeholders of Hishams Palace Following the discussion of Chapter 2, this section will include three components: profile of visitors to Hishams Palace analysis of the results of the visitor questionnaire analysis of the results of the stakeholder questionnaire
Figure 3.9: Orientation signage at Hishams Palace


Profile of visitors to Hishams Palace According to results of P.I.S.A. project, in the period between 1996 and 1999 approximately 45,000 visitors annually visited Hishams Palace (Hamdan et al 2000, 77-78). Local people constituted the majority of visitors (see fig 3.10), indicating that the target audience of Hishams Palace interpretation should be local visitors.

35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 Ger Jap It Sp Ho Fr Other Pal USA UK

1996 1997 1998 1999

Pal: Palestinian USA: American Ger: German Fr: French It: Italian Sp: Spanish UK: British Ho: Holland Jap: Japan

Figure 3.10: Profile of visitors Hishams Palace (Adapted from Hamdan et al 2000, 77)

Results of visitor questionnaire analysis Visitors to the site completed 44 questionnaires during June 2003. Table 3.1 summarizes the results of these.
Questions While you were exploring the site, did you read its interpretive signage? Do you enjoy reading the signage? Do you find the signage easy to read? Do you like its colours? Do you feel that you easily established the main message(s) interpretive signage was trying to tell you? Do you think the signage was sufficiently interpretive? Do you think the signage was overloaded with information? Do you think its text includes too many technical terms? Do you think the signage was well designed? Do you think the signage was Lacked of sufficient illustrations? Do you think the number of existing signage sufficient to interpret the site? Responses Yes 40 (91%) 19 (43%) 36 (82%) 22 (50%) 36 (82%) 7 (16%) 10 (23%) 19 (43%) 12 (28%) 42 (95%) 6 (14%)

No 4 (9%) 25 (57%) 8 (18%) 22 (50%) 8 (18%) 37 (84%) 34 (77%) 25 (57%) 32 (72%) 2 (5%) 38 (86%)


Questions How much time did you spend at Hishams Palace on this visit?

Are you Student? Is your age between 10-18, or more than 18?
Table 3.1: Results of the visitor questionnaire analysis

Responses 25 (57%) spent between 1-2 hours 19 (43%) spent less than 1 hour 33(75%) were students 15(25%) were not students 44 (100%) more than 18

Results of stakeholder questionnaire analysis Stakeholders (including professionals and decision makers of the site) completed 13 questionnaires during June 2003. Table 3.2 summarizes the results of these.
Questions Do you consider the current interpretive signage at Hishams Palace good enough to interpret the site? How do you feel about the current signage? How many key ideas do you get from current signage? Do you suggest? - Leaving the signage as it is - Partially changing it - Totally changing it What do think are the main sites and/or cultural heritage features that should be included in the interpretation of Hishams Palace? What are the principal messages (themes) that the visitor should remember after leaving the site? Responses o 11 (85%) said no o 2 (15%) said yes o o o o o 12 (92%) said its quality was very poor. 12 (92%) claimed there was little information 9 (69%) reported few technical terms 10 (77%) got one idea from the signage 3 (23%) got none

o 12 (92%) suggested total change o 1 (8%) suggested partial change

What type(s) of interpretive media do you think would be suitable for interpreting the site?

What kind of signage do you think would be most suitable for the site?

o 11 (85%) said the palace, the bath, the mosque, and the ornamental pool o 2 (15%) added to above features the water system, and the service area (out of the compound). o 8 (62%) said the site should be interpreted as an example of the prosperity of early Islamic art and architecture. o 4 (30%) said the interpretation should show the early Islamic stratigraphy and its relationship with other civilizations. o 1(8%) said that the interpretation should underline the early Islamic techniques of using mosaic and stucco. o 11 (85%) strongly recommended using signage o 2 (15%) recommended using guided tours and brochures o 12 (92%) strongly recommended using brochures along with signage o 12 (92%) strongly recommended avoiding reconstruction as an interpretive media o 9 (69%) said metal signage is the most convenient for the site o 4 (31%) said mosaic signage is the most convenient


Questions How many languages do you think the signage should be written? What kind of mounting system would you consider the best?

Do you think the signage should be equipped with lighting system (to be lighted at night)? What media do you think should be used to best communicate with visitors?

for the site Responses o 10 (77%) said Arabic and English o 3 (23%) said Arabic, English and Hebrew o 3 (23%) said upstanding signage (mounted on two posts) o 8 (62%) said lectern signage (mounted on two posts) o 2 (15%) said lectern signage (mounted on one post) o 7 (54%) thought the signage should not be lighted. o 6 (46%) thought it should be lighted o 12 (92%) strongly recommended using a combination of text, reconstruction drawings, and maps o 1 (8%) strongly recommended using a combination of text and maps o 9 (69%) advocated wider interpretation strategies o 4 (31%) advocated interpreting the site as an individual archaeological site

Do you think the interpretation of this site? Should the site be part of a wider interpretation strategy? OR Should the site be interpreted as an individual archaeological landscape?

Table 3.2: Results of the stakeholder questionnaire analysis

The information gained from the questionnaires sheds new light on the issues of the quality and quantity of the interpretive process at the palace. A clear message is that the current interpretive signage at this site is considered to be ineffective as an interpretative medium. It is suggested that it should be replaced, by new well-planned system, presenting the site in a more thematic and meaningful way.

Establishing a theme and supporting messages

On the basis of the planning steps in this chapter, and the results of the questionnaires, the interpretative theme for Hishams Palace might be the architectural and artistic splendour of the early Islamic era. This theme should be worded clearly and supported with three to five messages, which jointly form the content of the interpretive signage throughout the site. A combination of text, photographs, maps, and illustrations is suggested. The messages could be:


1. The palace shows the Umayyads considerable architectural and decorative talents. 2. The design and layout of the palace reflects the nature of the early Islamic regime, which linked between the politics, religion and public. 3. The palace represents an elaborate use of a mixture of architectural dcor, extending from mosaic floors to stucco decoration, with geometrical and vegetal representation. 4. The palace has high quality Islamic architectural and artistic features, such as the six lobed (pointed) rosettes, octagons, circular rose windows and the depiction of humans and animals in decorative art. 5. The palace shows considerable influence from other cultures, mainly Sasanian and Byzantine. The stakeholder survey suggests that various interpretive strategies (regional, national, and local) should be used for interpreting this site. The above theme and supportive messages can be used to serve these strategies as follows: For the regional interpretive strategy Hishams Palace can be presented as one of Umayyad palaces in Syrian-Jordanian-Palestinian desert. For the national interpretive strategy the palace can be interpreted as a good example of early Islamic artistic and architectural monument in Palestine. For the local interpretive strategy the palace can be presented as an example of the prosperity of early Islamic period in Jericho district.

Establishing interpretive signage

The philosophy of developing new interpretive signage for Hishams Palace will be based on: The standards of effective interpretive signage discussed in Chapter 2


The results of the visitor and stakeholder evaluation And, take into consideration the local conditions of Hishams Palace, such as its cultural significance, physical and financial circumstances, and local distinctiveness.

This section will attempt to highlight the issues that are related directly to the locality of this site, in signage design, placement, etc. (see Table 3.3); general standards were detailed in Chapter 2. Recommended guidelines for interpretive signage at Hishams Palace
Item Recommendation and description of use Based on


Chapter 2 See Appendices 7-8 Metal signage is the most convenient for this site because of its durability, cost-effectiveness, resistance to weathering, fading, vandalism, capability to include texts, graphics, etc. Rectangular shapes are visually more pleasing to the eye. Lectern signage is preferable since it is much less obtrusive than upright signs at archaeological sites. There is no firm standard size for signage to be followed. However, some scholars prefer the size 900x600mm, which is commonly used. Free standing signage can be easily sited as irreversible intervention at this site. It is safer and stronger if it is mounted upon two posts. Using lectern signage is more comfortable for seated/ standing adults, children, and disabled visitors than up standing ones.

Signage Material


See page 45


Rectangular lectern

See page 46

See page 25 & Appendix 9


Fitting with the size of interpreted features and its landscape.

See page 25, 33 & Appendix 9

Mounting and placement

- Should use free standing lectern signage, mounting upon two posts accommodating all categories of visitors. - It should be deliberately placed subservient to the landscape without dominating views and avoiding direct sunshine.

See page 46

Page 25 & Appendix 9



Recommendation and description of use

Based on


Chapter 2 See page 32 Since most visitors are locals, Arabic should be the first language for the signage. English speaking visitors are the second largest group at the site. Since these signs will not be shaded, they will be more readable if light letters are used on a dark background. These typefaces are commonly used in interpretive signage due to their high clarity and readability.


Bilingual: Arabic and English

See page 46


White letters on brown background regardless of the language.

See pages 31-32 & Appendix 5


Graphics, maps, other illustrations

Serif for main English text and san-serif for titles and headings, ranging between 24-36 point. - Traditional Arabic typeface for the main text and its headings with the same point as English text. Colourful graphics and maps should be used so as to make the theme more readable and easy to get across.

See page 32 & Appendix 5

See page 32 & Appendix 5


The signage should reflect the local spirit of Jericho either in the design or in the context.

See pages 32-33

Mostly using graphics, coloured maps, etc. makes signage more readable and attractive, communicating with visitors not only by reading but also by seeing, giving them a visual image about the site. Locality of Hishams palace can be reflected through design, language, interpretive theme and messages.

Table 3.3: Interpretive signage guidelines for Hishams Palace

Specific objectives and purposes of new interpretive signage The main task of this signage is to present the sites story through its dominating features, to attract the visitors attention and strongly reflect its significance. Therefore, as has been repeatedly outlined, this signage should be designed as part of the site, consistent with its integrity, minimising its visual intrusion, and serving as


the best way for conveying its messages and inspiring its visitors. In this light, the main objectives of the signage will be: o The majority of visitors should be able to recognize Hishams Palace as a unique example of early Islamic artistic and architectural development. o The majority of visitors should be able to understand the role of the mosque in the early political Islamic regime. o The majority of visitors should be able to notice the animals and human depictions in the mosaic floors and stucco decoration. o The majority of visitors should be able to recognize the mixture and coexistence of different artistic and architectural material. o The majority of visitors should be surprised to see various polychrome mosaic floors and stucco decorations. o The majority of visitors should feel a sense of pride that this artistic and architectural treasure has been preserved to illustrate the Umayyad architectural splendour. o The majority of visitors should be aware of the importance of the conservation efforts needed to preserve this unique asset. All the above objectives have been designed to be measurable criteria, so that they can be used to examine the effectiveness of the interpretive signage and to ensure whether that these objectives are being achieved. According to Veverka when you have the panel text and graphics working at a 70% or greater level of objective accomplishment - then send it out for final production (Veverka 1998, 6). Thus the figure of 70% can be used to gauging the effectiveness of interpretive signage.


Proposed interpretive signage In this stage four types of interpretive signage will be proposed for Hishams Palace: Orientation Introductory Sub-introductory Feature.

Numbers are assigned to every proposed sign, with its location indicated on the site plan (fig. 3.10).

Figure 3.11: placement of new signage (modified from Hamdan 2003)

Orientation signage Orientation signage should include coloured maps, plans and/or symbols, presenting the main features of the site and its landscape.


Sign Map no.1: this will be the first sign at Hishams Palace, placed close to the entrance, showing the relationship of this site with the other major Palestinian cities, including Jericho, Jerusalem, and Ramallah. Essentially the aim of this sign is to give the visitor a sense of the location of the site through linking it with the well-known Palestinian cities.

Sign Map no. 2: this should be placed close to the entrance and cover the dominating features of the site. The aim of this sign is to give the visitor an overview, presenting the whole picture of complex, helping them to understand the layout of the site and subsequently connect its various components.

Arrows signage: these, marked with white arrows against a brown background, will be sited at appropriate points to direct visitors to the interpreted features at the site.

Names signage: this type of sign will be used to include the names of some features that are important, so as to help the visitor to understand the different components of the site.

Introductory signage One introductory sign will be used (no.3) to conveying the main interpretative theme, using a combination of text, illustrations and reconstruction drawings. The main text should not be more than 200 words in each language. This sign should be sited at an appropriate place between the main entrance and the entrance to the palace, so as to enable the visitor to view the site at a comfortable perspective. Sub-introductory signage At Hishams Palace this signage technique should be used as a mediator between the general theme and its specific supportive messages. Two sub-introductory signs


should be used: one close to the east entrance of the palace (no.4), and the other before the south entrance to the baths complex (no.7).

Interpretive feature signage This type of signage conveys precise message(s) and presents the specific value(s) of a particular feature. At Hishams Palace this signage will be used to provide visitors with one or two messages about a given feature, chosen from above listed of supportive messages of the sites theme. These messages should relate to the general theme, although every sign should have the ability to communicate its message(s) independently, taking into consideration that non-captive audience might read them out of order (see Chapter 2). The text of every sign should not have more than 150 words in each language, with supporting reconstruction drawings and plans. The palace Sign no.5: placed close to the circular rosette window to provide the visitor with the fifth supportive message, through text and reconstruction, showing its location at the facade of the second floor. Sign no.6: sited close to the entrance of the sirdab, addressing its function and conveying the third supportive message of the theme. The baths Sign no.8: an appropriate spot in the frigidarium, conveying parts of the fourth supportive message. Sign no.9: erected outside the bath complex, close to the north-west side of the reception room, demonstrating the first and fourth supportive message. Sign no.10: sited at an appropriate spot close to the furnace, demonstrating its function and relationship with the bath.


The mosque Sign no.11: placed at a suitable location in front of the mihrab, presenting the third supportive message, and illustrating its function and role in the early Islamic regime. The ornamental pool Sign no.12: sited close to the monument, reflecting the fourth and first supportive messages.

Evaluation, implementation and maintenance

Evaluation As it has been stated, the planning process should not be an end in itself, but rather a dynamic process with effective criteria to assess its impact and to improve and update its products (Alderson and Low 1987, 22). In doing so, it is preferable to use evaluation criteria, and mock-ups technique during the planning process, to examine whether the planned signage is likely to work, before implementing expensive signage. Such step can also allow visitors and local residents to contribute their ideas to the design, before producing the final version. Summative evaluation is also highly recommended, to ensure that whether the signage is meeting its objectives. Using such evaluation criteria may reveal issues that need further refinement, or that could not have been anticipated earlier. Implementation The implementation of any interpretive signage plan always depends on the quality and quantity of available human and financial resources. Splitting the implementation process into phases may help the decision-makers of Hishams Palace to overcome such circumstances.


Maintenance Although it is important to choose durable, vandal and fade resistance signage for Hishams Palace, monitoring issues are also extremely important. Maintenance should be part of an overall maintenance programme, to ensure a prolonged life-span for the signage, with replacement whenever required.


Interpretive signage is one of the most important media for both site and visitor management, used for conveying interpretive messages and inspiring visitors, keeping them on designated routes, out of vulnerable areas, for promoting heritage-friendly behaviour, and for avoiding damage and injury (Aplin 2002, 43). One cannot consider interpretive signage without equal thought to the entire planning and management process at a particular site, including its conservation and management plan, statement of significance, stakeholders, visitors, interpretative programmes and services. This research project has focused on key components to planning a successful interpretive signage programme. In Chapter 1, the importance of a holistic interpretive approach was highlighted; a crucial foundation for any interpretive planner before starting to develop an interpretive plan for a given site. It explored the issues of interpretive definitions, uses, debates, principles, and planning. Tildens definitions and principles of interpretation were outlined as the most influential literature in interpretation theory. Also this chapter attempted to demonstrate different uses of interpretation that are often utilized to serve political and self objectives. In Chapter 2, a planning model for interpretive signage was outlined as an ideal planning approach for archaeological sites. Basic considerations and guidelines for preparing effective and thematic interpretive signage were established through five ingredients: identifying measurable objectives; establishing main themes and supportive messages; understanding intended audiences; exploring interpretive techniques; and the process of implementation and evaluation. The principle objective of this model was not only to interpret cultural values of a particular site, as identified in its conservation and management policies, but also to understand the physical and psychological characteristics of target audiences, including their capability to process


interpretive messages and the ways they learn and absorb these messages. This led to identifying an obvious theme supported by fewer than five messages, conveying the main story of the site and matching this to the needs of a non-captive audience. In addition, to make sure the interpretive objectives will be achieved, this model uses two levels of design: conceptual and artistic. The conceptual design should be developed before the artistic in order to yield not only attractive, but also interpretive and meaningful signage. Moreover, it includes crucial criteria to gauge the effectiveness of the interpretive signage, either as a technique, or before, during and after the planning process. The real value of this approach is to strengthen and add a new dimension to planning principles and practice at archaeological sites. The steps outlined in Chapter 2 can be used and adapted to fit local conditions of a particular site. As good planning practice, Chapter 3 tested the model, adapting it to fit the local conditions of Hishams Palace. Accordingly, an implementation interpretive signage plan was established, including an interpretive programme with one theme and five supportive messages, with twelve planned interpretive signs. These signs were proposed as an example for interpreting the entire site, designed to suit most categories of visitors, and to be attractive, provocative, interpretive, thematic, memorable and meaningful, conveying the story and messages of the place. The case study helped to emphasize two key points: The necessity to consider all the cultural values, and the main physical features, of a given archaeological place when preparing an interpretive plan, and understanding their conditions before implementation. The importance of involving stakeholders and visitors in the planning process, identifying their needs and pre-existing knowledge regarding cultural values in order to produce a realistic and workable interpretive plan.


Finally, I would like to end this paper with the words of Bob Jones on the preparation of interpretive signage: see your panel as others see it! Put yourself in the mind of the user, leave your own baggage to one side and dont hesitate to start again. Better still, do some pre-testing with cheap laser-print (Jones 1998, 10).


Alderson, W, and S, Low 1987. Interpretation of historic sites. Nashville: American Association for State and Local History. Aplin, G, 2002. Heritage: Identification, Conservation, and management. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Australia ICOMOS, 2003. Draft guidelines for the assessment of heritage planning applications[online] http://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/plan_guide_n.html [27/06/2003]. Ballantyne, R, Hughes, K, and G, Moscardo 2002. Interpretive signage principles and practice [online] http://www.interpretivesigns.qut.edu.au/signs_construction/strengths.html [13/07/03] Bouchain, J, 1999. Endangered cultural heritage in the west bank governorates. Ramallah, MOPIC. Carter, J, (ed), 2001. A Sense of Place: an interpretive planning handbook [online] www.scotinterpnet.org.uk [18/6/2003]. Cross, S, 1998. The tip of the iceberg, Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 3, 12-13. Davis, K, 2003. Components of an interpretive station, sign, or label [online] http://www.sfasu.edu/ag/arboretum/pgm/signage/Signage-6.htm [2003, 24/06/ 2003] Diment, N, 1998. Not another boring panel!, Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 3, 3-4.


Drew, G, 2001. Guidelines for producing Outdoor interpretive signage [online] http://www.coastal.southaustralia.com/new/documents/Sign%20manual.pdf , [23/06/03]. FSTC 2002. Khirbet al-Mafjar [online] http://ic.ucsc.edu/~langdale/arth139/khirbet.htm [05/07/03]. Gertsch, F, 2000. Compliance with Wilderness Campsite Closure Techniques: Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada [online] http://www3.sympatico.ca/fgertsch/PDFversion.html [02/07/03]. Hall, C and S, McArthur 1998. Integrated heritage management: principle and practice. London: The Stationary Office. Ham, S, 1992. Environmental interpretation: A practical guide for people with big ideas and small budgets. Golden: North American Press. Hamdan, O, 2003. A plan of Hishams palace. Unpublished work, al-Fenon Engineering office, Ramallah. Hamdan, O, Zawawi, Z, and S, Zaina 2000. Research action, Jericho case study: final report [online] http://www.pisanet.org/pagina.asp?num=360andlang=1 [05/07/03].

Hamilton, R, 1977. Al-Mafjar, Khirbet, in M Avi-Yonah and E Stern(eds), Encyclopoidia of archaeological excavations in the holy land, 754-765. Jerusalem: Israel exploration society and Massada press. Harpers Ferry Centre 2000. Comprehensive interpretive planning [online] http://www.nps.gov/hfc/pdf/cip-guideline.pdf [ 28/06/03]. Howard, P, 2003. Heritage: management, interpretation, identity. London: Continuum. IAA 2003. What is interpretation? [online] http://www.interpretationaustralia.asn.au/aboutwhatis.htm[25/06/03]


Jones, B, 1998. Rules of engagement: the forest experience, Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 3, 11. Kerr, J, 1996. The conservation Plan: A Guide to the Preparation of Conservation Plans for Places of European Cultural Significance. Sydney: National Trust of Australia (NSW). Lewis, W, 1980. Interpreting for park visitors. Philadelphia, Eastern Acorn Press. Lowenthal, D, 1985. The past is a foreign country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Masters, D, 2002. Writing interpretation[online] http://www.snh.org.uk/wwo/Interpretation/pdf/writing.pdf [23/06/2003]. McVerry, J, 2001. Interpretation: a magnificent conservation tool? Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 6, 8-11. Miller, G, 2003. The magical of number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information [online] http://www.ti.et-inf.uni-

siegen.de/Lehre/OOS/The%20Magical%20Number%20Seven.pdf [28/06/03]. Moscardo, G, 1999. Making visitors mindful: Principles for creating quality sustainable visitor experiences through effective communication. Champaign, IL: Sagamore. Pearson, M, and S, Sullivan 1999. Looking after heritage places: the basics of heritage planning for managers, Landowners, and administrators. Victoria: Melbourne University Press. Serrell, B, 1996. Exhibit labels: an interpretive approach. Oxford: Altamira Press. Sivan, R, 1997. The presentation of archaeological sites, in M De la Torre (ed), The conservation of archaeological sites in the Mediterranean Region, 51-59. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. Skeates, R, 2000. Debating the Archaeological Heritage. London: Gerald Duckworth.


Sullivan, S, 1997. A planning model for the management of archaeological sites, in M De la Torre (ed), The conservation of archaeological sites in the Mediterranean Region, 15-26. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. Taylor, R, 2001. Foreword: what is sustainable tourism? Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 6, 3-4. Tilden, F, 1977. Interpreting our heritage. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. University of Texas 2003 [online] http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/cia02/west_bank_sm02.gif [18.07.003] Upitis, A, 1989. Interpreting cross-cultural sites, in D Uzzell (ed), Heritage interpretation: the natural and built environment, 153-160, vol. 1. London: Belhaven Press. Uzzell, D, 1989. Introduction: the Visitor experience, in D Uzzell (ed), Heritage interpretation: the natural and built environment, 1-15 vol. II. London: Belhaven Press. Uzzell, D, 1998. Planning for interpretive experiences, in D Uzzell and R Ballantyne: Contemporary issues in heritage and environmental interpretation: problems and prospects, 232-252. London: The Stationary Office. Veverka, J, 1994. Interpretive Master Planning: for parks, historic sites, forests, zoos and related tourism sites. Montan: Falcon Press Publishing. Veverka, J, 1998. Planning truly interpretive panels, Interpretation: a journal of heritage and environmental interpretation, 3, 5-7. Washburne, P, and J, Wagar 1972. Evaluating visitor response to exhibit content, Curator, 15, 248-254.


Woods, B, Moscardo, G, and T, Greenwood 1998. A critical review of readability and comprehensibility tests, Journal of Tourism Studies, 9, 49-61. Zehr, J, Gross, M, Heintzman, J, and R, Zimmerman 1991. Creating Environmental Publications: A Guide to Writing and Designing for Interpreters and Environmental Educators. Stevens Point, WI: UW-SP Foundation Press.


Appendices Appendix 1: Definitions of interpretation

The communication process which aims at helping people to discover the significance of things, places, people and eventshelping people change the way they perceive themselves and their world through a greater understanding of the world and themselves. Colonial Williamsburg USDA A planned effort to create for the visitor an understanding of the history and significance of events, people, and objects with which the site is associated. Interpretation is both program and an activity. The program establishes a set of objectives for the things we want our visitors to understand; the activity has to do with the skills and techniques by which the understanding is created. Alderson and Low Interpretation is how people communicate the significance of cultural and natural resources. It instils understanding and appreciation. It helps develop a strong sense of place. It presents an array of informed choices on how to experience the resource. Paskowski The process of stimulating and encouraging an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage and communicating nature conservation ideals and practice. Queensland National Parks and Wildelife Services Creating an experience or situation in which individuals are challenged to think about and possibly make decisions concerning natural resources. Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation USA

(Source Hall and McArthur,1998)


Appendix 2: levels of planning in archaeological heritage places


Appendix 3: Guidelines for better message text

1. Interpretation contributes directly to the enrichment of visitor experiences; 2. Interpretation makes visitors aware of their place in the total environment and gives them a better understanding of the complexities of coexisting with that environment; 3. Interpretation may broaden the visitors horizons beyond the park or forest boundary, giving a greater understanding of the total natural resources picture; 4. Interpretation informs the public and an informed public may make wiser decisions on matters related to natural resources management; 5. Interpretation may reduce the unnecessary destruction of park property, resulting in lower maintenance and replacement costs; 6. Interpretation provides a means of moving people subtly from sensitive areas to sites that can better sustain heavy human impact, thus protecting the natural environment; 7. Interpretation is a way to improve public image and establish public support; 8. Interpretation may instil in visitors a sense of pride in their country or in the regions culture or heritage; 9. Interpretation may assist in the successful promotion of parks where tourism is essential to an areas or countrys economy; 10. Interpretation may be effective in preserving a significant historic site or natural area by arousing citizen concern; and 11. Interpretation may motivate the public to take action to protect their environment in a sensible and ecological way.

(Source: Ham, 1992 as cited in Gertsch, 2000)


Appendix 4: Fifteen steps to more powerful sign text

1. Use theme titles, not topic titles. 2. When possible, build sub-themes into level II headings. 3. Limit your organization of the message in level II to five or fewer main ideas. The fewer the better. 4. Think visually: use illustrations or visual metaphors. 5. Limit the main copy in level II to the amount that could be read by an average reader in 45 to 60 seconds maximum (about 225 to 300 words). 6. Dont include transitions from one part of the text to another: readers dont always read the text in order. 7. Keep it simple and easy. Avoid having even one technical term in your text. Use as many one-syllable words as possible. 8. Limit sentence length to 10 to 15 words where possible. If the sentence is more than 22 words, cut it in two. 9. Use short paragraphs: two to three sentences is not too short. 10. Edit out passive tenses and substitute active verbs. 11. Put main clauses first in a sentence and subordinate clauses second. 12. Be personal. Use personal words as much as possible, and stay informal in tone. 13. Use bridging techniques. Brief examples, analogies, and comparisons will link your explanations to things viewers already know or care about. 14. Always think thematically even when writing texts for markers and regulatory signs. 15. Proofread and spell-check the text at least three times.

(Source: Ham, 1992 as cited in Gertsch, 2000)


Appendix 5. Artistic considerations in signage design


Signs must have defined space (boundaries). Use conspicuous lines or bars on one or more of the margins of the design. Keep a constant band of empty (void) space around the margins of the design. Paint or colour the outside edge of the exhibit. Use consistent type styles. Avoid using more than two different typefaces. Avoid signs with text in all caps, often even in titles. Use appropriate sizes for text. Use what looks right to determine spaces between letters. . Use1 times the width of the letter I as a guideline. Use one of two guidelines: space of the width of the capital letter M to space of the width of the lower case t. The maximum number of characters per line should be between 50 and 65.45,46 Space between words should be the same, rather than variable as in justified text. The space between lines varies with type styles, type sizes, line lengths, and intended viewing distances. Again, arrange the lines so as they look right in the same circumstances the audience will be viewing the sign. Keep the lettering style conservative and readable. The words on a sign are meant to be read and nothing more. Times New Roman and Helvetica typefaces are recommended.



Use a predominant colour through the sign. Choose colour combinations that make sense. Avoid using too many different colours in one design (one or two often enough). Typically, dark letters on a light background are easier to read that light letters on a dark background. The reverse is true in darker environments or at night. Use consistent shapes, either regular or irregular. Repeat predominant angles and lines in the design. Use variety, but dont mix a lot of different kinds of illustrations in the same design.





Create emphasis with conspicuous contrast in the sizes, shapes, and colours of design elements. Colours that contrast the most forcefully with the rest of the colour scheme will draw the most attention. When left and right sides of a sign are identical. Achieved by positioning dissimilar elements so that their visual weights compensate each other.


The topic may suggest a predominant starting colour: a point from which other colours for the exhibit can be selected. The predominant colours in the environment may suggest the first colour for the sign.

Make use of the predominant colours of something that is to be part of the exhibit or sign (e.g. photograph).

(Source: Ham, 1992 as cited in Gertsch, 2000)


Appendix 6. Readability and viewing distance

VIEWING DISTANCES and MINIMUM HEIGHTS OF LETTERS 0-1.5m 1.5-2 m 9m 18m TITLE 2cm 2.5 cm 10 cm 15 cm > 72 point > 96 point > 384 point > 576 point HEADINGS 1.3cm 2 cm 8 cm 13 cm >28 point > 72 point > 288 point > 480 point BODY TEXT 0.6 cm 1.3 cm 6 cm 10 cm > 24 point > 48 point > 192 point > 384 point CAPTIONS and 0.5 0.6 cm N/A N/A SPECIMEN >18 point > 24 point LABLES

(Source: Ham, 1992 as cited in Gertsch, 2000)



Appendix 7. Signage materials and comparative attributes

Sign Material cost Durability







Very high, no fade

Easy clean even paint



Yes, full range



High, may fade High Scratches

Wax the scratches Not easy







Need acrylic





High, will not fade, Scratches MediumHigh

Eyebrow Pencil Easy



Shades of grey Paint




= original


Medium (often Temporary) Medium scratch easily High

Replace easily



Yes (box)

Easy, cheap

Mediu m



Yes acrylic font Usual


Easy, cheap

Mediu m (Varie s)

Not easy



Expensive = original

(Source: Knudson, Cable, and Beck, 1995, as cited in Gertsch, 2000)



Appendix 8: Strengths and weaknesses of common sign materials

MATERIAL WOOD STRENGTHS - Blends with natural environment - Easy to construct - Can be individually shaped and carved - Can be painted - Ages well FIBREGLASS - Wide range of colours available - Good for detailed graphics - Can simulate natural features such as rock walls and stone - Cheap to make duplicates - Resistant to weathering and vandalism METAL - Resistant to fading and discolouration - Good for detailed graphics - Can reproduce black and white photos - Range of 'earthy' colours available - Resistant to weathering and vandalism PORCELAIN - Good for detailed graphics ENAMEL - Photographs can be reproduced - Wide range of colours available - Resistant to weathering and vandalism STONE - Good for black and white images - Good for detailed line art - Resistant to weathering and vandalism - Easy to maintain (Source: Ballantyne, Hughes and G. Moscardo 2002) WEAKNESSES - Easy to vandalise - Difficult to carve detailed graphics

Colours fade over time

- Expensive to duplicate - Reflects bright sunlight

- Expensive - Susceptible to chipping and subsequent rusting Natural contours may make words difficult to read


Appendix 9: Specification of effective signage

Item Mounting Specifications Angled at 40 degrees from the horizontal Set low with the bottom of the sign about 600 mm above the ground. This makes them easy for children to read as well. Located directly in front of the feature to be interpreted with a connection made with a photo or illustrations. Sited carefully so as not to interfere or obscure the view. Panel sizes generally range between A3 and A0 the most common size being 900x600 mm. Rectangular shaped panels which range between a 5 to 3 and 5 to 4 ratio are visually more pleasing to the eye. Include some form of interesting graphic in addition to text. Appropriate text sizes and styles. Break up text by using it as a caption to a photo or graphic. Dont clutter. Allow a constant band of void space around the margins of signs. Be creative in the use of colour. If restricted in the use of colour by cost or printing method consider the use of screens to give the impression of extra colour. Maintain consistency in design across a set of signs. Make sure the designer is familiar with the printing method to be used for the production of the sign.


Maps and Scale and north sign plans Plan should be laid out in same orientation as the proposed sign, i.e. if sign faces south then the plan should be drawn facing south so that people looking at the map are facing in the right direction. A YOU ARE HERE to enable the reader to locate themselves. Appropriate sized line thicknesses. Lettering of a modern simple style and appropriate size. Text Use a maximum of 150-200 words. Use simple and readable language that is commonly used in speech. Avoid technical terms and jargon. Arrange text in blocks or short paragraphs. Subheadings attract attention and allow readers to scan and find information of interest. Short sentences of 10-15 words are easier to read. Use active not passive verbs. Ask questions to make the text more interactive. Where possible try to refer to people in the text or illustrations. Text should be 24-36 point ( 7-10 mm high) and captions 18-20; point at final size. Proofread and check the final text many times using different readers. Check the text against standard readability tests.

(Source: Drew 2001)


Appendix 10: List of some main stakeholders of Hishams palace

Name Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities: - Department of National Park - Department of Antiquities - Department of Tourist Promotion - Department of Conservation Persons Dr. Hamdan Taha Mr. Walid Sharif Mr. Ihab Daud Miss Zahra Zawawi Mr. Awni Shawamri Mr. Atiya Sartawi Mr. Mohamad Diab Mr. Basel Hijazi Miss Samar Zaina Miss Carla Benelli

Municipality of Jericho

Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (CISS)

Mosaic workshop of Hishams palace Mr. Osama Hamdan Committee for tourist promotion in Jericho (President Mr. Sami Mosalam Office in Jericho) RIWAQ: Centre for Architectural Conservation Dr. Suad Amiry Dr. Nazmi Jubeh Mr. Baha Jubeh PACE: The Palestinian Association for Cultural Dr. Adel Yahya Exchange Studium Biblicum Francescanum Jerusalem University Father Piccirillo Dr. Marwan Abu Khalaf Dr. Issa Sari Dr. Yosif en-Natsha Dr. Hani Nor ed-deen