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An interpretive plan for the David Sayre Store & House Museum

Author: Anna Hope Huntley
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 2007.
Dissertation: A thesis project submitted to the Faculty of the State University of New York College at Oneonta at its Cooperstown Graduate Program in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, 2007.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
Historic house museums are in a state of crisis. Old models of interpretation struggle to meet the objectives and missions that guide these institutions. Many do not educate, do not entertain, and do not inspire. This lack of interest and investment in historic houses from the visiting public results in lowered visibility, attendance, revenue, and the consequential decline in care and maintenance of these houses and
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Genre/Form: Handbooks and manuals
Handbooks, manuals, etc
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Anna Hope Huntley
OCLC Number: 181087341
Credits: Advisor: Cynthia G. Falk.
Description: iii, 164, 6 leaves : illustrations (some color), maps ; 29 cm
Responsibility: Anna Hope Huntley.

Abstract:

Historic house museums are in a state of crisis. Old models of interpretation struggle to meet the objectives and missions that guide these institutions. Many do not educate, do not entertain, and do not inspire. This lack of interest and investment in historic houses from the visiting public results in lowered visibility, attendance, revenue, and the consequential decline in care and maintenance of these houses and their collections. In the face of this crisis the David Sayre Store and House Museum chose to break away from the traditional approaches to interpretation and use its small house museum as a learning laboratory.

To guide this new approach an interpretive plan had been created that focuses on the role played by landscapes and their impact on the identities of individuals. This theme of the interrelatedness of landscape and identity centers on the historic past of the house and its occupants, as well as each modern visitor who enters the space.

In order to create a framework that supports the learning laboratory, a variety of sources were drawn upon. Primary sources related to the Sayres and Milford include town records, newspapers, genealogical records, and oral histories recorded by amateur historian Ezra Stevens. The Sayre Store was the focus of a Masters Thesis done by Janna Rudler, of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, which drew on the account books kept by David L. Sayre. These primary sources, along with a huge array of topical secondary sources, served as the basis for the new interpretation of the Sayre House.

In addition to a process paper, which sketches the development of the plan, the final interpretive plan is divided into two workbooks. The Interpretive Workbook summarizes the vision that guides the interpretation and looks at the roles of tour guides and visitors in historic spaces. This workbook also outlines goals and objectives that will be met through interpretation. The Tour Workbook focuses on the tour content that will achieve the goals and objectives. It is organized in a room-by-room format that can easily be used by guides during a tour. Each workbook also contains an appendix with background source materials.

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