What is 'interpretation'? Broadly speaking, it is anything that help visitors make sense of the Museum and its collection. In a British Museum blog in 2017, Stuart Frost for the British Museum went further to write "it is more about encouraging visitors to actively engage". One example at Towneley in recent years has been active engagement specifically with small children through a mouse trail around the building.

Towneley is both a museum, an historic house and a civic venue, so interpretation involves not only the museum's collections but also the building and the family history. A taster of the museum's collections, the cabinet of curiosities is displayed in the museum shop. In the Entrance Passage the visitors are introduced to five figures from different historic periods who help to mark the route around the house, see Historical Interpretation.

In the Art Gallery there are labels for each object nearby on the wall but there are oil paintings on display in many of the the other rooms and corridors where labels on the walls would damage the wall paper or wood work, particularly in the Regency Rooms. Most rooms have room books for the visitors that provide basic information about the objects on view.

Author: tk - August 2016