Costumed interpreter with visitors in the Kitchen at Attingham Park, Shropshire. National Trust

Through five themed innovation groups involving forty diverse properties National Trust Midlands are developing more innovative practice in how we interpret our stories and places. Themes include; personal engagement, outdoor interpretation, resonance and relevance, renew and refresh and treasure houses. We are exploring how to embed human centred design process through Scratch (supported by Battersea Arts Centre) and rethinking our personal engagement with visitors, inspired by immersive theatre, performance, and new approaches to tours led by Museum Hack.  Our ambition is to be more innovative and creative in how we share our stories, to connect with visitors on a deeper level, to work collaboratively with audiences and gauge their emotional response – ambitions which chime with the Happy Museum project. A particular focus for us will be exploring what play means in a historic environment, what are the challenges and opportunities and how we can make our places more playful for all audiences. We hope the Happy Museum Affiliate Scheme will enable us to work much more closely with the wider heritage sector and through its networking and peer support, enable us to learn and share current practice.