The seventy-nine castles in the care of English Heritage Trust (EHT) are some of the most visually stunning and historically important in the world. In recent years, EHT has explored new ways of sharing the histories and stories of these properties with local communities and with domestic and international visitors.
This paper presents a review of these approaches, outlining the ways in which the Trust has applied different methodologies to castles within certain areas of operation, such as Interpretation; Digital Content; and Conservation. It assesses the self-reflection of EHT staff members from some of the organisation’s operations as to how certain strategies and approaches have met the expectations of both the EHT and its target audiences. It outlines approaches to sharing our passion for these properties which were not heavily reliant on significant monetary investment, for instance examining how to re-interpret castles in the context of a challenging economic climate. It assesses some of the philosophies behind the decisions made as well.
These reflections are examined in the context of a new castle interpretation project currently underway, at Warkworth Castle in Northumberland, England. They are presented to our international colleagues with the explicit desire to share our experiences and improve our industry’s approach to the interpretation of humanity’s rich castle heritage.