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Saturday, November 12 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm
How to Create and Implement an Interpretive Plan in the Real World

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Get inspired and take away some interpretive planning tips from this practical session. Our primary example is the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum’s 2015 Master Interpretive Plan and its continuing implementation. The 1904 Detroit historic site—where the Model T was developed and first assembled—is a good case study of the need for interpretive planning, how to execute a team planning process using a variety of cost-effective techniques for self-assessment, how to achieve stakeholder buy-in, and how to prioritize ideas for implementation. Experienced interpretive planner Mary Seelhorst takes a variety of approaches to interpretive planning depending on the needs and budgets of the automotive museums and historic sites she works with. Using examples from her projects—including but not limited to Piquette, Mary will discuss the value of interpretive planning, what an interpretive plan should (and could) include, and a variety of strategies for analyzing your site’s current status and imagining its potential. Among Steve Shotwell’s many hats at the Piquette Plant Museum is Implementer-in-Chief. He’s been instrumental in keeping the plan from gathering dust, completing many of the plan’s recommendations while adapting to new circumstances. A major success was finally bringing to life the Secret Experimental Room (where the Model T was developed) after years of research and a couple of false starts prior to the Master Interpretive Plan. Part exhibit and part re-creation, the road to making it happen was paved by the plan which ensured it fit with and enhanced the overall visitor experience.

avatar for Mary Seelhorst

Mary Seelhorst

Independent Exhibit Developer, Writer
Mary Seelhorst is an independent museum exhibit developer and writer with more than 30 years of experience developing educational exhibits on history and technology subjects. She is widely published, including a seven-year stint writing a monthly column for Popular Mechanics. Among... Read More →


Past President, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
Steve Shotwell is the Past-President of the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum in Detroit, Michigan.  He has served as Chairperson of Piquette’s Exhibits Committee for multiple years.  Since 2015, he has led the charge to implement Piquette’s Master Interpretive Plan - more than... Read More →

Saturday November 12, 2022 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST