The 1710 Weeks Brick House is a distinctive structure worthy of its place on the National Register of Historic Places. And it is near-and-dear to both distant Weeks descendants and local history/preservation enthusiasts. Yet because of location, configuration, economics, and more, it is unlikely to ever be a typical “museum house” with regular hours and docent-led tours. So why does the Weeks Brick House need a museum “interpretation plan”?
While the Weeks Brick House is not a typical “museum house,” the structure and farmstead are historical, educational, and cultural assets with potential to illuminate the past and enrich the present.
A museum interpretation plan is an educational blueprint, outlining how a museum or historic site presents its assets and tells its “story” to its constituent community. Such a plan defines the “big picture” storyline, identifies audience needs, and sets forth the ideal method(s) for imparting the museum’s “story”.
At present we have an informative professionally-prepared interpretive panel at the parking area to the rear of the house. The content of that panel aims to cut through mythology and misinformation, and provide evidence-based answers to frequently-asked questions about the house and grounds. A professional interpretation plan is still on the Weeks Brick House “to do list,” but is perennially bumped down in priority by the more immediate challenges of preservation and maintenance.
Ultimately a professional interpretation plan, arrived at by research into past history and present community, will identify how the assets of the Weeks Brick House and Gardens can best serve public need. The farmstead is capable of illustrating a variety of topics, from agriculture, to architecture, to economics, and more. Ideally a rigorously-developed interpretation plan can guide the Weeks Brick House in defining its identity in the community for public benefit.