revolving door

Dear Don: Our staff aren’t sticking around.

Dear Don, I recently read your articles about hiring better interpretive guides and really enjoyed them. I work for a museum that is currently in the process of trying to do just that, hire better guides. The biggest problem that we have incountered is getting the right people for the job to learn/hear about us. Up until this point most of our guides don’t come […]

Continue reading

A Field Guide to Content Developers

If you’re trying to put together a design project, it pays to know who to hire. I often see “interpretive writer” in an RFP when it’s clear that you’re really looking for a content developer or an interpretive planner. And while it’s not unusual to find someone (like me) who can do all three, the scope of work (and the price tag) for each is radically different.

Continue reading
Haida Gwaii, rock

Essence of Place and Sustainable Tourism

(This article originally appeared in Legacy Magazine.) As an interpretive planner, I’m always on the lookout for tools that help me in my work. A few years ago, when I was working with the Parks Canada agency, we began to develop a creative model we called Essence of Place. It turned out to be not only a good way of defining a site’s themes, but […]

Continue reading
we believe

Should parks and museums have free entry?

(This article first appeared in Legacy Magazine, published by the National Association of Interpretation.) When they say “can’t”, we need to re-train our ears to hear “choose not to”. Two years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and visited the Republic of Ireland. Among its many treasures (endless green hillsides, first-rate beer, friendly locals), I discovered that the Irish national museums are free of charge. […]

Continue reading

What Is Dialogic Interpretation?

… and why on earth would anybody want to do it? It seems that recently, in my travels where I meet colleagues from the USA, the topic of conversation often turns to the rise of dialogic interpretation: interpretive programming that places an emphasis on getting visitors to talk to each other about the subject at hand. Here in Canada, dialogic interpretation isn’t even on the radar. […]

Continue reading
boy in traditional dress, new caledonia

The Art and Science of Visitor Experience

Visitor experience is 70% art and 30% science. When I was a young park interpreter, we rarely had access to audience research. In fact, I don’t much recall anyone talking about it: if you were in the heritage tourism sector, you simply did your work (exhibits, activities, orientation, amenities) as best you could, based on what you thought it should look like. We didn’t spend much […]

Continue reading

Careers in Interpretation: What’s Next for You?

  Dear Don:  I’m a museum geek who’s trying to figure out what’s next, and I’m hoping you may have some sage words to impart. What floats my boat is bringing stories to life, sharing ideas, and generally getting folks stoked to be there, be it through exhibitions, education programmes, tours etc. Now I’m trying to figure out how to make that happen, and I […]

Continue reading
hiking, west coast trail

The West Coast Trail: An Adventure

In July of this year I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hike the West Coast Trail in style, with Irie Adventure Tours. I went as a correspondent for Toque and Canoe, Canada’s award-winning travel blog, and it was everything I’d hoped. Read on: Don Enright’s West Coast Trail Adventure

Continue reading