Forest floor, lifted.

Visitor Experience: Out With The Old

This is part two of a series; I suggest you start with the first instalment, here. Understanding our visitors’ needs and desires and trying to facilitate their experiences—both internal and external—very quickly become more important than creating didactic panels and programs. Organizations have started creating departments of Visitor Experience and hiring directors of Visitor Experience, and we are suddenly left to figure out where our old interpretive […]

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Demonstration, Bordeaux

The Visitor Experience Revolution

Has it passed you by? I have been in the interpretation business for a long time. 33 years, in fact (I started when I was two, I swear.) During that time, trends and fashions have come and gone, but in all my years I don’t think I’ve seen anything as fundamental as what I call the visitor experience (VE) revolution. This has been a sea […]

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Big Book of Disasters

The Interpretive Disaster

An interview with the editors of the Interpreter’s Big Book of Disasters I suppose every profession is prone to minor disasters. I was a waiter once; I recall tipping about a half litre of pop onto a child’s head. In another job I remember hopping out of a vehicle to grab some equipment… and forgetting to put the truck in park (I stopped it just before it […]

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Lighthouse, Ucluelet

Hiring Talented Interpreters

“You can hire talent and give it experience. You can’t do the opposite.” -me In my previous entries in this series, I have tried to build the argument that a) traditional sit-down interpreter interviews are a waste of time and select for the wrong qualities, and b) interpretive workshop interviews, though much better, are a waste of the candidates’ time and still select for the […]

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Autumn in Stanley Park

The Interpretive Atlas

Layer upon layer of stories still to be told… As an interpretive planner, I work with parks, museums and similar organizations to help bring their stories to life for their visitors. And I’m always looking for tools to help my clients visualize new possibilities. It’s sometimes hard to make abstract ideas concrete; that’s true for all interpreters, of course, but it’s particularly true in interpretive planning. More than […]

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Poster, Stanley Park Ecology Society AGM

Graphic Design: Promoting Active Vancouver

I have been a nature photographer for a long time. Transferring some of those skills over to graphic design is a relatively new exercise for me. I don’t think of myself as a graphic designer—in my job I have the privilege of working with some very good ones—but when you work in the non-profit world, you find yourself using all the skills you have. The organization […]

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Imagine.

Workshop Interviews: A Dissenting Opinion

The interpretive workshop interview is a (mis)step in the right direction. In my previous article, Hiring Better Interpreters, I asserted that traditional sit-at-the-table interviews tend to select candidates who are really good at sitting at a table being interviewed. I am certainly not alone in making that observation. A number of years ago, in an effort to ferret out the absolute cream of the interpretive crop, managers around […]

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A lone canoeist paddles in the evening mist.

One Professional’s Development

By Nicole Cann As I was writing my previous article about finding a way to make professional development affordable for any budget, I found myself wanting to share all of my own favourite examples of  professional development, within an expanded definition of the term. Trouble was, I had TOO many personal examples to share. So that’s what this post is for—this is a look inside my own […]

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kananaskis country, ab

Hiring Better Interpreters

Interviews select people who are good at sitting at a table talking about themselves. We all know what it’s like to go through the stressful process of being interviewed for a job. And if you’ve been in the interpretive business for a while, you probably know what it’s like to sit on both sides of the table; perhaps you’ve done it more times than you care […]

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Canal, Netherlands

Essence of Place: What is it?

How will you know when you’ve compromised yours? Those of us who are lucky enough to live and work in parks, nature reserves, and historic sites tend to have pretty deep emotional and intellectual attachments to them. We feel, at a deep level, what makes our place special. We know what our place is—and what it isn’t—and we understand how all of its wonderful qualities (its landscape, its history, […]

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