sunlight, west coast trail

Here’s what’s keeping me (mostly) out of trouble

So a tenor is in bed with another man’s wife. The husband walks in on them and shouts, “Oh my god! What are you doing?” The tenor jumps up and says, “Well, I’m doing Rigoletto, then Traviata, then I’m doing Aida…” So in the spirit of “Oh my god, what are you doing?” I have added a portfolio section to this website, so you can […]

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Harlequin ducks

I’m on Miss 604: The Harlequin Ducks of Stanley Park

I had an opportunity this week to submit an article to Miss604.com, on behalf of Stanley Park Ecology Society. It’s always a pleasure to volunteer for SPES, and it’s exciting to appear on Rebecca’s (Miss604) blog; she has a huge following. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s the link: The Harlequin Ducks of Stanley Park  

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brown pelican, teetering

Hearts, Minds, and Positioning Statements

Positioning Statements: Simple, Not Easy Sometimes, life takes you in odd and unexpected directions. If you’d told me twenty years ago that I was going to be spending my days helping heritage sites do market research and audience segmentation, I probably would have cut myself. It really isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Target marketing is not the kind of thing I wake up excited about […]

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peacock

To script or not to script? An interpreter’s dilemma

A great presentation requires a great script. We’ve been talking a lot lately about the decline of classical stand-and-deliver interpretation, and the rise of experiential, inquiry-based or dialogue-based programming. I think it’s a healthy dialogue. For decades, sage-on-the-stage programming was the default interpretive medium. You took an interpreter, put her in front of an audience, and made people listen to her. Simple. But it wasn’t always effective. […]

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scary Halloween image (church in Rome)

Is Your Halloween Program Off-Theme?

Surely we can accomplish more with a valuable new audience then just jump out of a dark corner and go “boo.” Are you planning a thematically vapid Halloween event? Are you busily training volunteers to jump out at people from behind half-closed doors? Are you dusting off your wacky grave stones and firing up your howling-and-cackling sound systems? And are you completely ignoring your site’s history and […]

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Mayne Island

Requiem for the QR Code

The QR code is dead. It didn’t have to end this way. The year is 2011… …and I’m wandering through the galleries of my favourite local aquarium. Suddenly a gaggle of tweens rushes past me: “Over here! I found it!” They converge at an obscure spot under a counter, aim a smartphone, pause, shriek with laughter, and take off again. “This way! I think the […]

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Sunset, Strait of Georgia

How to Craft a Vision Statement

There’s no sense telling your staff and public that you will be the top heritage attraction in the nation if you can’t craft a strategic plan (and budget) that will get you there. In my previous article, I outlined what I hope will be a fairly simple way to craft a relevant, realistic mission statement. The problem with relevant and realistic mission statements, though, is that boards […]

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Information officers, Carnival Quebec

Evaluating Your Information Centre

Does yours rock? We’ve all been there: the very sad information centre. The staff are surly, the brochures are gone, the washrooms are horrifying, and everything digital is out of order. And I hope I can say we’ve all visited the opposite end of the spectrum. I did, recently. I walked into a clean, uncluttered, attractive information centre stocked with high-quality maps and brochures, and was […]

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Mission Statement Checkup: How’s Yours?

Mission statements should avoid vague and lofty turns of phrase like “transforms lives” or “provides hope” or “empowers wise choices”. All planning starts with a mission. From your mission flow your vision, your strategic goals, your management plan, interpretive plan, marketing plan… and all of the magical visitor experiences you live to facilitate. Without a solid mission or mandate, your organization is rudderless. Mission vs […]

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