Honey bee and lavender

 The Interpretive Soapbox

  Interpreters are purveyors of wonder. Never, ever forget it. Those of us who work with endangered species (or endangered resources of any kind) tend to feel fairly passionate about them. We also tend to be have long personal histories with our subjects, and a high level of knowledge about them. As a result, we are prime candidates for committing what I’d like coin as Enright’s Cardinal […]

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Learning And The New Visitor Experience Paradigm

Let us talk less about learning, and more about connecting with essence of place, about the forging of links, the fostering of emotions and the long-term making of meaning. This is the conclusion of my series on the Visitor Experience (VE) Revolution. You might want to start with the first chapter, here. I consider myself both a champion and a casualty of the new visitor experience […]

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boy

High Horses, Ivory Towers and the M-Word

This is the third instalment in a series, The Visitor Experience Revolution. You should probably start at part one, here.  I will be presenting this topic at  the National Association for Interpretation’s big workshop coming up next week in Virginia Beach. I hope to see you there. As interpreters, we identify ourselves as educators first and foremost. That is not a bad thing. But with that lofty self-image sometimes comes a sense of superiority […]

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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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