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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Professional development at any budget.

Professional Development… at all costs!

“Wouldn’t it be great if you could wave a magic wand and design your own professional development plan? If you widen your definition of what professional development actually is, you may be able to do just that.” It is with great pleasure that I present a guest post from my friend and colleague Nicole Cann. Nicole is manager of interpretive delivery at the Vancouver Aquarium. I […]

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zumba

Zumba and the Price of Interpretive Programs

We need to be honest with ourselves about the impact of price on the demand for our programs. More and more in the world of interpretation, we charge fees for our programs. And if you’re like me, you’ve known the frustration of trying to convince your customers that there is monetary value in guided walks or evening programs or gate admissions. It’s a tough sell. […]

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statue and eiffel tower

The Power of the Creative Brief

Think of it as a one-page interpretive plan. Writing a plan is tough work, and writing an interpretation plan is one of the more daunting tasks many of us in the nature-heritage sector face. So daunting, in fact, that many of us would rather chew off an arm than set aside time in our busy weeks to work on any kind of long-term strategy. Recently, I’ve started […]

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boat on calm water

Defining Your Values: Some Exercises

It takes time to become accustomed to values-based thinking. This is part two of a two-part article on organizational values in the heritage sector. Part one is here.  A values exercise is a way of defining your ethical approach to the prickly, unpleasant issues that are likely to rear their heads in the future. Your values become your moral compass and the pillars of your daily […]

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bridge, paris

Organizational Values in the Heritage Sector

In the heritage sector, values and brand are ultimately one and the same. If your mission describes what you do as an organization, both your values and your brand describe how you do it. That may sound strange: brand and values sound like two very different areas of concern. But I’m going to suggest to you that in the heritage sector, the two are inexorably […]

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man gazing right

Twenty(ish) Good Questions About Your Markets

What benefits are they seeking when they travel to an attraction like yours? This article is part of a series, Understanding Our Audiences, on market segmentation for interpretive planners and other visitor experience professionals. You should probably start at the beginning, here.   Here are some things you probably need to know about your visitors in order to identify your market segments. Note that these are not […]

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woman in traditional dress, Kota Kinabalu

Spray and Pray: The Fear of Excluding A Market

The point of market segmentation is not to make visitors unwelcome; it is the opposite. This article is part of a series, Understanding Our Audiences, on market segmentation for interpretive planners and other visitor experience professionals. You should probably start at the beginning, here.  Managers and boards of directors are sometimes reluctant to focus their investments in a handful of target markets (some businesses focus […]

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Five Filters for Qualifying a Target Market

How do you know if a given audience segment has potential for you? This article is part of a series, Understanding Our Audiences, for interpretive planners and other visitor experience professionals. Here is the beginning of the series.  Every so often, someone in your organization will say, “Hey, we should really be serving Market  X!” How do you know if Market X has potential for […]

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sculpture face-to-face,Oslo

Making Standards Your Own

This is the third instalment of a presentation I made at the Montreal NAI/IC Conference in May, 2015. You can find part one here. Be prepared for a little conflict when embarking on a standards exercise. There are a few strong lessons I learned from the evaluation project, and I have applied them since to other initiatives. First, be prepared to open a can of […]

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