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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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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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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