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A More Efficient Visitor Experience Strategy

About ten years ago, park and historic site planners in Canada began expanding the classic Interpretive Master Planning process into a larger and more holistic planning methodology called the Visitor Experience (VE) Strategy. The planning approach has been revolutionary—we take a holistic, 360-degree look at the entire visitor experience from picnic tables to interpretive programs …

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Beef Up Your SWOT Analysis.

In my never-ending quest to become the world’s best interpretive planner, I’m constantly evaluating the tools that I use. One of a planner’s most basic exercises is the SWOT analysis, where you take stock of your client’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A staple of virtually all strategic plans, interpretive plans, visitor experience strategies, and …

New Tools for Defining Essence of Place

One of the planning techniques I have been using a lot as an interpretive planner and visitor experience advisor is defining essence of place. Essence of place is the sum of the qualities, tangible and intangible, that come together to make that place unique on earth.  Closely related to ICOMOS work on genius loci, the …

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Structuring an Interpretive Program

I have seen a lot of interpretive programs in my career. I mean, a lot. I started supervising seasonal interpreters in 1988; I stayed in the supervisor/manager role until about 2008, and then did program assessment as a consultant. I’ve seen… a lot of programs.  I have no major horror stories to tell you. (OK …

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Interpreters, we need to talk about AI

If you’re not worried about what artificial intelligence means to our profession, you’re probably not paying attention. When I was a kid, computers were still largely the stuff of science fiction. And in those days we used to dream of how much better our lives would be when we had them. My science-nerdy friends and …