miroir d'eau

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 …

Hikers on a mountain top

Interpreters in the Experience Economy

Every great travel experience has three parts: the anticipation, the realization, and the recollection. Those of us who deliver interpretive programs—guided walks, talks, workshops, dialogues, and the like—have long placed ourselves squarely in the second of those three phases: the delivery/realization of the visit.  With the shift in recent years to new communications tools, it’s …

Of Bats and Myths (and sloppy interpreters)

Myth Making From time to time in my career, I have seen interpretive myths that seem to propagate from interpreter to intepreter. I have seen some doozies over the years. Some day, ask me to tell you about the lobsters running each fall up the Miramichi River. Here’s one circulating at the moment: “We need …

What is Experiential Interpretation?

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time researching and pondering what “experiential interpretation” actually means. Here’s what I’ve come up with. Interpretation is experiential when the interpreter uses a recognizable activity as the structure of the program, and imposes passive listening on the audience less than 10% of the time. It uses traditional activities, …

VERSUS: Debate Club meets Wrestle Mania

Welcome to my new series, Innovators. With this project I’m hoping to highlight people who are pushing the boundaries of interpretation, science communication, and educational visitor experience. And I’m pretty excited to feature, as the first instalment in the series, something about which you may have only dreamed until now: cabaret for total science nerds, …