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Foundations of Interpretation

What is interpretation? And what makes a good interpreter?

Lauren Swanson

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of Foundations of Interpretation

Who was he?!?
Tilden's Principles
An art form
Provide the whole
Take a different approach for children
Final thoughts to Remember!
is interpretation?!?
The National Association of Interpretation defines it as:
Interpretation is a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meaning inherent in the resource.
does that mean?!?
Basically, people will take better care of things that they care about.
Your job as an interpreter is to :
Reveal things to them
give flesh and blood to cold, hard facts
reveal meanings and relationships
to things they can relate to
give the audience a chance to form their own connections
be passionate
So, who came up with all of this?
Freeman Tilden
understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection."
A wetland might be described to six-year olds as a day care center...
Show a rescued bird or wildlife injured by monofilament/trash to reveal suffering litter causes wildlife :(
Use YOUR talents to promote connections between the audience and the resource
provocative statements catch their attention and make them think later
Always provide a
that is supported
by your information!
Programs should NOT be watered down for kids. (because that's not nice.)
Link tangibles to intangibles
Tell a story!
Make it relevant (know your audience!)
Make it enjoyable!
Use your own style!
USE A THEME!!!!!!!!!
What is this
you speak of?!?
Themes use UNIVERSAL concepts to explain the
resource to your audience in a meaningful way.
Hey dude, the theme is the
unifying concept that really
ties the room together
The theme should:
be concise, be a sentence, be interesting, and make connections.
It's kinda like.... a party favor!
Vultures are nature's janitors.
Fire is a prescription for forest health.
Water quality is like a mirror
to the uses of land around it.
Biodiversity is like an
insurance policy for wildlife.
Steps to develop a theme
My topic is.... fire.
In general, my presentation is about......
how fire, the forest and animals interact.
Specifically, I want to tell my audience about.... the importance of fire in maintaining the forest ecosystem as good habitat for a wide diversity of plants and animals.
Afterward, I want my audience to understand that...
Fire is a prescription for forest health.
(it really tied the room together, did it not?)
So, you have a theme!
BUT, what else makes an
interpreter awesome?!?
"Interpretation is not a vessel to be filled, but a candle to be lit." -Joe Kenner
Enthusiasm and Energy
(do you believe what you are saying?)
Sense of Humor

(if they wanted preachin' they'd go to church)
Self Confidence
(you did your research, don't be scared!)
(no body likes to hug an ice cube.)
(you represent more than yourself.)
Love of People
(understanding others is important)
(there will be no sleeping on your watch!)
My Challenge to You!
Go to http://eppley.org
Take 'Foundations of Interpretation'
Have you ever been in one of
So, basically, interpretive skills are just efficient, effective communication tools ANYONE can use.
What did you think it was?


Does education = action?
Full transcript