National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit

This page provides access to a "starter kit" of resources to help you develop and hone your skills as an interpretive facilitator, a 21st century skill set! 

These resources are provided for self-study -- in your own time and at your own pace. They can also be used for staff development.

There are several ways to engage with this material -- either in-depth with the self-study guide, or exploring resources as-you-need-them. The content is presented in a way that can be updated and revised, as our collective understanding of these skills evolves and new resources and examples are developed.

The Study Guide -- provides activities, questions and links to additional resources -- guides you through the content in a thought-provoking way, with opportunities for personal application to your site and your work.

Facilitated dialogue class participants display their arc of dialogue at Boston NHP


Facilitated Dialogue -- A Venue for Interpretive Conversations:  

Study Guide -- Intro to Facilitated Dialogue

What Is Facilitated Dialogue? Handout

The Arc of Dialogue Handout

Designing an Arc of Dialogue Worksheet  (revised 01/15)

Facilitated Dialogue Techniques Chart  NEW

Dialogue Coaching Form -- Elements of Success  NEW



Questions open the door to dialogue and discovery.
They are an invitation to creativity and breakthrough thinking.
Questions can lead to movement and action on key issues;
by generating creative insights, they can ignite change.

21st Century Engagement Google Site – surf and explore the resources on this site -- lots of good stuff in the "File Cabinet" section

Co-creation Techniques for Facilitating Reflection and Expression, IDP handout

Facilitating Reflection – A Manual for Leaders and Educators Julie Reed & Christopher Koliba, John Dewey Project for Progressive Education


Tenement Museum Training Manual, explains basics of facilitated dialogue as taught at one of the first museums to embrace this method of audience engagement

How to Craft Questions, handout from

Visible Thinking -- Core Thinking Strategies (which also make good dialogue techniques!)

by Eric E.Vogt, Juanita Brown, and David Isaacs


Introduction to the Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit Webinar Power Point (Bliss/Lacome, May, 2014)


The Nature of Truth:

Excerpt from Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report on the Four Truths
(full report available at

Four Truths Power Point (Lacome, 2016)


Interpreting Controversy:

Embrace Controversy--Avoid Conflict Handout

Kim Sikoryak's Interpreting Controversy Teaching Notes from TEL satellite broadcast


Evolving Profession Resources:

Achieving Relevance in our Second Century -- IE&V Strategic Plan, 2014

Interpretive Skills Vision Paper -- 21st Century National Park Service, 2014


Julia Washburn--Engagement of Audiences (audio clip)

Whose Questions, Whose Conversations, by Kathleen McLean (excerpted from Letting Go—Sharing Historical Authority in a User Generated World, 2011)





























































Please contribute your awesome examples of facilitated dialogue and other interp facilitation techniques for us to post in this space! Send short videos or program vignettes/excerpts on DVDs (or YouTube links), program outlines, interpretive writing, media products (as PDFs) or social media screen captures to If your example is awesomely facilitative, you may win an award!

This is a new page -- we need your examples to fill this space!


NPS Examples

"Wilderness, Wildlife and Wonder" by Jacob Frank, Rocky Mountain National Park (arc of dialogue with link to video and coaching form)

Endangered Species Dialogue Arc -- Carol Blaney, Grand Canyon National Park

Nature and Society Dialogue Arc -- Adapted from a model by Cathie Batavia, Grand Teton National Park

"Tapped Out" -- Rivers and Water Rights Dialogue Arc -- Amanda Rowland, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Non-NPS Examples

Here's a starter example of facilitated dialogue from the Tenement Museum (see also their Training Manual)

Kitchen Conversations at the Tenement Museum

Example of an Arc of Dialogue from Kitchen Conversations

Climate Change Facilitated Dialogue example from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Adapt this to your park or site by linking these activities and questions to your site's climate change stories and impacts!


Social Media as a Dialogic Forum for Parks

Example of a Facebook post using a dialogic question -- Redwoods NP

Collaboration is important for all our work -- but especially in facilitated approaches and dialogue. It's critical that we don't attempt to develop programs and media in isolation! Get feedback on your thoughts and ideas -- and provide feedback for your colleagues -- using the #facilli82communic8 Facebook page. This site was created by fellow interpreters as a place to share ideas, resources and thoughts.

Also -- who else do you need to collaborate with?


Collaborate with the IDP -- please help us figure out what interpretive facilitation and a "dialogic" approach look like in different interpretive venues. As you begin to experiment with various programs and media, share your ideas about what success looks like for...

Short talks
Walks and tours
Illustrated programs
Curriculum-based programs
Site bulletins
Park videos
Park websites
Facebook posts 
Twitter posts 

Share your thoughts and ideas at