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

Informal Visitor Contacts

Informal Visitor Contacts                  

Core Resources

A useful and practical course for all those with visitor services responsibilities. Discounts are available to NPS employees – check with your Regional Chief’s Office regarding a discount code for your region. A basic certificate and advanced certificate are available for this course (see the “Certificates” section of this website).

A resource to assist the teaching of this curriculum in the classroom. 



Sample Informal Contact Log Entries


Interpreting Our Heritage. Freeman Tilden, 1957. The original thinking of the "father of interpretation" on the newly emerging profession of interpretation -- a foundational classic.

Handles: A Compendium of Interpretive Techniques to Help Visitors Grasp Resource Meanings. Peggy Scherbaum, 2006. Can be used for self-study or classroom training. Includes the definitions and examples of 200 interpretive techniques. (Note: Most parks probably have a copy of this book -- but it is currently out of print.)

Meaningful Interpretation -- How to Connect Hearts and Minds to Places, Objects and Other Resources. David Larsen, editor, 2011 (2nd edition).  A comprehensive articulation of NPS interpretive philosophy; a training and learning tool based on a journaling format. The volume can be used for designing courses, supervising and coaching employees, or for self-paced learning.

Personal Interpretation--Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources. Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman, 2002. A practical guide for new interpreters.