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

Training & Coaching Interpreters

Core Resources

Discounts are available to NPS employees and partners – check with your Regional Chief’s Office regarding the annual discount code for your region. A basic certificate is available for this course (see the “Certificates” section of this website).

  • Training and Coaching Interpreters Competency Narrative (coming soon)

This document defines the content (knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors) of this competency. It begins with a competency description and competency standard. All related learning opportunities should be based upon the source curriculum in this document. 

This tool provides a step-by-step process for creating interpretive products. 

This tool provides a step-by-step process for analyzing the elements of interpretive effectiveness in any interpretive product. It is the foundational process for the IDP Peer Review Certification Program. 





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.