Date of Graduation
The Interpretive Development Program (IDP) of the National Park Service (NPS) develops and maintains the national standards for interpretation by providing professional development opportunities and administrating a peer review certification process of interpretive products. This study explores the little-understood phenomena of how opportunities for intellectual and emotional connections between the resource and the visitor are created by NPS interpreters. Analyzing the program content from forty-nine interpretive talks and writing examples submitted to the IDP for review from July to November of 2001, the researcher has identified four interpretive strategies interpreters used in developing opportunities for intellectual and emotional connections with resource meanings. The researcher also documented how connection opportunities reflect the conscious efforts of interpretive development. A comprehensive review of existing theories on the concepts of meaning, interpretation, and connection leads to the construction of a conceptual framework. Drawing discussions from theoretical traditions including classic sociology, symbolic interactionism, social constructionism, phenomenology, and behaviorism, the conceptual model suggests that through the processes of ascribing, constructing, making, realizing or being stimulated by meanings, individuals can form more personalized and/or more shared understanding with resource meanings. The model also highlights the role of interpretation in revealing meanings and relationships that are potentially contained in the resource. The meaning-revealing process of interpretation provides opportunities for the mutual transaction of meanings between the interpreters and visitors. The study contributes to fundamental interpretive knowledge and lays the ground work for interpretive theory advancement. The study contributes to interpretive managers, trainers, and planners by providing examples and discussion of intellectual and emotional connection opportunities. The study informs our understanding of how opportunities for connections can facilitate meaningful interactions between the resource and the audience. Study results from product analysis suggest how interpretation brings out and clarifies embedded meanings, how it helps people better communicate the meanings of their heritage, how it enhances intuitive understanding and holistic experiences, and how likely it can satisfy the basic human needs to create and sustain meanings in a seemingly purposeless world. In summary, the study explores the value of interpreting resource meanings in fostering a sense of care and stewardship ethic.
Chen, Wei-Li Jasmine, "The craft and concepts of interpretation: A look at how National Park Service interpreters reveal and facilitate opportunities for connections." (2003). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8610.