Be a visitor
Visit Chaco Culture NHP's website to see how their collections are interpreted online. NPS photo.
For this exercise, conduct a self-guided tour of a park, museum, or a website that interprets archeology. You may wish to do an in-person and an on-line tour, to compare and contrast the interpretive environments.
If possible, coordinate your tours with other archeologists and interpreters.
For on-site visits
Visit a place in person, perhaps through a walking tour, a specific exhibit or a ranger talk. Visiting a place in person helps you to understand a place the way visitors do: physically, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually.
Download and print a record sheet to take with you. It lists questions to consider before, during, and after your visit. They will help you both to get inside a visitor's mindset and to think through questions that interpretive products can and should address.
Places to visit in-person include:
- National parks (use the Find a Park tool, keyword archeology or archaeology)
- State parks
- Historical societies and museums
- Archeology societies at the state or local level
For virtual visits
Explore an online exhibit for another way to think about interpreting archeology. Websites are themselves interpretive products. Some of the websites reconstruct what visitors see onsite when they tour a particular exhibit or the entire property. Others reconstruct particular exhibits or have always been intended for online exploration. As you tour a website, take the medium into consideration and think about the differences between a virtual and in-person experience.
Download and print a virtual visit record sheet (.doc file) to use.
Examples of online media to "visit" include:
- Bright Angel Pueblo Exhibit, Grand Canyon National Park, ArizonaSee images of an on-site exhibit linking archeological finds with the people who lived in the canyon.
- Archeology of the Charcoal Industry, Catoctin Mountain Park, MarylandWatch an archeologist talk about the charcoal industry at Catoctin Mountain.
- Audio Files for the Interpretive Trail, Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, MaineListen to the audio files for the interpretive trail at Saint Croix Island.
Examples of websites include:
- Online exhibits, Archaeology Southwest Choose an online exhibit about archeological topics in the American Southwest.
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park: Museum Collections of the National Park Service Presents artifact collections from Chaco Culture NHP and information about different aspects of Chacoan culture.
- The African Burial Ground, New York Public Library Describes the controversial excavation of enslaved African and African Americans on Manhattan and what was learned about the interred.
For your consideration
- Why did you choose the sites to visit?
- What do you think is important in an interpretive experience of archeology?