• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

Developing a Wayside Exhibit Team

Pick a Strong Team

To create and maintain effective wayside exhibits requires a spectrum of talent. Below some of the many roles, skills, and facilities you must secure to get the job done. Grouped according in general categories, the roles are not listed in sequence. Typically, knowledge and responsibilities overlap and must inform the entire creative process through good communication and coordination at the outset.
Who has the skill to take on these roles and responsibilities?


  • Identify wayside needs and provide media recommendations.
  • Describe the scope of the project in detail and formulate strategies to accomplish the work.
  • Gather data on audience, site, project goals, and available resources.
  • Understand park operations and policies.
  • Prepare an Accessibility Plan to address programmatic accessibility requirements.
  • Articulate wayside development processes and goals for all project participants.
  • Identify and access subject matter expertise.
  • Manage project reviews with partners using group decision-making techniques.


  • Provide creative direction for the project.
  • Conceptualize interpretive messages and organize information.
  • Develop visual alternatives to facilitate decision-making.
  • Create compelling layouts that meet NPS wayside design standards.
  • Design custom bases and mounts.
  • Apply the principles and standards of universal design / accessibility.
  • Understand organizational identity systems and incorporate appropriately into the project. NPS Graphic Identity
  • Do graphic research / manage image files and resource materials.
  • Use advanced skills in design tools / equipment / software.
  • Prepare materials for presentations and reviews.
  • Create production-ready files and specifications appropriate for the panel imaging method.
  • Inspect and approve production proofs.

Research and Graphic Acquisition

  • Conduct primary content research.
    Verify content.
  • Provide subject-matter expertise.
  • Acquire legal use rights from intellectual property owners.


  • Apply media-appropriate interpretive writing techniques.
  • Acquire and review primary source information.
  • Proofread and edit based on NPS wayside writing standards.
  • Knowledge of language translation processes and sources.


  • Render accurate representational images that illuminate interpretive concepts.
  • Develop sketches for review and incorporate changes into final work.
  • Create professional-quality graphics for large-format reproduction.


  • Conduct site analysis to confirm geographic data and understand site conditions.
  • Research and gather primary geographic source data.
  • Create actual-size, production-ready maps based on NPS Wayside Map Standards.

Braille and Tactile Elements

  • Prepare design drawings for Braille and tactile models per Accessibility Design standards.
  • Prepare specifications and shop drawings to direct fabrication of
  • Braille and tactile models.
  • Fabricate and install wayside panels and models with Braille labels and text.
  • Fabricate and install tactile models.

Base Fabrication

  • Prepare detailed shop drawings for review.
  • Fabricate accessible wayside structures.
  • Manage shipping and installation issues.
  • Provide accurate product specifications and cost, schedule, and warranty information.
  • Replace faulty products.

Panel Imaging

  • Image graphic panels in specified materials from production-ready digital files.
  • Create quality proofs for team review.
  • Provide archival materials to facilitate long-term maintenance.
  • Provide accurate product specifications and cost, schedule, and warranty information.
  • Replace faulty products.

Audio Description

  • Prepare an audio description production plan.
  • Write and edit audio script.
  • Identify appropriate narrator talent.
  • Record and produce audio description files.
  • Purchase and install appropriate hardware and distribution method.


  • Develop scopes of work, schedules, and cost estimates.
  • Evaluate proposals and inspect work in progress.
  • Work with the project team to conduct technical reviews of contract deliverables.
  • Manage the review, approval, and payment process.

Site Management

  • Host team visits to the site, and provide access to resource materials and site-related data.
  • Manage communications with neighbors / partners / local stakeholders.
  • Develop site improvement plans.
  • Improve the sites before wayside installation to provide full accessibility.
  • Manage installation of wayside structures and panels.
  • Maintain the site to ensure the vista is clear, the site is safe, and accessible.
  • Maintain the panels by cleaning on a regular basis.
  • Replace damaged panels.

Project Management

  • Assess skills and abilities necessary for the project and assemble an effective team.
  • Establish a plan for team coordination and communications.
  • Enable communication, file transfer, travel, and shipping.
  • Compile and organize data using disciplined documentation and filing skills.


  • Conduct front-end evaluation; find out what visitors want to know, what sites are compelling, and what questions they have.
  • Assess developing and completed waysides for intended outcomes through social science research.

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