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Additional Full Performance Level Competency

Module 440: Effective Interpretation of Archaeological Resources

Developmental Activities

A good developmental activity that has been developed specifically for this shared course of study is to follow the suggestions and explore all the links in the on-line resource, "Archeology for Interpreters: A Guide to Knowledge of the Resource" []

A. Suggestions for interpreters.

1. For entry-level understanding of basic archeological principles, view park videos and take park-based training programs. Discuss both with supervisor.

2. For developmental full performance level, attend NPS course or "Archeology 101" at accredited college and participate in activities that demonstrate archeological principles, i.e. excavations, classroom simulations, field trips, and regional conferences. Of particular importance are the understanding of complex information and the knowledge of basic cultural resource laws, regulations, and policies. Successfully complete NPS sponsored/sanctioned knowledge class with an 80% or higher score on tests and practicums. Option: measured assessment and possible bypass testing.

3. Present talks with factual information from the archeological record. Produce outline including introduction, body, transitions, conclusion, and citation of references, indicating an understanding of pertinent facts and multiple points of view. Prepare and present national significance evaluation standards (NPS or DOI standards} in conjunction with archeological specialists. Final product to be an oral presentation, audio/visual program, written document, and/or museum display.

4. Demonstrate knowledge of on-site archeological activities. Interview local/regional archeologist, ARPA ranger, or Park Section 106 coordinator. Get involved with local archeological society. Review management documents and maintenance participation in site preservation plan. Include preservation activities in presentation and have presentation evaluated by subject matter expert. Successfully explain park/NPS archeological collection/preservation activities as they relate to laws, regulations and policies that drive preservation.

5. Identify relationships between park themes and the archeological record. Prepare a short synopsis of several contributions that the archeological record might make to these themes. Discuss with archeological specialist ways that these contributions might be developed from the archeological record to be integrated into the products relating to these themes.

6. Integrate into interpretive products at least two technical points of view and one other cultural perspective or non-archeological point of view about one or more components of the park's archeological record.

7. Consult the NPS Interpretive Development Program Curriculum Module 340, "Interpretive Research and Resources Liaison."

B Suggestions for archeologists.

1. Coordinate with Interpretive Specialist while designing cultural research projects, to
include interpretive components that result in useable products for public education.

2. Actively seek out opportunities to participate in resource management and interpretive planning.

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of interpretive programs that address archeological themes in their park, using their acquired knowledge from the NPS Interpretive Module 101.

4. Observe several interpretive talks or walks - Identify methods and techniques used to create intangible connections with tangible archeological resources. Discuss with
interpreter(s) other techniques and methods that may also enhance visitor connections to cultural resources.

5. Evaluate wayside exhibits or other printed materials - Identify methods and techniques used to communicate information about archeological resources. Discuss with interpreter how it succeeds or fails to create emotional and intellectual connections for the visitors to the resource. Make suggestions and/or initiate new media for accomplishing NPS Mission of preservation through interpretation.

6. Discover the general level of visitor knowledge and interest, as well as other non-
interpretive priorities (where's the food, gas, restrooms, etc.) Assist at a Park’s visitor
center desk, especially in parks where major themes address archeology, and observe
visitor questions, interpreter's answers, visitor interaction and response to exhibits and
other interpretive media. Demonstrate techniques for interpreting the park's archeological record to interested visitors in the visitor center. Discuss with interpreters, additional methods and techniques that may be used to effectively convey accurate archeological information through answers and other available media within the visitor center.

7. Actively seek out opportunities to participate in interpretive planning process:

* Comprehensive Interpretive Plan
* Wayside Exhibit Plan
* Interior Exhibit Plan
* Audiovisual program planning/development
* Environmental/Heritage Education Curriculum Plan/Program
* Outreach and special events
* Temporary/seasonal exhibits
* Publications
* World Wide Web pages

8. Prepare a useable synopsis on one or two areas of the park's archeological record that identifies current scientific and technical viewpoints, and one or more traditional/cultural points of view. Discuss/explain to park interpreters. Address methods of integrating multiple points of view into interpretive programs.

9. Provide training session(s) for resource management staff in the public interpretation of archeological information.

10. Consult the NPS Interpretive Development Program Curriculum Module 340,
"Interpretive Research and Resources Liaison."

C. Suggestions for both archeologists and interpreters.

1. Provide training session(s) for interpreters, and/or seasonal/cooperating association
employees, addressing archeological topics and issues of concern. Brainstorm ideas for various techniques, methods and gimmicks to interpret these subjects, creating relevant connections for visitors.

2. Develop useful synopsis of archeological research or recent project that provides
understandable information and identifies universal concepts that make connections to
the resources.

3. Prepare and present an interpretive program (talk, walk, demonstration) for the public. The program should include interpretive concepts acquired from the NPS Interpretive Module 101.

4. Actively maintain dialogue with interpretive specialists to convey information and better understand interpretive needs. Outline and discuss possible actions that may address interpretive needs and help to initiate solutions.

5. Identify relationships between park themes and the archeological record. Prepare
synopsis with examples of how these relationships may be integrated into interpretive
programs and products.


For additional information contact:
Barbara J. Little
Archeology and Ethnography Program, NPS
1849 C St., NW, NC 210
Washington, DC
20240 202-343-1058 (voice)
202-523-1547 (fax)

Last module update: September, 2002
Editors: Hembrey, Heather A. and Barbara J. Little

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