Full Performance Level Competency
440: Effective Interpretation of Archaeological Resources
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" [http://www.cr.nps.gov/aad/AFORI/Index.htm]
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
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
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
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
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
* 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
10. Consult the NPS Interpretive Development Program
"Interpretive Research and Resources Liaison."
C. Suggestions for both archeologists and interpreters.
1. Provide training session(s) for interpreters, and/or
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
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 email@example.com
Archeology and Ethnography Program, NPS
1849 C St., NW, NC 210
20240 202-343-1058 (voice)
Last module update: September, 2002
Editors: Hembrey, Heather A. and Barbara