An NPS Evaluation of Interpretation and Education Services gives interpreters, interpretive programs and media, and park management credibility. In addition, evaluation makes them accountable and responsible for visitor experiences. Can NPS interpreters provide proof that their programs and media are accomplishing the goals they have set?
The National Education Council funded an Evaluation of Interpretation and Education Services (September 2010 - May 2012) conducted by MPR Museum Consulting. That allowed three parks to answer that question. The project included three pilot park and one servicewide component. The parks that were selected to participate were Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HAVO), Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CUVA), and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (KEMO).
The three pilot park projects informed and improved the relevancy and effectiveness of programs and media for underserved audiences. All of the projects employed multiple evaluation methods. Park staff assisted MPR Museum Consulting. with some of the evaluation studies and conducted others themselves. All applied the results to create new and improve existing interpretive services.
A "Fearless Evaluation" webinar was presented on March 6, 7, and 8, 2012 and more than 60 NPS interpreters and educators participated. The webinar discussed the pilot park studies and revealed practical, economical, and useful evaluation methods that all parks can use. The "Fearless Evaluation" manual was a companion piece to the webinar.
A Literature Review was conducted and the Summary Report of the NPS Evaluation of the Interpretation and Education Services Project was completed in May 2012.
All of the reports, data, and data compilations for the three pilot park projects are now available for download.