Excellence in Interpretation Award

The Excellence in Interpretation Award is the highest award presented to an individual National Park Service interpreter. The annual award is recognizes outstanding contributions to the practice of interpretation and education by a NPS employee. The award was created to stimulate and reward creative thinking that results in positive impacts upon the preservation of the parks and the visiting public.

This award was named the Freeman Tilden Award for Excellence in Interpretation from 1981 to 2023. The National Park Service is shifting to more descriptive award names that clearly reflect the work awarded. We will continue to recognize the individuals who inspired or influenced these awards.

Freeman Tilden

Freeman Tilden has inspired generations of interpreters across the world. His book Interpreting Our Heritage continues to be a definitive text for the discipline. Read a brief biography of Freeman Tilden.

The interpreter who creates a whole, pares away all the obfuscating minor detail and drives straight toward the perfection of his story will find that his hearers are walking along with himare companions on the march. At some certain point it becomes their story as much as his. -Freeman Tilden

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    Last updated: February 6, 2024