What are Programs?
Programs are included in the Network to Freedom for their educational or interpretive nature. Programs can be more diverse in nature and include, but are not limited to, tours, interpretive talks, exhibits, theater productions, living history presentations and school or public programs.
How are Programs Evaluated?
Programs are evaluated based on the following:
- Accuracy: source material specific to the story presented in the program on which interpretation and presentation of information are based must be delineated and should include primary materials—letters, diaries, autobiographies, official records—where possible.
- Professionalism: the Network to Freedom focuses on a professional approach to activities such as interpretation or curation that will indicate a high-quality presentation of the history of the Underground Railroad, rather than specifying staff credentials.
- Operation: all programs must be in operation and not solely in the planning stages. There must also be plans for the future.
- Applications must demonstrate that the program has a record of consultation with appropriate partners, and community or regional support. Consultation is a critical stage in the development of any interpretation program.
- A system must be established for the evaluation of the program's effectiveness. Insights gained from the evaluations should be used to refine the program in the future.
Filling Out the Application
In addition to the responses to each question, applications for programs must also include the following attachments:
- Letters from people consulted in the development of the interpretive program describing their input and participation in the process.
- These letters should not just be endorsements; they should describe the consultation process and content.
- An example of an audience feedback card or questionnaire or other audience feedback mechanism.
- Include information about audience feedback and surveys, but also how this information is incorporated in program revisions.
- A letter of consent for inclusion in the Network to Freedom from the owner or manager of the program.
- A DVD or video of the program or a sample of the program for evaluation purposes. See instructions for use policy.
- This is helpful for the review committee to evaluate the program. Bear in mind that any materials submitted become part of the application and the information is made available to the public upon acceptance of the application. You may want to include a sample, rather than the entire program.