The approach of "reading the landscape" relied on the expertise of an interdisciplinary cadre of professionals. Among them were a cultural resource team of historians, archeologists, historical architects and landscape architects, who documented and analyzed the history of the island and its features. From the Harpers Ferry NHP maintenance staff and the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), craftsmen (masons, carpenters, groundskeepers, and a horticulturist) contributed their knowledge and skills to preserve and maintain the trails, vegetation and structures. Interpretative rangers also devised programs to inform the public about the rediscovered history. Additionally, the park natural resource staff developed strategies to protect the native plants and animals so often impacted by the variable level of the Shenandoah River on the island.
Given the long history of the tenuous position of Virginius Island's location in the Shenandoah River, park managers decided to preserve its sensitive resources by accounting for and incorporating the constant threat of flooding and potential loss in its plan for the repair of the island. As a result, the new work used materials and methods that can easily be adapted or replaced if damaged by another 100-year flood.
Missing from the post flood decision-making, however, was the renewal
of the connection between the industrial history and the more transitory
history of the island community that had been uncovered and vividly described
by professionals working between 1991 and 1994. Although the cultural
landscape report outlines many ways to reinforce this connection, the
park has placed little emphasis on continuing to convey this information
to the public. The subtle undulations of buried house foundations and
low mounds of rubble cannot evoke the vibrancy of life on the island without
the support of interpretation with vintage photographs, oral history,
and physical artifacts. When these interpretive tools are used together
to read the landscape and all its features, then the history of Virginius
Island comes alive once again.