This website is a collaboration container for exploring, sharing, describing, questioning, discovering and all around mucking about with the ideas and skills associated with 21st century engagement and participation with natural and cultural heritage. It is associated with practitioners and partners of the U.S. National Park Service. It is not an official NPS site. All are welcome.

A New Paradigm for Interpretation 

A powerful paradigm for lifelong learning has emerged where interpreters can shift their focus from being primarily a "sage on the stage" to a "guide on the side," from being largely the content expert among audiences to being a facilitator, from being the sole authority to being a co-learner and co-leader.

This robust re-imagining and ongoing evolution of interpretation will continue its shift from a hierarchy to a network. In place of vertical levels of expertise or techniques, interpreters can be more deeply interconnected and interrelated, associating as needed with other NPS staff, community organizations, partners, and audiences via in-person and digital webs.
In addition, the field of interpretation will focus more deliberately on processes of response and engagement with audiences than products formulated largely by interpreters for audiences.

These are profound shifts in both perspective and action. In this paradigm, parks take their place as resources of readily acknowledged public value, instruments of lifelong learning, integrated with diverse audiences’ cultures and practices, where interpreters and audiences address societal needs and aspirations and welcome the opportunity to challenge and engage with one another as co-learners.




Sign in the Smithsonian Museum of American History

In this paradigm, interpreters share authority and discovery with audiences by:
  • embracing new and established interpretive capacities
  • co-developing programs with audiences 
  • building coalitions of diverse constituents
  • partnering with new allies
  • infusing digital media into interpretive communication/media, 
  • providing opportunities for all audiences to enjoy and value NPS resources and take actions of consequence for themselves and their communities.

from Interpretive Skills for a 21st Century Vision Paper 2014 



  • A summary of the shift in interpretation and visitor engagement at nps A short handout summarizing some of the shifts the NPS has seen over the last3-5 years and getting at what Audience Centered Engagement (ACE) is about.check out the ...
    Posted Feb 16, 2017, 7:01 AM by G. Dominic Cardea
  • Docs are up! Many more documents and links were added. Go to the file drawer .Over the next week I will be creating links and information in the pages that organizes everything a ...
    Posted Apr 11, 2014, 3:10 PM by G. Dominic Cardea
  • Site continues to grow I am concentrating on adding docs and getting information up about the recent class in Grand Teton National Park. Today I will also add a tab on the Train the ...
    Posted Apr 9, 2014, 12:52 PM by G. Dominic Cardea
  • The architecture is getting started! Welcome! just starting. Got the bones on the creature- now I am adding to them! The website is off and running. I am starting with documents and files. I intend ...
    Posted Apr 1, 2014, 3:25 PM by G. Dominic Cardea
Showing posts 1 - 4 of 4. View more »

New Docs and Files

  • 21st Ce Interp-The Shift-summary-031317.pdf   328k - Feb 16, 2017, 6:50 AM by G. Dominic Cardea (v1)
  • Attribute_Stones_Dialogue_Technique_Batavia.docx   14k - Sep 21, 2014, 1:26 PM by Carol Blaney (v1)
    ‎A new technique for facilitating dialogue‎
  • Wilderness_Program_Grand Teton_Cathie_Batavia.docx   18k - Sep 21, 2014, 1:23 PM by Carol Blaney (v1)
    ‎Facilitated dialogue program description, plus analysis--from GRTE blog‎
  • Voices_for_Wilderness_dialogue_Neil_Stillman.docx   19k - Sep 21, 2014, 1:21 PM by Carol Blaney (v1)
  • GRTE_Wilderness_Program_Emilee_Helton.docx   15k - Sep 21, 2014, 1:22 PM by Carol Blaney (v1)
    ‎Facilitated dialogue program description, plus analysis--from GRTE blog‎
Showing 5 files from page File Drawer.