Concurrent Sessions

More info to come but, in the meantime, here are some of the great sessions we have to look forward to!

Explorations (20 minutes + 10 for questions)

Digital STORY sharing — Let An App Be Your Guide!

Fred Sheppard (he/him), Parks Canada

Parks Canada staff are storytellers, guides, and partners in sharing stories with Canadians.  We recently started using a mobile guided tour app to share other stories and unheard voices with visitors.  Join Fred as he weaves a tale of how Indigenous voices, difficult history stories, historic images and videos, flora, fauna, and geology all share their stories through a mobile guided tour app. The app is the medium, the story is the message! Digital Story sharing is another invitation to visitors to experience and engage with stories of a parks or site, at their own pace.  Come share your stories with us!  

Bio- Fred has been working, dreaming, and laughing about interpretation at Parks Canada for 500 million years! He is the recipient of two Parks Canada CEO Awards and the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, for inspiring memorable visitor experiences. He’s presently working in content development, dialogic spaces, and lifting unheard voices.

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Siawasik/Continuation: Collaborative Exhibit Development during a Global Pandemic

Amber Laurie (She/her); Selena Kemp (She/her); Roger Marsters (Him/he); Gerry Lunn (Him/he)

Learn how an exhibit team committed to collaboratively developing interpretation reflecting contemporary Mi’kmaw people’s relation to the waters of Mi’kma’ki navigated the disruptions of a pandemic during the exhibit-development processes.

Bios- Salina Kemp, Mi’kmaw historian, is particularly interested in helping provide Mi’kmaw youth with a sense of cultural pride through representation, & to educate Canadians about our treaty relationship.

Roger Marsters is a marine & cultural historian; his doctoral dissertation examines the relation of Indigenous maritime knowledge to hydrographic mapping projects during the 18th & 19th centuries.

Amber Laurie’s current research focus on the early modern period, the concept of freedom, however it is defined & experienced, is what unites her interest in history across centuries.

Gerry Lunn has been working within the museum interpretation field for over 25 years.

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A case study of provincial parks in Alberta, Canada: visitor motivations, and emotional responses of attending personal interpretation programs

Clara-Jane Blye (she/her); Glen Hvenegaard; Elizabeth Halpenny

Emotions have direct connections to story telling and creating memorable experiences through interpretive programs. The goal of this project was to examine visitor motivations, outcomes, and emotions associated with attending interpretation programs in provincial parks in Alberta.

Bios- Clara-Jane Blye is an Instructor of Recreation Management at Dalhousie University and a PhD candidate at the University. She studies environmental psychology and focuses on connecting diverse populations to Canadian parks. Her research is connected to individual’s interactions with nature environments, tourism experience, environmental education, and environmental stewardship.

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Unearthing the untold: The impact of bioarchaeological evidence on interpretation at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Sarah MacInnes She/Her); Dr. Amy Scott; Daniel Pitcher (He/Him)

How can the physical remains of the deceased inform the stories we share? An exploration of how bioarchaeological research is shaping our understanding, and telling, of lived experiences in Louisbourg.

Bios- Sarah MacInnes, with experience in both public history and archives, works to support the development of visitor experiences, facilitate research opportunities and increase public accessibility to Louisborg’s extensive collections.

Dr. Amy Scott is a bioarchaeologist who specialises in studies of stress and health in ancient populations. She has served as the Program Director for the UNB Bioarchaeology Field School since its inception. 

Daniel Pitcher has decades of experience in interpretation and cultural resource management at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. His previous research focused on the lived experiences of Louisbourg’s labourer-soldiers.

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Beyond Words: What stories do interpretive sign designs tell?

Christie Brodie (she/her)

Join Christie as she dives into the world of sign design: including the strategies, considerations, and stories that can be told from an interpretive sign without using any words.

Bios- Christie has been an Interpretation Coordinator at Royal Botanical Gardens since 2014. In this role she has worked on dozens of interpretive projects, from complete exhibit creation to leading meet the animal shows. Christie also moonlights as RBG’s Print Shop Coordinator, where she strives to make signage anything but boring.

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Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity in Community Museums: Storytelling, Reparations, and Reciprocity between the Colchester Historeum and Colchester’s African Nova Scotian Community

Ashley Sutherland (she/her); Nevin Jackson (he/him)

This session will explore the recent collaborative efforts to uncover and interpret the history of the local African Nova Scotian communities that have been underrepresented in local historical narratives.

Bios- Ashley Sutherland is the Archivist/Curator at the Colchester Historeum. Ashley received her MA in Art History with a concentration in art exhibition and curatorial practices from Carleton University. During this time, she completed an eight-month practicum at the National Gallery of Canada. In addition, she holds a BFA in Visual Art.

Nevin Jackson is a retired Education Administrator who served as a Vice Principal/Principal at secondary schools in Colchester and was the Coordinator of Diversity for the Chignecto school region. Nevin grew up on West Prince Street, one of Truro’s African Nova Scotian communities, and has dedicated much time to uncovering, documenting, and sharing Truro’s AFNS community history.

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Win-Win: Museum Meets Community Theatre

Thea Wilson-Hammond (she/her)

When a rural museum wanted to tell the stories of residents living in the 1940s, they helped create a community theatre group and forged a beautiful partnership.

Bio- Thea Wilson-Hammond is the Executive Director of Memory Lane Heritage Village, a living history museum depicting life in the 1940s on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. From an early age Thea was steeped in the stories of these rural coastal communities, and while she has had many adventures further afield, she is honoured to be part of the Memory Lane team since 2005.

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Made of Lies: The Multiple Truths of Storytelling

Katherine MacLeod; Hannah Krebs

Using storytelling in first person animation at Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village Museum to interpret multi-faceted history through a Gaelic Nova Scotia cultural lens.

Bios- Katherine MacLeod, Manager of Interpretation, B.A. Celtic Studies, Canadian History, St.F.X., Adv.Dip. Museum Studies, Algonquin College. Katherine MacLeod began her career in 2008 at Baile nan Gàidheal and has been in her current role as Manager of Interpretation since 2017. Growing up in a Gaelic community, Katherine has been immersed in her culture from birth. She went on to take degrees in Canadian and Celtic history as well as Museum Studies.

Hannah Krebs, Ban-chleasaiche, B.A. Celtic Studies, St.F.X., Cert. H.E. Gàidhlig is Conaltradh, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Hannah Krebs is a Ban-Chleasaiche | Gaelic Cultural Animator at Baile nan Gàidheal. She is a fluent Gaelic speaker and holds a degree in Celtic Studies. Outside of her work at the Highland Village, she teaches community Gaelic language classes, and always enjoys a good céilidh or square dance.

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Bridging the Gap between Research and Digital Storytelling in Online Collections

Sandi Stewart

This session will highlight research on the boatbuilding and shipbuilding industry in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia (1800s-1900s) that was completed at the Shelburne County Museum in efforts to strengthen digital storytelling and accessibility in online collections. Highlights from the research and digitization process that led to key connections will be shared, as well as results as seen by the public through online galleries on NovaMuse.ca. This research project was supported by the Shelburne County Museum and funded by the Helen Creighton Folklore Society Grants In-Aid (2018-2019).

Bio- Sandi Stewart is a part-time instructor with the School of Information Management (Faculty of Management) at Dalhousie University. She studied Folklore (MA, BA) at Memorial University of Newfoundland and has supported museums and archives through her work for approximately 7 years.

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In the beginning, there were stories...

Richard Kool (he/ him)

More than 60 years ago, Yorke Edwards set a course for the development of interpretation in Canada, and Yorke’s ideas about how to craft a good story are still relevant today.

Bio- Rick is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, and in 1982, became the first secretary of the BC section of Interpretation Canada because at the time, he was the only one with access to a word processor.

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Tourism Tales – Niche Signature Experiences in Museums and Tourism Stops

Amanda Gallagher (she/her); Katrina Pyke (she/her)

Join the Pickering Museum Village’s program staff as we take participants through the experience of weaving a thematic, interpretive story into two signature tourism routes.

Bios- Amanda Gallagher is an emerging museum professional with a BA in History (Laurentian University), and a post-graduate certificate in Museum Management & Curatorship (Fleming College). She leads the PMV’s tourism initiatives, and wants to tell the stories of artifacts, people, and intangible heritage in exciting ways.

Katrina Pyke has worked in museums for 30 years. She has an Honours B.A. in History and an M.A. in Public History from the University of Waterloo. Katrina is responsible for creating, developing, and evaluating education and public programs for all ages - she’s committed to making history FUN.

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Interpreting Enslavement — The importance of broad-based collaboration

Eddie Kennedy (he/him); and panelists


Who owns the story of enslavement? How does an agency ensure that the appropriate voices are brought into the discussion and decision making circle?


Bios- A working group has been established with employees from Parks Canada and a number of community members, including representatives from African Nova Scotia Association, Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office, Membertou First Nation, Potlotek First Nation, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources, etc. The mandate of this group is to ensure a community lead initiative and it meets every few weeks (depending on research uncovered, or progress being made).

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Panel Discussions and Participatory Workshops (60 minutes)


Telling Tales on TikTok!

Joanna Northover (she/her)

Are you interested in adding TikTok to your social media outreach? Success on this platform can be frustrating, exciting, and mysterious. Let's explore, and share tips, for creating engaging posts, having meaningful interactions with the public, and different ways to use this popular app to tell your unique stories (in 1 minute or less).

Bio- Joanna is anScience Communicator/Museum Educator with a M.Sc. in paleontology and a love of fossils. She is currently exploring the world of full-time parenting and using social media to continue her journey in educating, interpreting, and learning!

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Nobody reads my signage!

Lauryn Record (She/Her)

Let's explore how mixing narrative styles in interpretive writing can create dynamic, multi-sensory signage and engage audiences more deeply in our stories.

Bio- Lauryn works with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo to weave stories of people, land and wildlife into the fabric of the visitor experience at the zoo. She combines theming, atmosphere, narratives, art, and science into visitor journeys that ignite passion for the natural world and conservation of wild places.


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Unstructured Structure: Improv Activities for Interpreters

Carly Robillard (They/Them or She/Her); Lauren Markewicz (she/her); Heather Doyle (she/her)

These improvisation activities work to exercise an interpreter’s skills with common challenges such as pacing, staying on theme, and admitting knowledge limits. All experience levels welcome, whether coaching or nervous about these skills yourself.

Bios- Carly, Lauren, and Heather have all spent several years working as heritage interpreters for Parks Canada and other heritage conservation organizations. They now supervise other interpreters in the craft at their sites. In addition, Carly has spent several off-seasons participating in community theatre and improvisational comedy as a hobby.

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Inspired to Share Stories

Jacquie Gilson (she/ her); Richard Kool (he/ him)

Story sharing in interpretation could inspire visitors more so than one-way storytelling. Nine characteristics of inspiration gleaned from the literature support two-way story sharing to inspire people. Let’s explore!

Bios- Jacquie received her Doctor of Social Sciences degree from Royal Roads University in 2015, after studying inspiration in interpretation. Jacquie retired from being an Interpretation Coordinator for Parks Canada and now runs her own company, InterpActive. Look for her book Inspired to Inspire: Holistic Inspirational Interpretation at https://www.amazon.ca/Inspired-Inspire-Holistic-Inspirational-Interpretation/dp/B08SB3922Y

Rick is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, and in 1982, became the first secretary of the BC section of Interpretation Canada because at the time, he was the only one with access to a word processor.

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Changing the world in 100 words or less

Don Enright (he/him)

In this interpretive writing session you will take scientific abstracts and turn them into rich, evocative interpretive texts. You will offer and receive constructive feedback on your writing. Don will offer techniques and guidance on how to get there.

Bio- Don Enright is a freelance interpretive planner and visitor experience advisor with over 30 years' experience in Canada. Don is passionate about working with heritage sites, parks, museums, and other organizations to ignite social change through storytelling and hands-on experience with the world around us.

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Drawing in Heritage Interpretation

Dr. Tim Fedak; Gerald Gloade; Nancy Nickolson; Veronica Post

Artists and museum educators discuss the power of drawing for heritage interpretation and storytelling, through heritage comics and use of ‘drawing docents’ and ‘case studies’ to encourage drawing communities.

Bios- Dr. Tim Fedak is the Curator of Geology with the Nova Scotia Museum, with a primary professional focus on the history of geoscience and palaeontology. 

Gerald Gloade is an artist and educator who is currently the Program Development Officer for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre. 

Nancy Nickolson (she/her) is an artist, children’s book illustrator, museum educator, and the current Family Program Coordinator at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. 

Veronica Post is an award-winning graphic novelist born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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Learning Science with Superheros and Talking Fish – the art of science storytelling

Michelle Campbell Mekarski (she/her); Renée-Claude Goulet (she/her); Cassandra Marion (she/her)

How can dragons, superheroes, and talking animals contextualize science and its implications, relevance, and value for society? Stories are a powerful tool to connect science with the human experience. Curious?

Bios- Renée-Claude, Cassandra, and Michelle are the Science Advisors for Ingenium Canada, at the Agriculture and Food; Aviation and Space; and Science and Technology Museums respectively. As science advisors, their goal is to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public — specializing in making science engaging, accessible, and fun.

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Spirit of Collaboration: Sharing Diverse Stories Interwoven Through Time

Barb MacDonald (Her/She/elle); Malve Petersmann (Her/She/elle); Chantelle MacDonald (Her/She/elle); Anne Marie Lane Jonah (Her/She/elle); Jesse Francis (Him/He/il); Julie Pelissier-Lush (Her/She/elle)

This panel discussion will focus on how Parks Canada has been working together with representatives from the Mi’kmaq of PEI, as well as cultural stakeholders of Acadian and British descent, to share the complex history of Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst NHS from different perspectives. The project team worked collaboratively with an advisory committee to create interpretive media that focuses on universal themes and messages. Stories of the different cultures who lived or frequented the site were interwoven to highlight how they were connected through time. Members of the panel will discuss the benefits of sharing authority through collaboration for a more inclusive approach to story telling and will share best practices and lessons learned.

Bios- Barb MacDonald has worked for Parks Canada for over 35 years, mostly in the fields of Interpretation and Visitor Experience, and has led or participated on several project teams in the development of interpretive media projects over the years. She was a board member of Interpretation Canada from 2011 to 2017 and also served as the Awards Chair during this time. She is currently the Field Unit lead on the Stories of Canada project for Skmaqn--Port-la-Joye--Fort Amherst NHS.

Malve Petersmann is a Project Manager with Project Delivery Services, Visitor Experience Projects with Parks Canada's National Office and has a wealth of experience in leading projects that involve collaboration with Indigenous partners and stakeholders. She served as project manager for this project for the PEI Field Unit.

Chantelle MacDonald is a Project Coordinator with Parks Canada in PEI. She has been involved in planning and coordinating several interpretive projects and currently works closely with Malve on this project. 

Anne Marie Lane Jonah is a Parks Canada Historian who was involved in developing the new Framework for History and Commemoration. She has worked on a number of interpretive projects that are based on the principles and best practices in the framework. 

Jesse Francis has a joint position as Strategic Initiatives Manager with L'nuey, the Rights based organization for the Mi'kmaq of PEI, and Parks Canada. He has played an integral part of our project team and has also worked previously on the development of several interpretive films and other projects. 

Julie Pelissier-Lush is a Mi'kmaq Knowledge Keeper with L'nuey and is also the Poet Laureate for PEI. She wrote a poem about the site for the new interpretive film and has also contributed her knowledge in development of the script.

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Interpreting Controversial Stories at Parks Canada Administered National Historic Sites with a Doubled-Edged Sword

Carmen Hancock (She); Caitlyn Quade (She); Linda Wong (She); Valerie Martin (She); Aarin Crawford (She)

Parks Canada interpreters present their experiences adapting and sharing the stories of some of Canada’s most controversial historical figures and heritage buildings at national historic sites.

Bios- Caitlyn Quade is the Visitor Services Team Leader at Fort Wellington National Historic Site in Prescott, Ontario. She has been interpreting Canadian history to the public for fourteen years.

Linda Wong is the Interpretation Officer at Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site in Gravenhurst,Ontario. She has fourteen years of experience interpreting at historic sites and producing visitor experience products for Parks Canada.

Valerie Martin is the Interpretation Officer at Bellevue House National Historic Site in Kingston, Ontario. She has a PhD in History from Queen’s University.

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Panel on Storytelling

Margaret JA Knickle PHD; Elder Ellen Hunt

Interests in decolonization storytelling and interpretation

Bios- Elder Hunt is a Mi'kmaw Elder and Margaret Knickle does research on decolonization.

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Telling Tales to Toddlers: Storytelling in the Early Years

Shannon Sveda (she/her)

Once upon a time, I told a funny little story about two animals who raced across a pond. Join me to hear the story behind the story.

Bio- Shannon Sveda is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who has been working with young children and their families for almost two decades. Most recently, Shannon has incorporated her passion for nature into her work, facilitating outdoor learning experiences through community nature play programs, as well as school and public programs.

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"Talhelqua gives birth to new calf!": How Stories save Endangered Species

Rachel Schoeler (she/her) and Athena George (she/her)


Join us in this hands-on workshop to explore best practices for communicating difficult topics to very diverse (and passionate) audiences.


Bios- Rachel Schoeler is a Public Outreach Education Officer with Parks Canada focused on outreach, education and communications related to Southern Resident Killer Whales. She is passionate about engaging and empowering communities to connect with and protect wild outdoor spaces.

In the summers, Athena George works as an interpreter at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. In the winters, she develops visitor experience products for Parks Canada. Currently, she’s creating programs to inspire visitors to save endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.




Interpretation Canada c/o Kerry Wood Nature Centre 6300 45th Ave Red Deer, AB, Canada  T4N 3M4

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