Tuesday, September 12, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Evolution of a Special Event: Weaving Interpretation into Holiday Traditions
Jennifer Dick – Royal Botanical Gardens
In 2015, the Royal Botanical Gardens faced unprecedented popularity with huge lineups at multiple points throughout their Holiday Traditions event. A good problem to be sure, but one that required adaptation as a result of the visitor experience being compromised. By working closely together, the special events and interpretation teams revitalized the event with a new Santa’s Cabin Experience with timed-ticketing, costumed interpretation, storytelling, hot chocolate, and other plant-based holiday traditions.
Jennifer is Royal Botanical Gardens’ Interpretation Officer where she coordinates interpretation in their 11 square-kilometres of gardens and nature sanctuaries. After completing a graduate diploma in Science Communication ten years ago, she began her adventure (aka career) as an interpreter working for museums, parks, and not-for-profits across Canada.
Incorporating Inquiry-based Learning into Education Programs
Earle Wiebe - Royal Tyrrell Museum
Inquiry-based learning starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios – rather than simply presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. It’s about triggering curiosity, which is far more important than mere information delivery. As interpreters, it is our challenge and responsibility to engage people in learning so that they develop the skills and knowledge to function in today’s world. In this presentation, you will discover some of the guiding principles of inquiry-based learning, and see some first-hand examples of how the Royal Tyrrell Museum incorporates this technique in to its school and public programs.
Earle Wiebe is the Head of Education at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. He has worked here for over 20 years, and has seen many changes to the education programming. His background includes a B.Sc. degree and a Renewable Resource Management Diploma, as well as experience as an interpreter with the Canadian Wildlife Service and Alberta Provincial Parks.
Squirrel!: A Visitor Experience Team Thoroughly Plans Two New Exhibits
Lisa McDonald – Calgary Zoo
Stroll through a customer journey exercise with several of our customer personas, looking at the experiences they’d like to have, what we would like them to experience and the resulting implications for program planning and messaging.
Lisa McDonald is the Manager of Visitor Experience at The Calgary Zoo. It’s the kind of job that doesn’t really seem like work. She’s currently focused on creating programming that helps young children build empathy for the natural world and forging new community partnerships.
An Anarchist’s Address
Edward VanVliet - Alberta Historic Sites
In 2016 Frank Vagnone and Deborah Ryan published the Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums. Instigated by a visit to a historic house museum, and their experience with the interpretation there, the authors captured and collected the various issues and challenges they had regarding the way we interact with historical spaces. This workshop will explore those questions and discuss how we might navigate them, and will also incorporate a hands-on interactive component where we will explore an interpretive space, and put these questions into practice.
Edward van Vliet is easily distracted by new ideas and will take every opportunity to explore a rabbit trail. He combines a passion for learning with an insatiable curiosity. His most recently preferred personal statement is, to paraphrase Adventure Time’s Demon Cat, “I have approximate knowledge of many things.”
Tuesday, September 12, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
The Customer Service of Interpretation
Joanna Northover - Royal Tyrrell Museum
Interpreters are educators, but they are also “front line staff” interacting with guests and providing answers to questions both philosophical and practical. By using the principles and best practices of customer service, interpreters can satisfy their audiences, fill seats in programs, and improve visitor experiences. Interpreters can also use their unique skill set to provide important support to other “front line” areas to enhance a guest’s experience of the facility inside and outside of program time.
Joanna Northover grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. While completing her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in palaeontology, she worked two summers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and part time at the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 2011, she started her full time Science Educator position at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Charlotte Swanson & Nikki Bereth - Science World
With the right tools and a collaborative community, engaging outreach is within your grasp. Our interactive session will introduce the topic with an overview of Science World’s current outreach programs and the many partnerships that support it. It will lead into a breakout discussion to allow participants to share and reflect on the challenges or motivations for outreach in their home institutions. Finally, it will wrap up with an activity where participants will explore the major components of successful outreach as well as make an “outreach toolkit” of their own.
Deprogramming School Program
Pam Murray - Milner Gardens & Woodland
Typical school programs at interpretive sites provide hands-on opportunities for teachers to expose their students to curriculum linked material in an engaging, real-world environment. But are they effective? These programs come with challenges - kids don`t care about learning outcomes, parent helpers can be distracting, and the goals of our sites don`t always match the curriculum. What would happen if we made our school programs child-centred, kicked out the parent helpers, allowed time for play, and made the building of an emotional connection to our site the main goal of our programs?
Currently the coordinator of the successful Shoots with Roots program at Milner Gardens & Woodland, Pam Murray has 20 years of experience in the coordination and delivery of school programs in diverse sites, from fish hatcheries to botanical gardens to provincial parks. She is also a certified teacher, and the current Chair of Interpretation Canada.
Hearts First, Then Minds: Using Emotion to Connect People and Places
Cal Martin – Frog in the Pocket
Interpreters want to make a difference. Working towards this noble goal, staff often feel that “if people only knew more about _______ (nature, history, etc.), they would behave differently.” However, knowledge about a subject is not necessarily connected to how much someone cares, or even how much they act. In this inspiring presentation, Cal Martin will discuss this new thinking in the field and make a passionate plea for interpreters to focus on emotional approaches to connect people with their places.
Cal Martin lives and breathes interpretation. For 25 years, he shared his passion at parks, historic sites, nature centres, aquariums, and more. Having trained staff of over 100 interpretive sites, he has also presented in 5 countries on 3 continents. Cal has been on IC’s Board since 2003.
Tuesday, September 12, 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
The Palaeo Project: Blending Citizen Science and Interpretation
Morgan Syvertsen -Royal Tyrrell Museum
Citizen science is a powerful tool for interpreters and researchers alike. It allows the public to better understand and contribute to our scientific knowledge through hands-on learning experiences and allows research to collect data that may not have been possible on their own. The Royal Tyrrell Museum has incorporated citizen science into some areas of its interpretive programming. This workshop will introduce the concept of citizen science, and present a case study of its development and implementation within the summer Badlands Science Camp program and as a school program at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Morgan Syvertsen has been the Science Camp Director at the Royal Tyrrell Museum for the past ten years. As a former teacher and counsellor, Morgan’s focus has been on building relationships and a sense of community. An annual 60% returning camper rate speaks to the success of this emphasis.
Be Inspired to Inspire
Jacquie Gilson – InterpActive Planning
Interpreters inspire visitors; it’s what we do! But to do it effectively we need to be inspired ourselves. Jacquie Gilson will share results from her doctoral research into inspiration in interpretation and lead a World Cafe dialogue on how we can inspire both ourselves and visitors.
Jacquie is a planner and trainer with InterpActive, her own consulting company. Over the last 30 years she has worked for a variety of parks organizations as a planner, educator and manager. She recently completed her Doctorate focused on inspiration in interpretation and loves talking about what inspires people.
How to Make A Video on a Shoestring Budget
Sandra Corbeil - Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
A hands on workshop sharing simple processes and useful tools used in the creation of short videos. We’ll share our lessons learned, some tools we developed and give participants an opportunity to actually make a video during this session.
Sandra is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Networks at the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. She has more than 25 years experience working as an education, communication and outreach leader. She is known for her strategic thinking and creativity.
Tuesday, September 12, 3:15 p.m.–3:45 p.m.
Digging Up the Past to Ensure a Sustainable Future
David Lloyd - Dinosaur Provincial Park
This workshop will be about the successes of the Guided Excavation (GE) Program at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The GE program is a citizen science type interpretive program where members of the public get directly involved in the science of palaeontology while excavating in a ceratopsian (horned dinosaur) bonebed.
David started working as a preparator in the lab at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in May 2005. Since 2012, he has run the summer Guided Excavation program at Dinosaur Provincial Park while working as a Collections Technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum the rest of the year.
History Interpretation 2.0
Maud-Fred Cote Leblanc - Parks Canada
In the world of the internet, users are more and more used to producing their own content. Museums and historic sites can adopt this approach by offering visitors the opportunity to add their voices to the message. By letting them generate new content in the exhibit, visitors are no longer only spectators, but collaborators in the storytelling. In this participatory museology, we have to rethink the role of interpreters more as facilitators that engage visitors with the message and help them to create content that will guide them to understand the history through their own knowledge. The workshop will be based on the case study of the Imagine a Country project that has been presented for the last 3 years at Sir-George-Etienne-Cartier National Historic Site in Montreal.
Maud-Fred Côté-Leblanc has been a museologist and exhibit designer for more than 12 years. She joined Parks Canada in 2014 where she developed new interpretive plans for the national historic sites in the west of Québec.
Pushing the Tilden Rex Into Extinction
Dr. Michele Fontana
Is Tilden still relevant in heritage interpretation today? Tilden’s historical role is indisputable as a founding father of interpretation in North American parks. However, his vision of interpretation as “an educational activity” has contributed to create the current ‘educational paradigm’. Is such a paradigm now preventing the exploration of more contemporary and visitor-centred forms of interpretation?
Michele Fontana holds a PhD in Museum and Theatre Studies (Victoria University, New Zealand), an MSc in Science Communication (Imperial College, U.K.), and a BSc in Environmental Sciences (UNIMIB, Italy). Her research focuses on heritage interpretation, live performance, and science communication.
Dino-mite Ideas for 21st Century Interpretation
Isabelle Frederick - Edmonton Valley Zoo
Feel fossilized when it comes to creating new interpretation ideas? Stuck in the triassic period trying to engage your guests? At the Edmonton Valley Zoo we have innovated and created some one of a kind 21st century interpretation experiences and we want to share them with YOU! Learn about our new mobile move to play app called “Discovery Agents” or walk the runway with us for our Zoolander Fashion Show! Check out our Fascination Station, a one of kind solar powered mobile microscope or join us in the GO WILD Tent for some interactive learning activities. Don’t risk your programs going extinct! Come be inspired by our presentation to create some dino-mite ideas of your own!
Isabelle Frederick is passionate about interpretation; having gained her expertise at Edmonton’s key attractions: Fort Edmonton Park, Edmonton Valley Zoo, John Janzen Nature Centre, & Muttart Conservatory. In addition, Isabelle holds a Master’s degree in Modern Languages & Cultural Studies. In her current role at the zoo, she oversees daily animal talks and activities, courses offered for all age ranges, and interpretive signage.
Thursday, September 14, 10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Inviting the Past Into the Present Using Cooking and Gardening Programs
Lessia Petriv and Iryna Tatko - Ukrainian Heritage Village
With constantly growing interest to simplify lifestyles and make it healthier, museums are the perfect place to learn about basic skills from the past. This important knowledge from the past that our museum preserves is vital to share with this and future generations. It can help visitors to see greater relevance of the museum in their modern lives and can help them to apply lessons from the past in the present through their daily activities. In our workshop we will talk about developing and delivering new programs using our cultural heritage and knowledge of these historic skills.
Lessia Petriv has been working at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village as a Senior Interpreter for 19 years. She is involved in delivering education programs, supervising summer staff, developing programs for school curriculum and involved in Historic Garden Programs and as a mentor for new interpreters.
Iryna Tatko came to Alberta in 2009 from Ukraine. With a background in education and working experience in teaching and tourism, she works as a Senior Interpreter at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village dedicating herself to delivering programs to customers, working with children and supervising seasonal staff.
STE(A)M - the incorporation of Art into the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Catrina Russell – New Brunswick Museum
This workshop will explore difficulties interpreters may encounter in conveying complex scientific topics to youth audiences, while suggesting ways to improve and redefine education on these subjects.. Using art and movement to bring fossils back to life and make scientific topics more accessible to youth is a passion of the presenter. This active, hands-on session will introduce tools to help facilitate STE[A]M creation and leave participants living, breathing, and maybe even smelling fossils of all kinds!
Catrina Russell is a Public Programmer at the New Brunswick Museum. She studied Geology at the University of New Brunswick and Space Science at the International Space University. Catrina is passionate about promoting science literacy and currently volunteers with Stonehammer UNESCO Geopark and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Reinventing the Brontosaurus: Uncovering New Canadian Audiences for Interpreters
Brian Orr – Alberta Parks
Most visitors to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park near Camrose, Alberta are returning families of campers as well as day users with fewer than 8% of visitors taking in an interpretive program. Those who attend interpretive programs are typically repeat customers. Since 2015, staff at Miquelon, in partnership with Edmonton Catholic Social Services, have been fostering a grassroots approach to finding new campers and bringing in a new interpretive audience in the form of a learn-to-camp mentorship camping program. This session will introduce participants to this mentor camping dynamic and explore the success of the program at reaching this new audience Interviews with staff and participants will be featured as well as our success with breaking down barriers and bringing these new Canadians to our interpretive programs.
Brian Orr has been a park interpreter since 2006, working at Dinosaur Provincial Park for eight seasons and now leads interpretation at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. He has a BSc in Primatology, a Bachelors of Education from the University of Calgary and is now working on his MA in Environmental Education and Communication from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC.
Thursday, September 14, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
The Art of Making Memories
Don Enright – Don Enright Consulting
We all aspire to creating unforgettable experiences for our visitors… but how do we make sure we do so? We’ll examine some of the current research into memory-making in the tourism business, and apply it to our own programs.
Don Enright is an freelance interpretive planner, writer and naturalist based in British Columbia. With over thirty years’ experience in national, provincial, regional and municipal parks, Don is a two-time winner of Interpretation Canada’s gold medal in personal interpretation, and a triple recipient of Parks Canada’s CEO Award.
Inquiry Based Learning in the Voyageur Museum
Robert Malo – Tibert Le Voyageur
In this hand-on inquiry based learning system, TiBert le Voyageur, in full voyageur costume brings over 100 artifacts from the fur trade era including furs from local animals that participants can inspect at their own pace. Theories and techniques on how create a learning environment that foster inquiry are shared throughout this interactive workshop.
Rob Malo is a writer, performer, and community-builder who shares his passion for history and culture through traditional music, storytelling and song. Drawing on his background in interpretation and educational programming, and using storytelling, song, music, and props, he delights kids and adults at schools and festivals as TiBert le Voyageur.
Sitzfleisch and Purzelbaum (Practicing Endurance while Somersaulting)
Using Social Learning Theory to Plan Signage, Design Exhibits and Encourage Guests to Take Action
Chrissy Begus – Calgary Zoo
A recent course in conservation psychology hit our education team hard. We had to recognize that education does not impact human behavior unless combined with other techniques. We’ll share our learnings in attempting to incorporate social learning theory in the design of exhibits, signage and how it is helping us interact more effectively with guests in encouraging them to take action.
Chrissy Begus is a passionate educator, zoologist, & Certified Interpreter Trainer with the National Association of Interpretation. She has been with the Calgary Zoo education team since 2006 supporting interpretive design and visitor experience, coordinating interpretive staff and educational resources, and sharing her passions for animal behavior and sustainable living.