Training Presentations

Tom and Barbara are available to provide training in various aspects of curation, interpretation and interpretive techniques, and history. These can be delivered virtually or in person, location permitting, using a combination of slides, videos, and live activities. Training can be customized for every site and delivered at any time. Costs range from between $100 to $400 depending on time. Contact us if you’d like to discuss something personalized for your needs!    

CONNECT 4: The Interpretive Equation in Four Simple Sessions

Length: 4x 1 hour web-based presentations

Recommended audience: 4-20 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets

For a well-rounded training experience for heritage interpreters and museum programmers, consider this package. You’ll not only get the two presentations above, but also special guest presenter Kevin Baron will add two more. The National Parks Service of the US uses this equation to break down training into four components:

(KA + KR) x AT = IO

KA is Knowledge of the Audience, KR is Knowledge of the Resource, AT is Appropriate Techniques, and IO is Interpretive Opportunities. Our sessions are as follows:

  1. Knowledge of the Audience: What are they doing here? Knowing the visitor in living history
  2. Knowledge of the Resource: STRATHCategories and the Fine Art of Research for Interpreters
  3. Appropriate Techniques: But how do you do it? ‘Appropriate techniques’ in living history interpretation.
  4. Interpretive Opportunities: Everyone’s a Critic – Evaluating Interpretive Programs.

My co-presenter Kevin Baron is a museum educator and interpreter with eleven years of experience in the field, including as supervisor and trainer. Click here for more.

STRATHCATEGORIES and the Fine Art of Research for Interpreters

Length: 45 minutes – 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-10 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC: Evaluating Interpretive Opportunities

Length: 45 minutes – 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 1-10 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets.

Hockey teams constantly review video of their games in order to reach the next level of greatness and there’s no reason interpreters shouldn’t do the same. This webinar will use that same principle to engage participants with evaluating several different interpretive programs, equipping them to better self-evaluate in the future. Participants will learn NAI’s POETRY model of program evaluation and put it into practice so that every program can strive to be purposeful, organized, enjoyable, thematic, relevant, and reflect your site’s values and strengths. This webinar is based on the National Association of Interpretation’s curriculum for the Certified Interpretive Guide course (which Tom is qualified to instruct). It also reflects the National Parks Service’s “Interpretive Equation” and can be purchased as a package with three other elements (see above).

INTERPLES TO INTERPLES: The Interpretation Training Game

Length: 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-10 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

“Sufficiently advanced learning is indistinguishable from play.” In this spin on the popular card game “Apples to Apples”, Tom will help your site develop personalized playing cards before the session even starts. Your site’s tangible buildings, artifacts, and activities will turn into our red cards and intangible themes, ideas, and visitor types will turn into our blue cards. Then our hour is devoted to either playing the game with your staff, or training your core staff to lead the game on their own! As a bonus, you keep your cards afterwards, to play during training or use as flash cards. You won’t believe how much fun interpretation training can be!

A cut-out ready Interples card

THE INTERPRETER’S TOOLBOX: Tours, Demonstrations, Conversations and When to Use Them

Length: 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-10 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

To a tour guide, everyone looks like an audience with time to kill. But the spectrum of interpretive activities is so large, it behooves you to consider the utility and challenges of each before you decide which to use and how. This session uses “Donnie Don’t” examples and break-out groups to evaluate the pitfalls of tours, demos, conversations, and even powerpoint webinars just like this one.

KNOWING IS (ONLY) HALF THE BATTLE: Interpreting Difficult History

Length: 1.5 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-15 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

No one can tell you how to change a visitor’s mind, or how to engage on a difficult topic with ease and and come out on the other side without repurcussions. If they did, politicians and family gatherings would be knocking down the door. But there are some guidelines to follow and some tips and tactics that will equip your interpreters for success in the field of difficult topics. Eugenics, colonialism, racism – if history isn’t upsetting, then you’re probably not reading enough of it. Museums can and should challenge visitors to face these facts, and interpreters are the frontline of this discussion.

INTERPRETATION 101: Making Connections, Revealing Meaning

Length: 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-15 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

Heritage Interpretation is a complex field with much to know, but every journey begins with a single step. This one hour introduction to interpretation will introduce attendees to the use of intangibles to reveal the greater meaning behind objects and artifacts, storytelling in interpretation, and how to classify and satisfy visitor motivations.

SUBLIMINAL, LIMINAL, AND SUPERLIMINAL: Using Video Review in Hiring and Training Interpreters

Length: 1 hour. 

Recommended audience: 3-15 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets. 

What if there were a way to almost invisibly influence your candidates to self-select in and out of your job based on your own interview? What if you could simultaneously test their interpretive instincts? And then what if you could use the exact same method to train them in best practices?

Sports teams review video playbacks as a way to get better by identifying mistakes and emphasizing successes. With all of youtube spread out before you, there’s no reason your site can’t do this as well. We’ll review this technique and then practise evaluating a video ourselves. We’ll also watch a clip from the Simpsons, because why not?

FROM THE GREAT WAR TO QUEER HISTORY: Case Studies in Living History

Length: 45 minutes to an hour (with time for questions)

Recommended audience: 4-20 persons

Delivered via: Zoom, Google Meets.

Tom shares case studies involving several public history and museum projects he’s been involved with from small to large. Hear about the multi-year building and launching of a historic wooden boat, or the process of interviewing community groups and turning their favourite stories into historical webcomics. Learn and become inspired by a grant-funded queer history project that shined a light into lesser known stories of Edmonton’s past and how to navigate their collection and depiction. Relevant to any museum or group of interpreters.

TESTIMONIALS:

“The programming team at the Nanaimo Museum have completed two training programs with Tom and have thoroughly enjoyed both of them. The training is engaging, inspiring and actionable. We have taken what we learned and are now using it in our programming planning at the museum. I would highly recommend Tom’s training and will think of him first for future training needs.” Sophia Maher, General Manager, Nanaimo Museum.

“What a valuable training opportunity. We walked away from our Interpretation 101 course with practical tools and systems to develop our tours with. Tom creatively designed his workshop to model some of the concepts he was teaching, and he took the time to ensure we could apply what we are learning to our local context. Highly recommend!” Claire Miller, Director, Wildernook Fresh Air Learning

“Tom’s engaging style and interactive presentation was concise and meaningful to our volunteers” Laura Nichol, Core Programs Manager, Fort Edmonton Park.

INQUIRIES

Fill out this form if you’d like to inquire about booking a training session:

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