The Benefits of Interpretation in Natural or Cultural Resource Research Facilities


The essay must answer the next question:
You have only two hours to introduce the subject of interpretation to an audience of managers of natural or cultural resource research facilities. Use specific examples to make a compelling case in 500 words or fewer for how interpretation will add value to the visitor’s understanding of their important research and applications of it. 

It would be great to refer to the next sources:
Interpretation of cultural and natural resources by Knudson, Cable and Beck
and Interpretation: Making a difference on purpose by Sam Ham
The topic of the essay is based on heritage and environmental interpretation and how it can be applied to improve the experience of visitor’s in the facilities. 


The Benefits of Interpretation in Natural or Cultural Resource Research Facilities

Success in heritage and environmental interpretation depends largely on the prior planning process that goes down in the preparation for a tour in a natural or cultural resource research facility. Visitors or fellow researchers touring a natural or cultural resource research facility expect to find a guide that will address most of their questions. The ability to deal with most of the possible questions that the visitors to any natural or cultural resource research facility may have depend on the interpretative planning by the guide. In such planning, the guide must identify and describe all the possible experiences that an average visitor may have and try to anticipate the questions that may arise. Another approach would be to look at the most frequent questions and find the most appropriate answer and offer possible leads on the same by referencing some other informational sources that may give the visitor a deeper perspective on a need basis. Many researchers seem to agree that guides must possess adequate skills in environmental interpretation by finding ways that will enable them to have new insightful pathways that will make them be positioned to make a difference through their work (Knudson, Cable & Beck, 1995; Turek, 2006). The only way that proper interpretation can be done when dealing with natural or cultural resource research facilities is through a series of steps geared towards improving interpretation.


First, the interpreter has to work on the introductory quality. This refers to the degree to which their introductory remarks capture the audience’s attention and pre-dispose them to the natural or cultural resource facility’s assessment (Ward & Wilkinson, 2006). For example, when guiding visitors around the Statue of Liberty, it is mandatory to give a short and captivating mini speech about its history and back it up with some basic illustrations and multimedia props. The other key factor for an interpreter to consider is the presence of the basic needs that the audience may need. These may include the appropriate technology-based props, restrooms, shades, and weather information. Next, the interpreter must make sure that the interpretation given aligns to the appropriateness for the audience based on the audience members’ cultures, ages, religion, level of knowledge, interests and experience (Ham, 2014).

In the developing the program’s content, interpreters must make sure that their work follows a logical sequence so that the audience can learn more effectively. The interpretation must also accommodate common attributes of proper transitions, and it must also link to the required intangible meanings and the already established universal concepts applicable because they are vital in easing communication and improving the audiences’ understanding. Knudson, Cable and Beck (1995) are of the view that the program must additionally address the multisensory demands required for learning, whereby the program content actively and intentionally engages more than the basic sight and sound senses of the audience members. Among other important requirements, the content and interpretation must be crafted with a goal of triggering physical, verbal and cognitive engagement wherever possible. 

Conclusively, the most important benefit of interpretation is that it predisposes the content of a tour around a cultural or natural resource facility. Interpretation takes in account the plan of the introductory remarks, the level of engagement required, the logical sequence of activities involved in planning the visit and all factors that comes in handy in planning for the delivery of ideal content for the tour. Henceforth, each tour must have the benefit of a well-researched and analyzed guide based on the interpretations from a person with superior understanding in matters relating to both natural and cultural resource facilities.


Knudson, D. M., Cable, T. T., & Beck, L. (1995). Interpretation of cultural and natural resources. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.

Ham, S. (2014). Interpretation: Making a difference on purpose. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Press.

Turek, E. M. (2006). Form follows function: Interpretive wisdom for environmental educators. Journal of Interpretation Research, 11(2), 47-51.

Ward, C. W. & Wilkinson, A. E. (2006). Conducting meaningful interpretation: A field guide for success. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Press.

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