Civil War to Civil Rights Interpretation: Best Practices for Heritage Interpreters

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This course provides best practices for interpreters charged with developing programs where Civil War and Civil Rights stories intersect.

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This course outlines best practices for heritage interpreters in Civil War to Civil Rights interpretation. The course will help interpreters enhance their research skills, develop an eye for identifying where the Civil War and Civil Rights stories intersect, and assemble a toolbox of interpretive techniques and tips specially tailored to these two meaningful topics.

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This training began as a Civil War to Civil Rights research project. The research component, in which researchers investigated currentthe interpretation methods being being used at eight specificdifferent NPS Civil War and Civil Rights sites, the number and types of visitors to these sites, and presumed explanations as toreasons why visitors are traveling to these parks or sites, as well as the reasons why visitors are not traveling to these sitesdo or do not travel to these sites. The ultimate goal of this research wais to assistimprove training development for interpreters at Civil War and Civil Rights themed sites.

Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

The course includes a best practices workbook, a set of videos, and a companion guide rather than other traditional e-course elements. The workbook outlines the researchers’ questions, methodology, and results and offers best practices for heritage interpreters in Civil War to Civil Rights interpretation. These best practices take the form of case study examples from the eight sites featured in the study and include discussion topics and questions that can be used by supervisors when leading staff training events. The series of videos demonstrates various interpretive techniques that can be used in Civil War and Civil Rights interpretation. The techniques exhibited in the videos are described in the companion guide, which also includes literature reviews in the form of annotated bibliographies.

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Be able to:

  • Identify where Civil War and Civil Rights stories intersect.
  • Identify objectives for a monitoring program.
  • Enhance your research skills.
  • Assemble a toolbox of interpretive techniques and tips specially tailored to these topics.

Recommended Background

The free Foundations of Interpretation course provides essential background information for this course.

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