How to Prepare an Interpretive Program

Learn the components of a successful interpretive program and how to formulate a meaningful interpretive talk of your own.




Creating an interpretive program is about more than just outlining a speech. In this one-hour webinar, participants will learn the components of a successful interpretive program, and how to formulate a meaningful interpretive talk that connects visitors to their site. Participants will also be given a worksheet tool that they can use to help them create their own interpretive program.

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About the Presenter

Mike Capps has been an interpreter with National Park Service for 27 years, 15 of them at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, where he is the Chief of Interpretation and Resource Management. During his tenure at Lincoln Boyhood, he has developed a keen interest in the park’s establishment and development over the years. Capps asserts that the park’s story represents an important period within the history of the preservation movement, when the creation of memorial edifices and landscapes was an important expression of the nation’s reverence for Abraham Lincoln. In addition to his responsibilities at Lincoln Boyhood, Capps has been a trainer for the NPS Fundamentals program, has numerous publications, and has served on the grant request rating panel for the Japanese American Confinement Sites program.

Webinar Format

This webinar was conducted using online conferencing software and captured for future viewing. It includes a digital recording of the presentation as well as electronic versions of the handouts discussed in the lecture. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Be able to:

  • Identify the relationship between resources, visitors, and interpretation.
  • Define tangible and intangible resources, universal concepts, and the relationship between these elements.
  • Recognize the key components of a well-organized interpretive program.
  • Describe at least three effective presentation techniques.

    Recommended Background

    There are no prerequisites for this webinar.


    Good basic overviewReview by Zackery Z
    I enjoyed the casual delivery, step by step overview and personal anecdotes.

    One problem was the slides/visuals often advanced to the next while the speaker is still talking about the previous image. Would be good to re-edit this recording.

    Like a lot of good eduction and interpretation, this introduces new concepts that bring up many more questions. I look forward to advanced trainings in interp! (Posted on 5/26/2020)
    AmazingReview by Kendra
    This was an amazing and incredibly informative course. It does a great job at keeping people engaged. (Posted on 4/19/2020)
    Great overview/reviewReview by Barbara
    Great overview/review of everything needed to prepare for an interpretive program. I particularly liked how a painting was used to explain how a tangible item could be used. A quick interpretive program right there. (Posted on 4/15/2020)
    summaryReview by Evan
    Information was presented in an easy manner and was made very well to understand (Posted on 3/23/2020)
    summaryReview by Evan
    Information was thorough and explained in a way that was easy to process and made much sense. (Posted on 3/23/2020)
    Good information. Will be helpful in the future.Review by Beth
    Has a lot of useful information that I can use when I am volunteering. (Posted on 9/5/2019)
    Good summary of the conceptsReview by John
    The presenter gave a good summary of the principles of preparing an interpretive program. Thank you. (Posted on 8/30/2019)
    Very good informationReview by Luke
    The information was well presented and provided many good tips for presenting information to park visitors. I will definitely use some of these tips when giving my own programs. The information was good, but video quality could have been better, and the presenter was somewhat monotone. Otherwise, the presentation was very good. (Posted on 7/31/2019)
    Very InformativeReview by Doniska
    The information that was presented was very helpful and gave the correct concepts that would be needed throughout the duration of this internship. Additionally, this presentation also informed me about the correct way to present and interpret information for the long run. (Posted on 6/6/2019)
    InformativeReview by Laurie
    Good info, albeit very basic. Still, a well prepared and thought through presentation. (Posted on 1/28/2019)
    Good summaryReview by Tara
    The material provided was good and the instructor was informative and easy to understand. However, the video quality could have been better and there was an issue at the end of the talk where the moderator spoke over the instructor, which made it impossible to understand and confusing. Luckily, this was a very short segment. (Posted on 11/13/2018)
    nice talkReview by Anton
    nice talk. (Posted on 2/5/2018)

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