02 September 2022

Inspiration or Interpretation?

Written by: Camila Saldivar

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the word interpretation? A language interpreter translating sentences? A student interpreting Shakespeare for the first time? In the National Park Services interpretation is a bridge between the intangible meanings of tangible resources and the general public, you. Just as a language interpreter translates sentences and creates opportunities for them to have meaning and significance to others, National Park Service Interpreters are creating opportunities to invoke inspiration through interpretation.

Interpretation is not instruction but provocation, inspiration to care. How do we get a person to care? To care about forest conservation, endangered species, history itself, and history in the making? This is where interpretation comes in as a bridge to highlight the significance of  resources and also facilitate the development of a personal connection to the resource. Essentially Interpretation is meant to answer the question, “Why should I care?” and invoke inspiration to act. 

My role within the realm of interpretation is as a Reviewer of Scientific Literature on Resource Interpretation. 

What does this mean?

I am providing Interpreters with existing data and resources on Interpretation through the creation of a database. With a database of scientific literature on Interpretation; National Park Service Interpreters will have access to empirical evidence at their fingertips. It is with a curated database that Interpreters may utilize scientific data and findings to further plan evidence-based Interpretation. Interpretation designed for you, so that you may feel inspired to care.  

How will you show that you care, today?






Sources: Foundations of Interpretation ProValens Learning 

“Foundations of Interpretation Course.” Foundations of Interpretation, The Trustees of Indiana University ,

Image credit: View from Maryland Heights Overlook Trail at sunset.

NPS/D. Taggart

Agency: National Park Service

Program: Harpers Ferry Center Program

Location: Harpers Ferry Center for Media Services

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