This page provides links to a variety of resources to help you plan, design, and develop site-produced interpretive media products. The items listed here will help you develop your skills and meet the technical and interpretive standards for NPS media. These resources are organized by topic areas for your convenience. This page will be periodically updated with new or revised resources.
Please let us know if this toolkit is useful for you — provide a rating or a comment at the bottom of this page. You can also suggest additional resources for the toolkit.
Accessibility for Media
- NPS Accessibility Guidelines [webpage] — lots of tools and references from Harpers Ferry Center.
- HFC Braille Publication Guide [PDF] August 2016 — use these guidelines to produce a quality product that meets NPS and Section 504 requirements.
- Large Print Brochure Templates and Guidelines [webpage] — more useful NPS references from Harpers Ferry Center.
- Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit [webpage] — provides best practices and tips on ensuring that all social media content is accessible to everyone.
- Getting Social: Best Practices for Social Media Accessibility [webinar recording] — provides helpful tips to ensure that social media content is accessible to those with disabilities.
Audience-centered Strategies and Techniques
- Audience-centered Interpretation [webpage] — this link will take you to the main webpage for this key skills set.
- Audience Centered Experience (ACE) Workbook [PDF] — an introduction to ACE skills with practice activities, useful for both personal services and media development; this is also the curriculum for the Forging Connections through ACE training class.
- Whose Questions, Whose Conversations, by Kathleen McLean [PDF] — an excerpt from Letting Go –Sharing Historical Authority in a User-generated World, 2011 that discusses the important trend toward audience-centered media strategies in informal learning institutions.
- Foundations of 21st Century Interpretation [Version 2016 webpage] — learn about the eight core competencies for all NPS interpreters, which emphasize incorporating audience-centered strategies into all new and traditional programs and media.
- Interpretive Facilitator’s Toolkit [webpage] — go to this resources page for self-study guides, tools, and examples of facilitation techniques, including facilitated dialogue techniques you can use in social media and other media products.
- Opening Up the Museum — Nina Simon TEDx Talk — one of the leading thought-leaders in museums and informal learning presents her insights on audience engagement.
- The Participatory Museum [free eBook] — by Nina Simon — challenges interpreters and educators to think differently about planning and designing media products, with emphasis on audience collaboration and contribution.
- Examples of Audience-centered Media [PowerPoint] — an informal gallery of examples from various sources, just to get your own ideas flowing! (Used as a class reference in the Audience Engagement Through Park-produced Media Virtual Class, May 2016) .
- NPS Social Science Website
- NPS Social Science FAQs
- Informal Audience Evaluation [webpage and PDF] — short overview of methods to informally gather audience knowledge and feedback.
- Evaluating Participatory Projects [free eBook] — go to Chapter 10 in Nina Simon’s eBook (there are some good ideas here).
- Shaping Outcomes — a free e-course on Outcome-based Planning and Evaluation from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Graphic Identity, Templates and Standards for NPS Media
- NPS Graphic Identity and Style Guides [HFC webpage]
- Park-Produced Publication templates [NPGallery webpage – NPS access only]
- Arrowhead Files [NPGallery webpage – NPS access only]
- NPS Fonts [NPGallery webpage – NPS access only]
- Map Symbols and Standards [HFC webpage]
Images, Art and Maps
- Photo Release Form [PDF] — a helpful sample form you can download and use directly or use as an example to create your own, from HFC.
- HFC Historic Photo Collection [website]
- HFC Commissioned Art Collection [website]
- Park Maps [website]
- HFC Intellectual Property Guidelines [PDF — 2010] — these are the guidelines used by Harpers Ferry Center in their interpretive media work with parks and contractors; includes a handy, brief introduction to intellectual property and copyright law.
Interpretive Design and Composition
- Principles of Design Handout [webpage] — provides a list of design principles, elements, considerations and best practices for creating or evaluating interpretive media.
- Elements of Interpretive Media Design [PDF] — provides a checklist of questions to consider and key principles to address when thinking about the best use of images, typography, and design from an interpretive context.
- Design Elements in Interpretive Media [self-paced e-course] — on-line self-study course through Eppley/ProValens — provides a useful overview of media planning, design and interpretive best practices.
- The following books would be useful additions to your park library or for your personal reference:
- Reference book — The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams, 2004 — covers basic design principles and applications.
- Reference book — Caputo, P., Lewis, S. & Brochu, L. (2008). Interpretation by Design: Graphic Design Basics for Heritage Interpreters. Fort Collins, CO: InterpPress. You can find this on the NAI website.
- Reference book — Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design by Lidwell, Holden, and Butler.
Interpretive Writing for Media
- Plain Language Guidelines [website]
- Style and Usage Guidelines [website with downloadable references–HFC]
- Interpretive Writing Self-study eCourse [webpage] — course offered through Eppley Institute/ProValens Learning.
- Plain Language Guidelines [website]
- Design Elements in Interpretive Media [self-paced e-course] — online self-study course through Eppley/ProValens that provides a useful overview of media planning, design and interpretive best practices.
- Media Wheel for Planning Small Projects [PDF] — a helpful at-a-glance project planning guide for park-produced media projects.
Specific Media Types
- Park-Produced Publications [website] — contains lots of useful guidance and resources from the pros at HFC.
- HFC Wayside Guide [webpage] — links to the latest version of this very useful guide from the pros at HFC.
- HFC Digital Media Website — provides an overview of the types of digital media commonly used by parks and examples.
- NPS Diginterp InDepth — videos of past webinar sessions.
- Diginterp Facebook Group — an active group for sharing ideas, tips and resources.
- Digital Community Site – The NPS Digital Community provides information in one convenient place for employees, volunteers, partners, friends, and contractors to work together to create and maintain the NPS digital experience.