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About the Book

Beyond the Book

224 pp., 5.5 x 8.5, 29 illus., index

Interpreting Our Heritage


Every year millions of Americans visit national parks and monuments, state and municipal parks, battlefields, historic houses, and museums. By means of guided walks and talks, tours, exhibits, and signs, visitors experience these areas through a very special kind of communication technique known as "interpretation." For fifty years, Freeman Tilden's Interpreting Our Heritage has been an indispensable sourcebook for those who are responsible for developing and delivering interpretive programs. This expanded and revised anniversary edition includes not only Tilden's classic work but also an entirely new selection of accompanying photographs, five additional essays by Tilden on the art and craft of interpretation, a new foreword by former National Park Service director Russell Dickenson, and an introduction by R. Bruce Craig that puts Tilden's writings into perspective for present and future generations.

Whether the challenge is to make a prehistoric site come to life; to explain the geological basis behind a particular rock formation; to touch the hearts and minds of visitors to battlefields, historic homes, and sites; or to teach a child about the wonders of the natural world, Tilden's book, with its explanation of the famed "six principles" of interpretation, provides a guiding hand.

For anyone interested in our natural and historic heritage--park volunteers and rangers, museum docents and educators, new and seasoned professional heritage interpreters, and those lovingly characterized by Tilden as "happy amateurs"--Interpreting Our Heritage and Tilden's later interpretive writings, included in this edition, collectively provide the essential foundation for bringing into focus the truths that lie beyond what the eye sees.

About the Author

Freeman Tilden (1883-1980) was a pioneer in the field of natural and cultural interpretation. A former journalist, playwright, and novelist, he began writing about America's national parks in the 1940s with the encouragement of National Park Service director Newton Drury. This led to four books on visiting, learning, and teaching about national and state parks and other heritage areas, of which Interpreting Our Heritage remains the most influential. R. Bruce Craig is a former park ranger and interpreter, winner of the National Park Service's Freeman Tilden Award, and former executive director of several national park and history organizations. He is currently professor of history at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada.


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