Standards & Practices

As part of NAI’s current strategic plan, the organization is undertaking a full certification and national standards review. Though this work has been in process for several years, the project really began in fall, 2016 when a RFA went out to the NAI community and the Interpretive Standards Committee (ISC) was chosen.  This group represents all aspects of our profession including academics, independent consultants, managers and planners. Once established, the group’s first task was to develop a plan, of which four phases were identified:

Phase 1 consisted of the committee itself brainstorming around the central question of “What does a [fill in the category of interpreter here] need to know and be able to do?” As subject matter experts themselves, the ISC brainstormed this question for each of NAI’s current certification categories: Guide, Host, Trainer, Planner, Heritage Interpreter and Manager. This phase took place between October, 2016 and January, 2017.

Phase 2 (January–July, 2017) of the project involved listening to our members by conducting focus groups across the country. Altogether we hosted almost twenty brainstorming sessions, both online and in person to find out what our members believed good interpretation looks like, focused around the same guiding question the ISC answered. During this phase of data collection, the committee also collected job descriptions (well over 100) & interviewed thought leaders in the profession (ranging from Dr. Sam Ham to Museum Hack).

Phase 3 (July–September, 2017) is currently taking place where ISC members are coding all of the data from Phase 2 and identifying trends. After this process is complete, we will then compare this list with best practices previously identified by organizations such as Interpret Europe (who have their own certification program) & informed by interpretive research. Finally the standards committee will compose draft standard statements by late summer/early fall to bring back to the membership for Phase 4.

Phase 4: The membership will be surveyed to provide thoughts/feedback on the new standards with the goal of releasing the standards at our national meeting in November.

For further questions and/or insights, feel free to contact Emily Jacobs, Certification and Training Program Manager at ejacobs@interpnet.com.

Standards & Practices Documents

In 2007, the NAI Board of Directors mapped a strategic plan for the profession that included a strategic vision that the interpretive profession will have a foundation of universally accepted standards. To that end, a focus group of individuals representing the diversity within NAI's membership was assembled and contributed to documentation of preferred practices for interpretive organizations. NAI currently offers four documents that address, good, better, and best practices.


Academic Curricula for Interpretation

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Interpretive Methods

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Interpretive Organizations

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Interpretive Planning

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