Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop

March 9-12, 2014
2576-8th Street SW
PO Box 607
Washburn, ND 58577

The Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation, is offering a professional certification course for individuals who will be delivering interpretive programs or having public contact at interpretive sites.

The Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to help communicate the Middle Missouri River’s unique sense of place. Our members actively support a 20,000 square foot interpretive center, a full-size recreation of Fort Mandan, world-class collections of Western art, and educational programming. 

The Interpretive Center and nearby Fort Mandan (also operated by the foundation) partner to connect visitors with our rich heritage as a crossroads of culture and commerce. Our fully NAI-certified interpretive staff brings this history to life every day, providing tours and programs tailored to visitors of all ages.

The CIG Program

The Certified Interpretive Guide program is designed for anyone who delivers interpretive programs to the public. It combines both the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.

This 32-hour course includes:
  • history, definition, and principles of interpretation
  • making your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic
  • using tangible objects to connect audiences to intangible ideas and universal concepts in interpretive programs
  • presentation and communication skills
  • certification requirements (open book exam; program outline; 10-min. presentation)
  • all required course materials

Requirements for the CIG Course

Anyone age 16 or over with a desire to increase their knowledge and skills related to interpretation may participate. Membership in NAI is not required, but NAI members may pay a discounted fee to participate in the program. You can also elect to take the training without becoming certified.

Interpretation Library

If you wish to purchase your own books, NAI offers a discounted package price of $84 (NAI member price) or $102 (nonmember price) + flat shipping fee of $13. Visit www.naimembers.com/store or call NAI at 888-900-8283, order the "Certification Library Package" and have the books shipped to you now. A limited number of copies will be available for use at the workshop, but we highly recommended familiarizing yourself with the library titles in advance. Doing so will allow you to focus more on class activities during the training week.

The texts used are:

Interpreting Our Heritage by Freeman Tilden

Interpretation of Natural and Cultural Resources by Knudsen, Cable & Beck

The Gifts of Interpretation by Beck & Cable

Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell

Interpreting for Park Visitors by Bill Lewis


$360 (includes instructor fee, NAI membership, certification fee, and materials)

Alternative Cost Options:
  • Already a member of NAI? Cost is $310
  • Don’t want NAI membership? Cost is $365 (higher certification fee for non-members)
  • Don’t want certification (just training)? Cost is $230 for current NAI members; $280 for non-members who purchase membership


This course will be led by Jeff Carlson and Rob Hanna, frontline interpreters at the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Jeff is the Center’s Interpretive Program Coordinator and has earned certification as a Guide and Trainer through NAI. His B.A. in English and training as a professional educator have helped him interpret heritage themes in museums, parks, and elementary classrooms for more than a decade. Rob has a B.A. in history and is a CHI and CIT. Since 2005 he has interpreted North Dakota heritage at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, with special emphases on social history and American Indian history.

Workshop Setting

Most workshop activities take place in the beautiful new events center at the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center overlooking the Missouri River valley, but we will also visit the site of Fort Mandan, about two miles away. Come prepared for cold-weather outside activities.

Washburn is in the heart of the Northern Plains National Heritage Area, a NPS-designated stretch of the Missouri River known for such historic and natural attractions as George Custer’s Fort Abraham Lincoln, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, Cross Ranch State Park and Preserve, and more.


Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. each day. Each day will include a 1-hour lunch and periodic breaks. Participants are encouraged to eat in community with their classmates. A limited number of restaurants are available in Washburn, or you may bring your own lunch. Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Lodging and Transportation

You are responsible for your own transportation. No transportation service is available to the workshop sites so a car is essential. Most participants will probably want to stay in Bismarck, 40 miles to the south, which offers dozens of hotels (including America’s Best Value Inn, AmericInn, and Country Suites on the north end of town nearest Washburn) and restaurants, but there are also hotels in surrounding small towns like Riverdale and Garrison. For more information on Bismarck hotels, dining, and amenities, visit http://bismarckmandancvb.com/.


Download the registration form online by following this link: http://fortmandan.com/educational/certified-interpretive-guide-training-registration/

Further Information

For more information about the course, please contact:

Jeff Carlson
(877) 462-8535

Course Overview


Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation
Washburn, ND


March 9-12, 2014


Download the form.


Jeff Carlson
(877) 462-8535