Registration for these events closes October 20.

Pre-Conference Workshops

NAI is happy to offer our conference attendees the opportunity to further their professional development by attending one- or two-day pre-conference workshops. These workshops are a great way to add or increase your skill sets through smaller group settings with instructors who are well-versed in their field. To register for a workshops please visit our conference registration page. In order to meet the meeting space criteria, workshops are subject to cancellation if they do not meet the minimum amount of registrations. If this should happen pre-conference fees will be credited back to the attendees form of payment or you may switch to a workshop that is available.

Interpreter’s Road Show ’19

Monday-Tuesday

Join NAI’s Nature Center Directors and Administrators Section on the Interpreter’s Road Show in Denver! We will be visiting the Children’s Museum of Denver, History Colorado Center, South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center, Butterfly Pavilion, and Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. This professional development opportunity will explore how these organizations manage volunteers, programs, building and facility development, habitat restoration, funding, unique partnerships, creative new exhibits, and much more. Highlights this year include Joy Park and Adventure Forest play area at the children’s museum, and an opportunity to speak to an award-winning exhibit developer at History Colorado Center. Participants will have the time to network with their peers during meals and travel time between locations. This opportunity is open to all interpreters and provides a unique look at a variety of interpretive properties. 

All transportation, lunch both days, and dinner Monday night are included in this trip. There will be no off-site, overnight lodging during this trip. Participants should make sure they reserve lodging for Monday night at their hotel of choice for the NAI National Conference.

Trip leader: Brian Thill, Director of Education, South Carolina Aquarium
Cost: $290 
Maximum Number of Participants: 24
Minimum Number of Participants: 20
Lodging: Not Included
Meals: Monday/Tuesday lunch; Monday dinner
Time: Monday 8:00am–7:00pm; Tuesday 9:00am–3:00pm
Transportation: Provided
 
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On the High Plains of Colorado: A Family, Two Forts, and a Massacre

Monday–Tuesday (overnight)

If you want to walk in the footsteps of history, then this is for you! Participants will leave Denver early on Monday, November 11, and travel across the plains three and a half hours to Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, which is a completely reconstructed 1840s fur trade fort. At Bent’s Old Fort they will be given an exciting tour by a member of the park staff in first person, and then a program by Jake Koch on the way a peaceful trading post dramatically altered a people’s way of life.

After their time at Bent’s Old Fort, participants will visit the often-ignored location of Bent’s New Fort, later known as Fort Wise, then Fort Lyon after the army took over. They will tour the site, which is only interpreted with waysides to learn about the site’s importance in the prelude to the Sand Creek Massacre before going on to Lamar where they will spend the night.

On the morning of November 12, participants will depart Lamar and arrive at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, where they will be given a meaningful guided tour by park staff. Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in an interactive discussion with interpretive staff from both sites discussing the different techniques used at each of the three locations, difficulties faced at each site, as well as the challenges in telling a larger story with three separate sites. Participants will then arrive back to Denver in time for the official start of the National Conference.

Trip leaders: Jake Koch, Tom Rose, Kendra Moore; Cultural and Historical Interpretation Section
Cost: $266
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Not included
Lodging: One night included (Monday in Lamar, Colorado)
Time: Depart Monday 7:00am; return Tuesday 3:00pm
Transportation: Provided
 
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Our World is Changing: Do You Have the Tools to Stay Relevant?

Monday onsite/Tuesday offsite

Helping visitors find personal relevancy with global climate change can be challenging. Our workshop is designed to help you meet this challenge through experiential, collaborative learning in a collegial environment. 

You will be provided with foundational climate science, opportunities to engage with scientists and peers, exposure to new technologies, and project time to start an action plan for integrating the latest science, emerging technologies, and innovative communication techniques into your interpretive efforts. You will learn about the latest in basic global climate science, using systems thinking as a context for understanding and interpreting climate change. We will introduce NASA visualization and citizen science tools, and share examples of climate interpretation drawn from the Earth to Sky partnership and participants’ own experiences. 

We will also visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesa Lab to learn about and discuss local impacts of global change with researchers studying climate and global dynamics, explore data visualization and virtual reality technologies, and engage with NCAR’s communication and education professionals. Together we will share and compare best practices and challenges in climate science communication and audience engagement. Weather permitting, we will also observe global-to-local impacts of a changing climate on the surrounding landscape.  

Presenters: Anita Davis, Tiffany Fourment, Jenna Giddens, John Morris, Ruth Paglierani, NASA and NCAR scientist(s) TBD
Cost: $196
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Monday coffee break included. Monday lunch is not included; Tuesday lunch included
Time: Monday, 8:00am–5:00pm; Tuesday, 8:00am–4:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver & NCAR
Transportation to NCAR: Included
 
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Making Strides to Become More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Interpretive Organizations

Monday only

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is core to the mission of the National Association for Interpretation, our profession, and interpretive organizations, sites, and agencies. NAI aspires to develop, promote, and sustain an organizational culture that values, nurtures, and leverages diversity and inclusion in all activities. This includes leading by example and sharing successful models for the profession and leaders within interpretive organizations.

To be a successful organization in today’s diverse and changing environment, we need inclusive leaders who are energizing and motivating. Studies indicate that an organization that embraces and values diversity as an integral part of its goals can have a positive impact on individual productivity, organizational effectiveness, and sustained competitiveness. Inclusive leaders have the ability to create a workplace environment where each employee feels authentically valued, respected, and engaged in achieving the organizational mission and vision.

Understanding and embracing DEI involves the critical examination of bias, privilege, and oppression and the many ways it plays out personally and professionally, visibly, and invisibly within our organizations. In this workshop facilitated by members of NAI’s DEI Committee, participants will examine their organizations, share experiences, learn best practices from each other, and develop model examples for the organization and profession.

Presenters: NAI DEI Committee Members: Brian Forist, Ph.D; Parker McMullen Bushman, Vice President of Programs, Interpretation & Exhibits, Butterfly Pavilion; Christina Cid, Director of Programs, High Desert Museum; Casey Bries, Education & Outreach Coordinator, City of Boulder; Kyrie Kellett, Principal, Mason Bee Interpretive Planning
Cost: $55
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included
Time: 8:00am–5:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver 
 
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Contemporary Topics in Volunteer Engagement and Management

Monday only

Volunteerism is alive and well—but undergoing significant transformation in many ways. Is your organization keeping up as attracting, retaining, and motivating volunteers become more challenging today than ever before? Explore contemporary topics in volunteer engagement, including utilizing social media recruitment techniques, reaching new audiences for volunteering, working toward a diverse and inclusive volunteer corps, and addressing rogue volunteers, as well as implementing new strategies for learning and training.

The day will include opportunities to apply topics discussed to your own site, to share ideas with other participants, and to look at practices of other organizations. Bring your tough volunteer challenges to this workshop and leave with an action plan you can confidently apply at your home site.

Presenters: Jim Covel, Director of Training and Interpretation, Monterey Bay Aquarium; Karin Hostetter, Owner, Interp This
Cost: $55
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included
Time: 8:00am–5:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver 
 
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Recruiting and Retaining Interpreters of Color

Tuesday

Historic sites, museums, and parks across the country have struggled for decades to recruit and retain interpreters of color. This is true even for sites in majority-minority communities, or for sites that are geographically close to racially diverse urban areas. A homogeneous team of interpreters may make the site less welcoming to visitors of color, lead to less nuanced or authentic programming on slavery or US racial history, and in the case of living history sites can unintentionally erase the enslaved and/or free Black experience from the site’s narratives. But, why is it so challenging to recruit and retain interpreters and living historians of color? 

This one-day workshop will help participants identify and breakdown the complexity of barriers that stop potential interpretive staff from applying and explore the problematic institutional patterns that wear interpreters of color down and cause them to leave the field. We will also discuss the history of slavery, the creation of uniquely American racial ideologies, and how cultural heritage sites can either perpetuate or breakdown a long history of racist ideas, policies and social norms through improved staff training, more adequate support and nuanced programming. 

Presenters: Elon Cook Lee, Program Director, Center for Reconciliation, Curator for History and Legacy of Slavery; Cheyney McKnight, Owner, Not Your Momma’s History
Cost: $60
Maximum Number of Participants: 24
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included.
Time: 8:00am–4:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver
 
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Plate Spinning, Cat Herding, and Scat Shoveling: Supervisory Boot Camp

Tuesday

Do you supervise people and wish you’d had more training before being thrown into the trenches? Are you thinking of becoming a supervisor but don’t know where to start your basic training? Well, then, this is the workshop for you. Join us for a one-day, down-and-dirty “boot camp” focusing on core skills necessary to lead and manage successful teams and yourself. Priority setting, goal management, communication styles, people management, self-care, personal and professional leadership, and more are necessary skills for positive, prosperous, and professional leaders. 

Deep in the trenches we will first explore self, team, and the interrelationships that make for successful collaborative teams. Beyond theory, we’ll share our experiences and advice in an atmosphere designed to help you emerge with a personal plan of action as you share your skills and insights with other camp cadets. Think you’ve got what it takes?

Presenters: Tom Moffatt, leader and supervisor of nature centers and other environmental education facilities; Denise Robertson, Superintendent of Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park; Lynn Cartmell, Chief of Visitor Services, Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Cost: $58
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included.
Time: 8:00am–4:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver 
 
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Adding Another Piece to the Engagement Puzzle: Creating Sensory-Friendly Museum Opportunities

Tuesday

Our journey in researching, developing, and implementing sensory-friendly visits at Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park has resulted in a more welcoming and inclusive environment, more empowered allies to persons on the autism spectrum and/or with sensory processing differences, and lots of questions from interpreters in places where such programming does not exist. We are thrilled to be able to share our “lessons learned” and get people jump started by guiding them through the step-by-step planning process that has resulted in more engaged and excited staff and volunteers, and many repeat visits from families that include someone on the autism spectrum and/or with sensory processing differences. Active participants will leave with a well-developed proposal for implementation. What a way to get pumped up for the rest of the conference!

Through active engagement of program participants with simulations and the creation of hands-on products specific to their organizations, this capacity-building workshop will review best practices and offer practical step by step strategies for developing and implementing sensory-friendly visit opportunities in public places and institutions, based on firsthand experience of the presenters within their place of work.

Presenters: Brady McKellar, Director of Museum Operations, Vermilionville Living History Museum; Melanie Harrington, Education Coordinator, Vermilionville Living History Museum
Cost: $58
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Minimum Number of Participants: 10
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included.
Time: 8:00am–4:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver 
 
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The Cutting Edge: Illuminating Interpretive Facilitation 

Tuesday

Open to all CIG instructors. 
The Cutting Edge pre-conference workshop is an established tradition that provides interpretive trainers a venue for new ideas, best practices, methods, and techniques used in the Certified Interpretive Guide course. We will spend part of the day sharing our experiences and learning from one another with a facilitated idea-sharing/problem-solving session, so bring anything you want to share. This year you will also have an opportunity to spend half the day with Master Trainers to dive into new sections of the workbook. Whether you are a new trainer looking to help illuminate interpretation for students or an experienced trainer seeking fresh ways to enhance and brighten up your course design, we’ve got the sparks for you. 

Presenters: Susan Schafer, Volunteer Services Program Manager, City of Fort Collins; Karin Hostetter, Owner/Trainer/Writer, Interp This; Andre Copeland, Interpretive Programs Manager, Chicago Zoological Society (Brookfield Zoo); Cindy Robinson, Park Interpreter, South Suburban Parks & Recreation–South Platte Park 
Cost: $25
Maximum Number of Participants: 20
Minimum Number of Participants: 4
Meals: Coffee break included. Lunch is not included.
Time: 8:00am–4:00pm
Lodging: Not included
Location: Sheraton Downtown Denver 
 
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NAI National Conference

Denver Colorado
November 12–16, 2019

Interested in Sponsorships or Advertising?

Contact NAI Events Manager Michele Farmer at mfarmer@interpnet.com or 970-484-8283 x805.