Virtual CIG, Kealakekua, HI May 2021

VIRTUAL Certified Interpretive Guide Training Course

May 17-27, 2021
Instructor: Tim Merriman
Registration Cost: $235 (Certification is an additional $150)

The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) in partnership with the Epply Institute of Parks and Public Lands, is offering an online training course for individuals in the field of Interpretation. It is designed for individuals who deliver interpretive programs or have contact with the public at interpretive sites.  This course will be a combination of online instruction and virtual meetings with your instructor. Note, this course is designed to cover all the same material and requirements as the in-person Certified Interpretive Guide course and the certification awarded is the same as our face to face offerings.  

Course Options

There are two options for this course. 

Option one: take the course without obtaining certification.  

Option two: take the course and add certification as a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG). You will pay an additional fee for certification and you must complete an open book Core Literature Review exam. The CIG lasts four years and comes with a complimentary one-year membership. If you are already a member of NAI we will add your complimentary membership onto the end of your current membership.

The CIG Program

The nationally recognized Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) program is designed for anyone in the interpretive field. Whether you’re a new hire, a professional looking to refresh your skills, or beginning a second career, this course will aid you in improving your presentation techniques. The course combines the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical strategies in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.

This virtual course includes:

  • The history, definition, and principles of interpretation.
  • Techniques on how to make your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic.
  • How to use tangible objects to connect your audience to intangible ideas and universal concepts.
  • The 3 certification requirements needed to obtain a CIG (open book CORE Literature Review exam, program outline, and 10 minute interpretive presentation).

Texts Used in the Workshop

During this course, the books on interpretation listed below will be mentioned and some of their ideas explored. They are what the open book Core Literature Review exam covers and are useful texts for any interpreter to read. To access the books, you will need either physical copies of the books or e-books. For physical books, you will work with your instructor to either use their library sets (if you live in the same area as your instructor and books can be shared) or you can buy your own set for use during the class from NAI. Click here to go to the NAI Store, where you can order individual books or as a package and listed under “Core Review Library Package”. For online e-books, you will work with your instructor to determine which books you need and obtain access to the materials as some will have to be purchased, and others can be “checked out” through your local library and NAI.
Member Discount: Those choosing to apply for certification will receive a complimentary one-year membership to NAI. Memberships will become active within a couple of days of registration and will allow you to purchase course books and other registrations at the discounted member rate. Once memberships become active, you will receive a receipt via email letting you know that you are all setup. Current NAI members will receive a one-year extension on their current membership. If you are registering for $0, your membership will become active when you are certified.

The texts are:

  • Interpreting Our Heritage, by Freeman Tilden (4th Edition, U. of North Carolina Press, 2007)
  • The Gifts of Interpretation, by Larry Beck and Ted Cable (Sagamore Publishing, 2011)
  • Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources, by Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman (National Association for Interpretation, 2015)
  • Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose, by Sam H. Ham (Fulcrum, 2013)

Platform and Access

You will need a computer or laptop with excellent Internet access and the ability to login to for the online training. A smartphone or tablet is a useful backup device for emergencies but should not be your primary access tool.


This course is taught from our home via Zoom from Captain Cook, Hawaii. We will meet May 17 to May 21, 2021, for four hours per day via Zoom beginning at 8 AM Hawaii time, 11 AM PST, 12 PM MST, 1 PM CST, 2 PM EST. Time is included daily to allow group work on the literature review for those attempting certification. On May 24 we will meet via Zoom by appointment at your convenience for individual coaching sessions. On the 26th or 27th of May (to be determined by the course participants) we will meet for up to five hours beginning at 8 AM Hawaii time for the presentations by each participant. We make follow-up appointments with you individually after your presentation for personal feedback.


Tim Merriman is one of the originators of the NAI’s CIG program and co-author of the text, Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources. He has 50 years of experience in the field in public, private and non-profit natural and cultural heritage organizations.

Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu, co-authors of Personal Interpretation

Further Information

For more information about the course, please contact Tim Merriman at or call (808) 854-3555.

Special Terms and Cancellations

Cancellations and transfers must be made in writing and emailed, postmarked, or faxed by May 2, 2021 A nonrefundable processing fee of $50 will be assessed. Emailed  cancellations and transfers should be sent to Cancellations and transfers cannot be made by phone.

No transfers or refunds will be given after May 2, 2021.

5/17/2021 - 5/27/2021
Kealakekua, HI 96750 UNITED STATES

Sign In

Please note: you must be logged in to the NAI website to register for this event.

If you have never had an NAI account, please choose Create an Account below.

If you are a current or previous member of NAI and have problems retrieving your login credentials, please email

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Monday, 17 May 2021

Select this option to add an application for CIG certification. A one-year complimentary membership is included.
5/17/2021 - 5/27/2021