6    Study Tour of Parks

Module III

Study Tour of Parks

Case Studies in

Archeological Interpretation


combined classroom and day trips to case study sites



§    Behind-the-scenes look at case study sites

§    Identification of different methods of interpretation


Lessons to Learn

§    How different places employ archeology and interpretation to meet their missions

§    Gain perspective on different scales, themes, funding levels at different parks

§    How different interpretive techniques are chosen for different archeological research projects

§    How parks design interpretive programs for different “publics”



Archeology and interpretation at Cumberland Island, Georgia (above) and Herbert Hoover House, Iowa (below)


Module III: Study Tour


This section presents an overview of local, state, and national parks and sites that form a sample itinerary for Module III: Study Tour of Archeological Interpretation Programs.




This module is designed to provide participants with behind-the-scenes looks at archeological interpretation programs at local, state, and federal parks and sites.




This course will involve day trips to local, state, and national parks with some classroom activity. The case studies included in this manual for 2004-5 were selected from the National Capital area as a sample of possible sites to visit. The program can easily be adapted to different regions of the country by selecting other case study sites.


Lessons to Learn


Many parks have had extensive archeological investigations conducted in them. In some cases, archeological investigations were directly related to the official park designation (such as, excavations in the formal gardens of a historic home or of military encampments at a national battlefield), but in others, archeological sites may not be directly related to the park’s original designation (such as, a Native American site at an historic farm).  Thus, innovative programs are required to incorporate archeological resources into public presentations.  This tour of public parks is designed to engage participants in presentations and discussions at the case study sites to learn about park-specific resources and different approaches to interpretation that have been devised. The course also is designed to incorporate discussions about heritage tourism within various geographic and demographic settings. The study tour will demonstrate the value of archeologists and interpreters working together.



Case Studies


Within the National Capital area, the case study programs will be drawn from regional sites such as the following potential locations:


 Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, West Virginia

 Monocacy National Historic Battlefield, Maryland

 Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland

 Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Maryland

 City Museum, Washington, DC


Much of the information presented below derives directly from publicly-available information (primarily websites) for each of the places.  This information is included here as an overview of each case study location and the interpretive programs at each. The study tour is expected to provide participants with more specific and behind-the-scenes information on how these programs were selected, developed, and integrated with the mission of each place.





CHRS home

An Inspiring Guide

I. Introduction

II. Overview of the Program

III. Meeting the Mission

IV. The Public Meaning of Archeological Heritage

V. Archeology and Interpretation

VI. Study Tour of Parks

VII. Interpretive Products

VIII. Credits

IX. References

X. Resources and Links


National Park Service  - Archeology and Ethnography Program  - Distance Learning

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