National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Demos & Illustrated Programs

Benchmark Competency Description

Interpretive Demonstrations and Illustrated Programs are prepared, formal programs that involve the planned integration of spoken narration with media or demonstration. An Interpretive Demonstration may be performed by the interpreter, the visitor, or both, and can take a variety of forms such as living history, cultural and craft demonstrations, the use of historic weapons, nature experiments, etc. The successful Illustrated Program depends on the interpretive integration of illustrative media with narration. Illustrations can include either two- or three-dimensional objects, slides, photographs, maps, artifacts, or performance arts such as music or dance.

Unlike the interpretive talk in which the narrative can primarily stand alone, the narration of a demonstration or illustrated program is integrated and interdependent with the media or demonstration to present enhanced opportunities for intellectual and emotional connections to resource meanings/significance.

Competency Standard

All Interpreters:

  • Understand how interpretive demonstrations and illustrated programs are different from interpretive talks or conducted activities
  • Select demonstrations or illustrative media as appropriate techniques for accomplishing particular interpretive goals and objectives
  • Understand how demonstrations and illustrative media appeal to different learning styles to enhance access to resource meanings
  • Integrate demonstration or illustrative media with interpretive narration to cohesively develop a relevant idea(s), and provide enhanced opportunities for visitors to make their own intellectual and emotional connections to resource meanings/significance