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Interpretation for the 21st Century: Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture [Paperback]

Larry Beck , Ted T. Cable
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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2002 1571675221 978-1571675224 2
Interpretation for the 21st Century is uplifting and inspiring as it enhances the reader's understanding of how to compellingly interpret our cultural and natural legacy.  The 15 guiding principles set forth in this book will assist anyone who works in parks, forests, wildlife refuges, zoos, museums, historic areas, nature centers, and tourism sites to more effectively, and joyously, conduct their work.  This book, now updated and in its second edition, has been used internationally and has been translated into Chinese.  It serves as inspirational reading for students in environmental education, forestry, conservation, history, communications, outdoor recreation, and park management.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Interpretation for the 21st Century July 17 2000
Format:Paperback
Larry Beck's and Ted Cable's "Interpretation for the 21st Century, Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture" is one of the best resources I have found for tour guides, museum professionals, educators, and anyone who builds programming around historical, cultural and natural sites or institutions.
It introduces the classics of interpretation (Tilden, Mills, etc.) and then covers everything from the bigger picture to the details of specific practices.
As a program manager in a museum, I find lots of food for thought, training material, and program development guidance in this book. It also captures the excitement, joy, and passion that Interpretation can embody in its best forms. This book is both inspiring and helpful every time I use it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interpretation for the 21st Century July 17 2000
By S. Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Larry Beck's and Ted Cable's "Interpretation for the 21st Century, Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture" is one of the best resources I have found for tour guides, museum professionals, educators, and anyone who builds programming around historical, cultural and natural sites or institutions.
It introduces the classics of interpretation (Tilden, Mills, etc.) and then covers everything from the bigger picture to the details of specific practices.
As a program manager in a museum, I find lots of food for thought, training material, and program development guidance in this book. It also captures the excitement, joy, and passion that Interpretation can embody in its best forms. This book is both inspiring and helpful every time I use it.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, but "textbooky" June 3 2007
By A. Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Someday there will be one book that sums up the field of interpretation. This is not it. This book is 'ok' as a reference book, but mine collects more dust than the others in my interpretive library. Ironically, I felt it lacks the passion that is so crucial to interpretation. To me, it didn't say anything new that Tilden hadn't already covered. This is purely my opinion, but I'm not convinced that Beck's 'extra' principles are a significant contribution to the profession. For example, one chapter is on 'communicating in the information age'. Anyone who's the slightest bit computer-literate knows that interpretation, like any profession, needs to grow and change with time. Does it really require an entire chapter? It's already outdated, anyway, because it doesn't cover blogging or Facebook, which are two tools I use for passive interpretation. I hear that a new edition is coming out, soon, so I hope these tools are included.

If you haven't read the 'staples' of interpretation (Tilden, Cornell, Ham, etc.) yet, this book will be useful, because it contains 'cliffnotes' on these books. But I recommend reading Tilden for the basics, Cornell to get inspired, and Ham's book, 'Environmental Interpretation' (which isn't just for the natural history interpreter) for the hands-on application part, instead.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent handbook for Tour Guides and other Interpreters Nov. 25 2004
By Branislav Rabotic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The authors of this book offered me exactly what I have expected: a concise and comprehensive insight into the Art of interpretation. They have used for their starting point some `classics' on this subject, such as Mills or Tilden (they did it in a wise and respectful way), and then they developed a much wider and contemporary context to display all aspects of interpretation - its meaning, principles, tools and practice.

According to the authors these are the 15 basic principles of modern interpretation (explained in separate chapters of the book):

1. Lighting a Spark
2. Interpreting in the Information Age
3. Importance of the Story
4. Provocation
5. Holistic Interpretation
6. Interpretation Throughout the Lifespan
7. Bringing the Past Alive
8. Modern Tools of Interpretation
9. Enough is Enough
10. Technique Before Art
11. Interpretive Writing
12. Attracting Support and Making Friends
13. Interpreting Beauty
14. Promoting Optimal Experience
15. Passion

Not only have they covered all relevant facets of their theme, but they also got it across in a clear, interesting and instructive way. Naturally, one could have expected that explanations regarding `interpretation' would be interpreted well. In the case of this book such expectations have completely been met. Simply, Beck and Cable did a great job. As a reader you will enjoy their accounts of what interpretation is or is not and how can it be effectively practiced in both natural and cultural environments.

A great deal of useful tips for interpreters, meaningful quotations, as well as some helpful notes printed in separate `boxes' give this book an additional flavor of seriously planned, thoroughly studied and fully executed task by the authors. This book may undoubtedly serve as an excellent tool for tour guides to improve their interpreting capabilities and their art of story-telling in order to give their audience really great tours!

Will this book become a `new Bible' in the field of interpretation in the 21st century?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Valuable after the 2nd Reading Nov. 6 2010
By Mark W. Bohrer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't expect a flowing, memorable read out of this book. But after you refer to it a couple times for a program you're creating, it will be more useful. Lots of good suggestions, especially on programs for kids, teens and seniors.

You may need to outline chapters as if you're interpreting them for an audience to organize the book's ideas. That will make the book 'stick' much better in your memory.

When Sam Ham's update to Environmental Interpretation comes out, look at that instead. If he includes updates to use of modern media in interpretive programs, it'll blow Beck and Cable away.

Meanwhile, if you really need a resource on modern interpretation methods, buy this book USED.
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed and fast delivery! Jan. 17 2013
By Val - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For anyone sharing nature, history or any other topic with the public, this is a must topic. A classic! Service was fast! I am happy and well-served!
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