On August 17th, twenty-three NPS interpreters, historians, volunteers and partners closed out this year’s highly successful series of Civil War interpreters’ field trips at Wilderness Battlefield.
Initiated, planned, and led by front-line staff, with no special funding, this series provides an opportunity for interpreters to broaden their outlook beyond their home parks. This final trip included representatives from five Civil War battlefield parks and three partner organizations.
Begun in 2007 as informal gatherings by battlefield park staff, these annual trips have garnered support from Civil War parks and sites from Pennsylvania to Virginia. This year, staff from participating parks visited five NPS and state historic sites. The purpose of the visits is not only to explore site history, but also to discuss critical park management issues. Discussions have covered natural and cultural resource management, partnerships, outside development issues, land preservation and protection, and new interpretive techniques. Hank Elliott of Manassas NBP coordinated this year’s trips.
Attendees report that the field trips have led to closer relationships among park staff, provided a forum for the exchange of ideas, and presented opportunities to see how other parks are accomplishing similar goals. Plans are already being made to continue the series in 2011.