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Interpretive Services Creation and Development

Read this before downloading documents:

Personal use of the documents made available for download on this site is encouraged.  However, no document or any portion thereof may be used for commercial purposes, nor may they be published in any medium or format without prior written permission from the State of California.  All commercial rights to use materials made available on this site are reserved by the State of California unless expressly granted otherwise in writing.  For commercial use, contact the Interpretation and Education Division at (916) 654-2249 or Interpretation.Staff@parks.ca.gov.


California Cultural and Natural History

California has an incredibly rich history, expanding far beyond human events.  The documents on this page will be invaluable to park professionals, such as interpreters or tour guides.  They may serve as reference or general information, or perhaps inspiration for the creation of new interpretive facilities.  Included on this page:

Science, Poetry and Parks: A Sourcebook for Interpreters of California's Natural History (2002)
California in Time
Five Views: An Ethnic History Site Survey for California (1988)
The Baker’s Handbook, or How to Make a Lot of Dough in 19th Century California (1990)

Interpretation Planning

In realizing their interpretive goals, park staff need to develop long-term plans.  They may need further guidance or inspiration on how to create or present interpretive services.  Park staff currently developing interpretive programs will find invaluable information on this page.  Contents include:

California State Parks Interpretation Planning Workbook (2013)
Guide for Creating a Furnishing Plan: Furnishing and Interpreting Historic Structure Museums (1994)
Sample Interpretive Service Plans
Park Activities Announcements Templates

Interpretation Master and Action Plans

The California Department of Parks and Recreation highly suggests that, prior to the establishment of any new interpretive facilities or programs, an Interpretation Master Plan be prepared.  An Interpretation Master Plan serves to guide park staff towards realizing their interpretation and education goals.  The Interpretation Action Plan defines and prioritizes specific tasks that will help park staff accomplish those goals. 

Click here for more information on Interpretation Master and Action Plans, as well as those plans that have been completed and approved. 

All Visitors Welcome: Accessibility in State Park Interpretive Programs and Facilities (1994, rev. 2011)

This publication provides State Parks staff with information that can guide them in developing accessible interpretive programs and facilities. It has been designed as a handy reference for planning programs and delivering them to the general public, many of whom have some type of disability.
See also: Parks Accessibility Guidelines (2009)

Guide to California State Parks Photographic Archives

This reference is an index for the California State Parks Photographic Archives, which consists of more than 200,000 images in the form of slides, negatives and photographic prints. The collections cover a broad range of California subjects, including the history of the California State Park System, California's natural and cultural history, recreation, transportation, mining, geology, architecture, agriculture, plants and animals.

Interpretive Providers Database

This incredibly valuable and useful database contains the names, contact information, and services or commodities of companies that focus on interpretation. The database can be searched in any number of ways, providing for maximum flexibility when looking for vendors that may be contracted for interpretive projects and services. California State Parks does not recommend any particular vendor in the database and suggests that you check references before entering into any business relationship and/or contract.

See also:
Guides for Educators
Video Transcripts
Park Panel Program
Informational Brochures, Inserts and Flyers