Designed For
Education professionals, interpretive guides, park stewards, docents and others who want to connect others to natural, cultural and historical resources at national and regional parks, nature centers, historical sites, museums, aquariums and zoos.
Always available
Online | Self-paced
$390 (+ $60 registration fee)
Five weeks
Plan for 5-7 hours of work per week
2.5 Units | 25 Hours
Ask us about Corporate Training. We can customize this program to fit your organization’s specific needs.


In Designing the Message, students will apply principles of interpretive writing and design while learning the steps needed to create displays and exhibition materials. Students will also be given the opportunity to develop skills used in creating interpretive displays, including theme development, visual layout, color scheme selection, writing, and evaluation.

This course is a part of the Master Interpretive Guide Professional Certificate, which includes: 

College Partners

This course is a collaboration between Oregon State University College of Education and Oregon State University Professional and Continuing Education.

  • How to apply principles of interpretive writing and design
  • Creating interpretive displays and exhibition materials
  • How to integrate theme development, visual layout, color scheme selection and writing into interpretive display design
  • Evaluating displays and exhibition materials
  • Erin Hicks, M.A.

    Erin is a museum professional with over 10 years of experience working on the design and development of art and history museum exhibits. Erin expanded that experience to include museum education theory and practice as she earned a masters degree in museum studies, specifically following a learning track of visitor experience and education. Her coursework and research focused on interpreting and exhibiting art collections, art education in museums, and administrative topics such as museum planning and the economics of arts and culture. While attending Buffalo State, SUNY, located in Buffalo, New York, Erin was introduced to the study of creativity and the impact that creative problem solving methods could have on critical museum issues by completing coursework at the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) also located at Buffalo State. Erin's academic and professional work in the field culminated into a research project entitled Second Nature: An exploration in planning and design concepts for a place- and community-based museum process.

  • Dave Stemper

    Instructor Dave Stemper

    Dave Stemper was born and raised in Minnesota and serves as an instructor within Oregon State University's College of Forestry. Dave earned his graduate degree at the University of Minnesota, attaining an M.A. in Natural Resource Communication and Interpretation. Dave has served as an interpreter with the International Wolf Center, Minnesota 4-H, and U.S. Forest Service. He has designed interpretive materials for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Minnesota Historical Society, and he has consulted on interpretive projects for watershed districts in both Minnesota and Oregon.

    Dave is an advisor for the Master Interpretive Guide Professional Certificate.