Engaging the public in the world’s cultural, environmental and historical resources

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.
Foundations of Interpretation
Developing a Message
Designing the Message
Sharing the Message
Online | Self-paced
Full Certificate: $1,400 + $60 registration fee
Individual Course: $390 (+ $60 registration fee, per course)
Each course takes five weeks to complete
Plan for 5-7 hours of work per week
10 Units | 100 Hours
Ask us about Corporate Training. We can customize this program to fit your organization’s specific needs.

According to the American Alliance of Museums, more that 850 million people visit American museums annually, and an additional 450 million people visit parks and cultural institutions on an annual basis. With museums, national parks, science centers, zoos and aquariums playing a growing role in educating the public, never has the need for strong educational interpretive staff been more important.

Oregon State University’s Master Interpretive Guide arms participants with the tools they need to become master interpretive communicators through engaging the public in the cultural, environmental and historical resources the world has to offer. Through online, self-paced courses, this certificate program helps participants identify various audiences and develop strategic, audience-appropriate methods to reach these unique groups through interpretive writing and design.

This certificate program provides high-level professional development for informal education practitioners as well as invaluable training for those seeking employment in the informal education industry.

Master Interpretive Guide Professional Certificate

College Partners

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

  • How to identify a park or museum's audience, theme and setting
  • Skills to craft interpretive themes in order to engage an audience
  • Tools to create engaging interpretive display materials and write interpretively
  • Assess and evaluate interpretive exhibits and displays
  • 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.

  • Amy Hoffman

    Amy has a background in natural resources and worked in environmental education leading hands-on, experiential field-based programming designed for K-16 students, classes, educators, and the general community. She led student driven service learning projects, worked closely with teachers and school districts, and developed and piloted curriculum. Amy also managed and mentored volunteers, student interns and AmeriCorps members, organized large events, and was very active in community outreach. 

    Amy currently works within the college of education. She coordinates and teaches within the online master of education program, and the new online minor in education. Her teaching focuses on science education and free choice learning (informal education). She is interested in helping educators connect learners to outdoor activities through inquiry, environmental literacy, and taking action in their local communities.