Telling the story of your conservation, wildlife, or park non-profit is critical work.

Storytelling can include a wide range of activities: interpretation, outreach, communications, nurturing donors, engagement, development, and more. Ultimately, they all funnel into one significant opportunity to connect your message to your audience  at your organization’s gift shop or store

Stores provide an important and often critical source of funding for parks, zoos, museums, education travel, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, conservation organizations, and historical sites. The products sold must be meaningful so they allow for emotional and intellectual connections to be made (think interpretation) it is key to communicating why your organization’s mission is important.

How can store products be strengthened through interpretation?

Here are six principles of interpretation developed by Freeman Tilden and re-stated by Larry Beck and Ted Cable in their book, “The Gift of Interpretation.” I’ve included questions to ask when thinking if a product is appropriate for your audience/store.

To learn more about Interpretation visit the National Association for Interpretation online, www.interpnet.com.

Article originally published June, 2014; updated November, 2020.