What?! We Don’t Need Pencils?

Hello again!

It has been another week here at Independence NHP and although the weather and air quality have been less than ideal, there was lots to do and learn as I wrap up week 3.

This week, I want to share with you all the main project I will be working on here at Independence. As I continue to learn more about the park, interpretation, and visitor engagement, I am also contributing to a project that has been in the works for many months here. 


Here’s a sneak peek at the front page outline we have at the moment. This is just a rough outline, as we are working to finalize the design and activities for the map.

This summer, we will be launching a new Junior Ranger Program Map! The new program emphasizes discussions among families and is more interactive. It also eliminates the workbook and question/answer format that currently exists. You won’t need any pencils to fill in answers for the new program (in case you were curious about the title of this blog). 

Finally, the new program focuses on the theme of the map, “What are the stories of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness that exist throughout the park?” The new program dives into these topics and what they meant for the historical characters in the map and for each of us individually.

In addition to collaborating and working on finalizing the map for the Junior Ranger program, I am going to be given the title of visitor engagement specialist. My role for this summer will be to engage with visitors, but more specifically the families, friends, and groups that pick up a junior ranger map and go off to explore the park. I will be spending a lot of time going around the park and observing how our visitors engage with the map activities. This way our team here at the park can look at what works and what doesn’t work and adjust from there. We are hoping that within a few weeks we will roll out the new map and test it out.


These past few weeks, I have been able to engage with the public at the Independence visitor center and have built up both my knowledge about the park and my skills of visitor engagement. I have also learned a lot about visitor services and interpretation that make me excited to interact with the public. The days, I get to spend in the visitor center have given me the opportunities to interact with new people, learn more about the park, and also use my Spanish to translate the historical stories that lay within the park, which is one of my favorite parts of visitor engagement.


In the coming weeks, I am so excited to share with you all where this project goes and the experiences that come along with it.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a picture of one of my favorite sections in the park, which is the president’s house. I will also share some of the characters we have chosen to include in the Junior Ranger map. 

The front view of the Presidents House site where George Washington and John Adams lived. It is mostly devoted to slavery and its role in the founding of the country.
Top: James Fronter, a soldier during the American Revolution and an abolitionist and entrepreneur after the war. Bottom: Cornplanter or Gaiänt'wakê,Kaintwakon was leader of the Seneca tribe and met with George Washington on several occasions in defense of his people and their rights to the land.
Ona Judge, formerly Oney Judge, was the personal slave to Martha Washington. She seized her freedom and left the Presidents house.
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