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Certified Interpretive Guide Training Course

December 2, 2021 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30 am on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until December 10, 2021

$235 – $385

Become a Certified Interpretive Guide!

Dates: Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays, November 30- December 10
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Montana Natural History Center

Calling all interpretive program educators, present, and future! If you work, or plan to work, in museums, environmental education, field-based settings, or any educational capacity with the public, we have a fabulous  opportunity for you. Learn to create, conduct, and evaluate interpretive presentations and programs, and gain the tools to make your programs shine.

The Montana Natural History Center, in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation  (NAI), is offering a training course for individuals in the field of Interpretation. Through classroom and field sessions you will learn the fundamentals of program development, delivery, and excellence in interpretation. Explore topics through the amazing locations and resources we have here in Missoula- tours of the Montana Natural History Center, Traveler’s Rest State Park, and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula and trips to riparian and forest locations for wildlife sign, birding, and more.

Course Options

Option one: $235 enrollment fee. Take the course without obtaining certification. Contact Christine Morris,at cmorris [at] montananaturalist [dot] org. for a student rate code.

Option two: Take the course and add certification as a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG). You will pay an additional fee ($150) for certification and you must complete an open book Core Literature Review exam. The CIG lasts four years and comes with a complimentary one-year membership. If you are already a member of NAI we will add your complimentary membership onto the end of your current membership.

If you are UM student you can sign up for course credit: HSTR 491: Historical Interpretation


The CIG Program
The nationally-recognized Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) program is designed for anyone in the interpretive field. Whether you’re a new hire, a professional looking to refresh your skills, or beginning a second career, this course will aid you in improving your presentation techniques, combining the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical strategies in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.

This 32-hour course includes:

  • The history, definition, and principles of interpretation.
  • Techniques on how to make your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic.
  • How to use tangible objects to connect your audience to intangible ideas and universal concepts.
  • The 3 certification requirements needed to obtain a CIG (open book CORE Literature Review exam, program outline, and 10 minute interpretive presentation).

Texts Used in the Workshop
During this course, the books on interpretation listed below will be mentioned and some of their ideas explored. They are what the open book Core Literature Review exam covers and are useful texts for any interpreter to read. To access the books, you will need either physical copies of the books or e-books. For physical books, you will work with your instructor to either use their library sets (if you live in the same area as your instructor and books can be shared) or you can buy your own set for use during the class from NAI. Click here to go to the NAI Store, where you can order individual books or as a package and listed under “Core Review Library Package”. For online e-books, you will work with your instructor to determine which books you need and obtain access to the materials as some will have to be purchased, and others can be “checked out” through your local library and NAI. The Montana Natural History Center has a library set of the books for you to use.

Member Discount: Those choosing to apply for certification will receive a complimentary one-year membership to NAI. Memberships will become active within a couple of days of registration and will allow you to purchase course books and other registrations at the discounted member rate. Once memberships become active, you will receive a receipt via email letting you know that you are all setup. Current NAI members will receive a one-year extension on their current membership. If you are registering for $0, your membership will become active when you are certified.

The texts are:

  • Interpreting Our Heritage, by Freeman Tilden (4th Edition, U. of North Carolina Press, 2007)
  • The Gifts of Interpretation, by Larry Beck and Ted Cable (Sagamore Publishing, 2011)
  • Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources, by Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman (National Association for Interpretation, 2015)
  • Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose, by Sam H. Ham (Fulcrum, 2013)


COVID Precautions:

  • Masks indoors
  • Masks on the bus
  • Students are welcome to drive their personal vehicle to field trips sites (in and around Missoula) if they prefer
  • Small class size, 12 students or less.



Christine Morris is a naturalist and Community Programs Coordinator with the Montana Natural History Center. She teaches the Master Naturalist Course as well as a variety of pre-K through adult programs. Christine has 15 years of experience in environmental education and interpretation including positions as a park ranger in the Department of Interpretation at Rocky Mountain National Park and Environmental Education Director for Boys and Girls Clubs of King County, Seattle.

Guest Instructor: Kristjana Eyjólfsson, Education Director for the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.

Field Trips: Montana Natural History Center, Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Traveler’s Rest State Park, U.S.F.S., State and City Park lands



Further Information

For more information about the course, please contact Christine Morris at cmorris [at] montananaturalist [dot] org.

Special Terms and Cancellations

Cancellations must be made in writing and emailed, postmarked, or faxed by TWO WEEKS PRIOR. A nonrefundable processing fee of $50 will be assessed. Emailed cancellations should be sent to registration@interpnet.com. Cancellations cannot be made by phone.

No refunds will be given after TWO WEEKS PRIOR.

**If you are a full-time student you are eligible for a discount. Please call 406.327.0405 to get the promo code to use when registering.**


Registration Instructions: How to Register for a CIG or CIH Course.


December 2, 2021
9:30 am - 3:00 pm
$235 – $385
Event Categories:


Montana Natural History Center
120 Hickory St.
Missoula, MT 59801 United States