Heritage, archaeology and interpretation : an interpretive phenomenological approach Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zw12z8955

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  • The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences and understandings of professionals engaged in the interpretation of archaeological resources and heritage sites. The focus was on the examination of the experiences of professionals engaged in the interpretation of archaeological resources and their understandings of the following: (a) the value of archaeological research in heritage interpretation and making archaeological research meaningful to the public, (b) the uses of archaeological research as a tool for the presentation of alternative historical narratives, and (c) methods for the interpretation of archaeological research to the public. A secondary avenue of research was the exploration of understandings, perceived value, strategies, and innovative solutions for both the integration of archaeological research into current sustainability discourse and of the principles of sustainability into the interpretation of heritage resources to the public. Method of inquiry was interpretive phenomenological analysis of data gathered through the investigation of the experiences of professionals in the field of archaeology and heritage interpretation. Interview findings were applied by designing a plan for the interpretation of archaeological resources at Fort Hoskins Historic Park, located in Benton County, Oregon. The plan was then evaluated by study participants, all professionals in the field of heritage interpretation. Participants in my study were three men and two women, all working in Southwest Washington and/or Western Oregon on similar or in some cases the same heritage resources. All participants were professionals at the state or federal level. Two were archaeologists, one was a park manager, one was a museum technician, and one managed heritage grants and outreach. I employed semi-structured, in-depth interviews. In the process of data collection interpretive experiences were shared by participants; three main themes developed during the course of analysis. These three themes became critical: story, access and connections, and new media and methods. Through this study I have furthered our understanding of how professionals in the field are engaging with archaeological and heritage resources, engaging with audiences, using and evaluating traditional interpretive methods, and increasingly engaging with web based content and social media.
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