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Cultural attractions like the Railway Heritage Museum in Port aux Basques have become important contributors to rural economies.

By Rebecca Cohoe

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

The opportunity:
Tourism has become a major economic driver in rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, but in many cases, the people working at cultural and historic attractions are transitioning from other industries and don't necessarily have background or significant training related to tourism. Others are students who are early in professional careers. According to Nadine Osmond of the Marine and Mountain Zone Board, heritage interpretation training could go a long way towards helping individuals transition to jobs in tourism, and could also improve the quality of the tourist experience at the growing number of provincial tourism attractions.

"Just visiting a museum and viewing the artifacts sitting on a shelf is not the same as hearing the story behind the artifacts and the community," she said. "Often students –and also more mature staff hired through other funding programs – are hired, but sometimes the staff can be shy with visitors."

The project:
Ms. Osmond is looking for someone from Memorial who would be able to offer some performance training and insight to the interpreters.

"If the summer staff and museum operators were given some training on how to give the best interpretation either through short monologues or from the perspective of a specific character, the product we are offering would improve, giving the tourists better experiences," she said.

Ms. Osmond believes that a workshop-type session provided by someone with a background in folklore, theatre, or both could really help prepare the interpreters.

"Participants could prepare some information on the museum they are representing to bring it to the workshop. This would give summer staff and volunteers more confidence and maybe develop more pride in the heritage stories they're hired to tell."

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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