National Parks Lecture Series: “Interpretation in the National Parks”

Image of map with a lighthouse, Text overlay on the image.

Dr. Michael McGowan will deliver a talk on “Interpretation in the National Parks” at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, in the Garden Lounge of Malpass Library. This lecture, which is open to all WIU students, faculty and staff and the public, is part of the series of talks that are being held in the WIU Libraries Malpass Library to celebrate the National Park Service’s Centennial.

Interpretation is the method of communicating with National Park visitors that is used by the Park Service. Dr. McGowan, Professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration at Western Illinois University, will describe the purpose of the Park Service’s interpretive programs and his experience as an interpreter at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. As a volunteer interpreter Dr. McGowan’s primary focus was sharing historical information about the activities of people in the Lake Superior region, focusing on the lighthouse service and the role it played in commerce and economic development of the region. His presentation will explore the intimate role the lighthouses played in the Western Lake Superior economy from 1850 to the Present, paying particular attention to the role of the Devils Island Light house, where he was stationed in 2007 and 2008. His presentation will include visual depictions of the light house station, the workings of the light house, and the sea caves and geological features of Devils Island. The focus will be on the environmental impacts of commerce on the region and how the National Park Service Interpreters convey these impacts to the public.

Light refreshments will follow the presentation. For more information, contact Linda Zellmer at 309-298-2723 or