Brent Leisure; interviewer: Patrick
Park managers wear many hats. They must have vision for the site, and manage both recreational use and preservation of the resource. They are skilled in management. Some related degrees include resource management, park management, and the fields of natural resources or cultural resources.
This manager had to make the difficult decision to close entry to the park during certain times of busy days to control overcrowding. Park managers want high visitation, but overcrowding can cause safety problems, result in a poor visitor experience, and damage the resource.
Managers have to determine if they must restrict access to some areas. In this case, an area was designated for restoration and revegetation, so the hiking trail is closed.
This manager also works closely with special groups, such as rock climbing organizations, who have special interests in the park. Balancing the needs of average visitors, enthusiasts, and the park's natural resources is the role of this park manager.
The manager at TPWD's Pacific War Museum and Admiral Nimitz State Historic Park knows that listening to his visitors is vital to creating a site that serves the needs and interests of its patrons. Many World War II veterans come to visit and share their memories. The museum also holds symposiums that include veterans from both the U.S. and Japan. These are treasured, but vanishing, opportunities. His challenge is reaching new generations that have no experience with World War II. He strives for a site that must not only be accurate in fact, but reflect the significance, passion and heroism of the times.
There are artifacts, photos and audio of authentic news bulletins throughout the gallery. Nestled in the gallery is a video tape of a young pilot in the Pacific campaign of WWII being rescued after being shot down by an enemy plane. Who knew then that this pilot would end up as President George H. Bush? (There's a good close-up of his face – you can decide whether President George W. Bush looks like his father!)
These animatronic exhibits include text, sound effects, and voices. What words should be said? What scenes should be created? What would a guide or docent say to groups as they tour these exhibits? Managers of historic sites consult with historians, writers, veterans of the times and descendants to paint the most accurate and compelling story of the time.
The manager of this living history site is a steward for its natural resources, visitor center, historic buildings, nature trail, recreational areas, visitors, volunteers, and also deals with a good measure of theatrics. Living history sites recreate the time with staff and volunteers in costume and character. Since this is a farm, they also maintain livestock. Managers of these sites must have many talents and be willing to learn new ones!
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