Frozen Landscapes, Swirling History: The Construction of Meaning at San Juan Island National Historical Park
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This thesis is about meaning, history, and landscape interpretation. Specifically, it examines the messages and media of interpretation at San Juan Island National Historical Park (SJINHP) in Western Washington. Drawing from planning and interpretive documents, I reconstruct the history of interpretation at SJINHP to show a preservation paradigm intent on freezing the sites within the historic period of commemoration. Through field observations, I assess the interplay of official meaning through planning and the dynamic "swirl" of history that comes to life in the park through the practice of interpretation both within and beyond the two sites at American and English camps. I then turn to an account of emerging interpretive practices within the National Park System (NPS), looking specifically at the "whole story" approach to the interpretation of history. Finally, I assess interpretation at SJINHP in light of recent developments in the NPS by looking at a number of different park units. Drawing from these examples, I assess web-based interactive media as a next potential phase in the construction of meaning at the park and as a novel direction in interpretation for SJINHP.
- Urban planning