Associate Director for Interpretation, Education and Volunteers, Julia Washburn, announced that Lynette Webber (Midwest Region) of Keweenaw National Historical Park is the 2016 National Freeman Tilden Winner.
Lynette was recognized for her work in developing the Missing in the Copper Country program: a series of social media posts, ranger-guided programs, temporary exhibits, and interactive youth programming. The Missing in the Copper Country series started as a photographic journey to compare the past with the present by using historic photographs to highlight landscape and building changes and losses through time.
To develop the Missing in the Copper Country series, Lynette worked closely with park staff of all disciplines: history, archives, landscape and historical architecture, and interpretation and education. Through this collaborative team effort and support, Lynette studied Sanborn maps, viewed hundreds of historic photos, met with community members, and visited site locations during all seasons and types of weather. Lynette’s attention to detail served her well in this project as she superimposed historic images on present day photos. Lynette studied the smallest details from vegetation and foundations to sidewalks and street posts. She spent hours in the field pinpointing the exact locations from which the original historic photos were taken. She validated each building’s history, date of construction, and additional information to share what is seen in the image in a relevant interpretive context. Lynette’s research connected family members, inspired additional research, and triggered historic preservation conversations throughout the region.
A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lynette’s first formal interpretive experience was at the Adventure Copper Mine where she led tours in 2002. The next ten years were spent being a full-time mom and doing an assortment of part-time jobs. Lynette rediscovered her passion for Keweenaw history while volunteering at Old Victoria, an historic copper mine and community. Visitors frequently praised her enthusiasm and encouraged her to return to school.
Today, Lynette is a full-time Pathways Park Guide and a graduate of Bay College. She is enrolled at Michigan Technological University as a non-traditional student, while continuing her volunteer work at several heritage sites and organizations within her local community. Her children share her interest, often working alongside her. She credits the National Park Service for providing the opportunity to support her passion for history and her creative outlets by connecting historic resources with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Lynette looks forward to work each day and is grateful to Keweenaw National Historical Park for helping to create a new and brighter future for her and her family.
About the Freeman Tilden Award:
The Freeman Tilden Award is the highest award presented to an individual National Park Service interpreter. Since 1981, the award is presented annually and recognizes outstanding contributions to the practice of interpretation and education by a National Park Service employee. The award was created to stimulate and reward creative thinking that results in positive impacts upon the preservation of the parks and the visiting public. The award is named for Freeman Tilden, who has inspired generations of interpreters across the world and whose Interpreting Our Heritage continues to be a definitive text for the discipline. The Freeman Tilden Award is made possible through the generous contributions of K.C. DenDooven and the National Association for Interpretation. The next call for nominations is open July 1–August 31, 2017. More detailed information about the Tilden Award and nomination procedures can be found at the NPS Awards Portal.