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Trailblazing the Concrete Jungle: Museums Utilizing Interpretive Nature Trails in Urban Communities

Thesis by Jimi Hightower (2015)

This study defined and described the phenomenon of urban museums that utilize trails to interpret their natural surroundings. It was significant because there was no research regarding museums in urban settings that utilize interpretive trails to study environmental issues. Research was conducted to determine the motivating factors, feasibility, impact, and interpretive goals of their trails and to address the gap in the literature regarding the benefits of urban museums that incorporate interpretive trails. Interviews were conducted with employees from three museums that utilize interpretive trails in urban environments. The primary conclusion was that by utilizing trails to interpret their natural surroundings, urban museums could highlight the importance of native vegetation, educate their visitors about local ecosystems, and explain how these urban ecosystems relate to broader environmental issues. Limitations of this study included a small sample size and the inability to physically visit the sites.

Keywords: research, National Park Service, interpretation, education, environmental education


Hightower, J. (2015). Trailblazing the concrete jungle: Museums utilizing interpretive nature trails in urban communities (Order No. 1599818).  ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1722051015). Retrieved from