Engaging Guided Tours: Techniques and Best Practices // 2016
On October 28, 2016, Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours led a workshop at the City University of New York’s Center for the Humanities as part of Afterlives: Place, Memory, Story, a day-long conference hosted by the Public History Collective. This workshop introduced attendees to best practices in developing and delivering guided tour experiences that are accessible, engaging, and rigorously researched. Through case studies drawn from Turnstile’s extensive experience in the field, and through modeling practices, participants learned about strategies for developing content for place-based learning, storytelling techniques, group management, as well as other approaches to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and educational tour experience that is meaningfully connected to the tour’s location.
Recommendations for Accessibility Strategies // 2016
Turnstile Studio was commissioned to produce an assessment with recommendations and resources for increasing accessibility for all visitors at The Ringling’s 66-acre campus in Sarasota, Florida, including the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, Historic Asolo Theatre, Ca’ d’Zan mansion, and the Bayfront Gardens. The results of the assessment were informed by a review of visitor and training materials, a three-day site visit, meetings with department heads, and a survey conducted with more than 300 volunteers and staff. The final report included survey reports, as well as general recommendations in the following four areas: 1) Physical accessibility and navigation; 2) Visitor services and effective communication; 3) Institutional capacity building; and 4) Staff training. Since this assessment, The Ringling has excelled at implementing many of the recommendations in the report.
Research supporting educational field trips to Four Freedoms Park // 2016
Turnstile Studio was selected by the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy to conduct supporting research for an educational program focusing on the history of social welfare in New York City. Using the landscape visible from the park, located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River, we identified a series of structures that typified different modes of housing to trace the history of housing for New Yorkers in need from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Research included examining primary and secondary source materials from local archives, including the New-York Historical Society, the New York City Municipal Archives, the New York Public Library, and the La Guardia and Wagner Archives at La Guardia Community College.
Historical research to support creation of an infographic timeline // 2016
Drawing from original research that Turnstile Tours conducted to lead public tours of the Essex Street Market, Turnstile Studio was commissioned by the Essex Street Market Vendors Association to research, develop, and curate a historical content document to support the design and creation of an infographic that was installed inside the market in the fall of 2016. This research project included producing an annotated synopsis of the history of the Essex Street Market and New York City’s public market system, focusing on milestone moments, historical tidbits, and vendors’ stories, as well as providing suggestions for visual materials to feature in the infographic. Primary source materials were drawn from sources at the New York City Municipal Archives, New York City Department of Records, the Municipal Library, and the New York Public Library, as well as from online newspaper archives, including the New York Times, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and other newspapers.
Presentations on tour development and storytelling // 2016
Turnstile’s Andrew Gustafson was invited to attend a two-day workshop in Singapore hosted by the Tourism Board’s Tour & Industry Development team and attended by local tour operators, attractions, and guides. Andrew facilitated a workshop and presentation, “Developing Quality Tour Content,” on tour development, guide training, and effective visitor engagement techniques, and delivered the keynote address on the second day of the program, “Delivering the Story: Storytelling Techniques for Guided Tours,” drawing on Turnstile Tours’ experience with multi-sensory engagement, narrative development, and guide evaluation. Andrew also visited several attractions in Singapore and provided feedback on guide technique and interpretation, including the Chinatown Heritage Center and Singapore City Tours.
Training Workshops and Resources for Staff and Volunteers // 2016
Turnstile Studio was contracted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to conduct a series of training workshops, develop training tools and materials, and provide recommendations to further enhance accessibility and visitor engagement for both children and adults. This project involved two separate accessibility training workshops with staff, K–12 instructors, Discovery Docents, and Garden Guides and the development of training resources to support the institution’s continuing efforts to provide welcoming experiences to visitors with disabilities. Turnstile staff conducted on-site observations of guided tours, school programs, and the Discovery Garden; created tailor-made training resources and evaluation tools for general public tours and the Discovery Garden; developed a train-the-trainers lesson plan with supplementary training materials and resources; supported the inaugural pilot early morning opening of the Discovery Garden for families with children who have disabilities; and delivered reports with assessments and recommendations based on observations and best practices in the field for future capacity-building efforts.
Design of tourism map and visitors guide to Brooklyn // 2016
Turnstile Studio was contracted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create a free visitors map for Brooklyn, highlighting travel and tourism stakeholders in the borough. The design was focused on drawing in visitors from Manhattan by putting a spotlight on wayfinding and the many means of public transportation that cross the East River. The maps were printed and distributed by CTM Media Group in kiosks throughout the greater New York area during the 2016-17 season.
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Design of brochure and map for tour programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard // 2015
In the summer of 2015, Turnstile Studio was contracted by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to create a new visitor brochure for tour programs at the Yard. This brochure was designed to improve wayfinding for visitors, and to encapsulate the wide variety of tour programs and experiences available at the Yard, including tours for the general public, school tours, private group tours, and exhibits and programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.
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Map brochures designed to engage visitors and locals with the craft beverage industry // 2015
Turnstile was commissioned by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create a series of map brochures depicting the booming craft alcohol industry in Brooklyn. Developed as part of Cheers NY, a showcase of New York State alcohol producers held at Brooklyn’s Industry City in October 2015, and New York State’s Taste NY initiative, the maps were designed to guide visitors through the borough to the many locations where they can stop in and try a taste of beers, wines, and spirits manufactured in Brooklyn. This project was led by Andrew Gustafson, who is an experienced cartographer and graphic designer and included maps for breweries, wineries, and distilleries. This project involved research and outreach, coordinating with the Chamber of Commerce to gather visitor information, graphics, and promotional copy from the 32 participating companies, as well as creating a base map that displays simply and clearly the many transportation options for getting into and around Brooklyn.
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Research and content development for STEM-based K–12 programs // 2014
Turnstile was commissioned by the Brooklyn Historical Society (now known as the Center for Brooklyn History at the Brooklyn Public Library) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 to create a research document about STEM and sustainability-related topics, both historical and contemporary, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This research project was designed to be the content foundation for the development of STEM-based K-12 programs at the Yard.
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