Dale Jones founded Making History Connections in 2007 to help museums and historic sites offer engaging programs and experiences that effectively connect with visitors. Jones is a recognized leader in the history, museum theatre, and living history fields as a creator of powerful interpretive experiences and as an audience evaluator. His background in folk studies, historical interpretation, theatre, and evaluation shapes his approach to training and to designing innovative and creative programs.
Four main areas highlight his work: Historical Performances, Staff Training, Tour Development, and Evaluation.
Dale creates compelling and provocative experiences using museum theatre, living history, and guided tours to engage and entertain, and to portray conflicts and complex issues. He advocates using museum theatre and historical performances to help visitors connect emotionally with people in the past and to help visitors understand the nature and background of controversial and sensitive issues that are relevant today.
STAFF TRAINING & TOUR DEVELOPMENT
Throughout his career Dale has designed unique visitor experiences and trained staff to deliver engaging interpretive presentations. His style reflects a combination of best practices, visitor research, and theater techniques, which he has crystallized into a process called THE CAST Model of Tour Design and Staff Training. His strategies enhance both guided tours and living history interpretation.
Dale has conducted visitor studies – front-end, formative, summative and longitudinal -- with scores of museums and organizations across the country. He understands the importance of developing affordable evaluation plans that provide valuable information to staff and at the same time build staff capabilities.
Before founding Making History Connections Dale was a senior researcher at the Institute for Learning Innovation, a visitor research and evaluation organization. He has worked with a wide variety of sites to conduct evaluations, including the International Spy Museum, National Endowment for the Humanities, Heinz History Center, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, National Children’s Museum, USS Arizona Memorial, Maryland Historical Society, USS Constitution Museum, Mercer Museum, National Archives, Newport Mansions and Museum of Jewish Heritage.
He is a proponent for encouraging professionals in the history field to conduct visitor research, and he co-edited the Spring 2007 issue of History News, dedicated to visitor studies. He was also a co-founder of the Visitor Voices Affinity Group at AASLH.
Dale was previously Director of Interpretation at the Baltimore City Life Museums, a system of seven museums, historic houses, and living history sites in downtown Baltimore. While in Baltimore, Jones infused living history, museum theater and hands-on programming into school and public tours and programs, serving over 200,000 students and general public.
One of Jones’ areas of expertise is historical performances, based on primary and secondary sources, with an emphasis on site goals and visitor needs. He has created multi-character and individual performances ranging from the early 1600s to the 1990s and has produced or scripted over thirty museum theatre productions for sites including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Sotterley Plantation, Conner Prairie Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Mystic Seaport Museum, Historic Spanish Point, Historical Society of Washington, D.C., the Baltimore City Life Museums, and the Pleasant Company and its American Girl Dolls.
Atlanta History Center
Baltimore National Heritage Area
Black Women’s Playwright Association
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Castle Hill at the Crane Estates
Delaware First State Heritage Park
Delaware State Parks
First State Heritage Park, Delaware
Fort Delaware State Park
Frederick Historic Sites Consortium
Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum
Greater Baltimore History Alliance
Hancock Shaker Village
Historic Arkansas Museum
Historic Sotterley Plantation
Maryland Historical Society
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Gardens
National Children’s Museum
National Endowment for the Humanities
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Pennsylvania Heritage Society
Pennsylvania Humanities Council
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front
Senator John Heinz History Center
The Trustees of Reservations
Tsongas Industrial History Center
USS Constitution Museum
Worcester Historical Society
QM² is a community of consultants helping museums and cultural nonprofits. Based in the Baltimore/ Washington DC area, QM² includes John and Anita Durel, Mary Case, and Dean Krimmel. Qm² helps museums and cultural organizations build successful futures by implementing powerful and proven concepts of leadership, management, and organizational design.