Histories, Storytelling & Planning
Bringing Your Organization's Stories to Life
The bridge between history and your audience is storytelling.
Interactivity is key when it comes to engaging audiences--whether in the form of a high-tech digital experience or a simple prompts like this one.
Our interpretive planners transform open landscapes like this battlefield into meaningful visitor experiences.
Digital immersives are only as effective as the content that they are built on. We help our clients identify and tell captivating, historically accurate stories.
All stories must be curated. Our histories, storytelling and planning services do this and more. We focus on framing and communicating your narrative in a meaningful way. This means analyzing your audience and using interpretive skills to find the most compelling, interesting, and persuasive information and the best medium in which to present it.
Then, creative, thoughtful phrasing and design bring your story to life, resulting in a product that celebrates your accomplishments, inspires employees, engages the public, and frames your vision for the future.
We believe every company, association, institution, and agency has an authentic story to share.
- Museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions
- Educational publishers
- Exhibit, experience design, and fabrication firms
- Multimedia companies
- Local, state, and federal government agencies
- Universities and colleges
HAI provides a variety of history, storytelling & planning services:
POINT OF CONTACT:
Manager of Exhibits and Interpretive Planning
successful exhibit projects completed
states and 5 foreign countries visited by HAI for projects
total assets licensed on
behalf of our clients
National Park Service sites interpreted
Featured Blog Posts
Frequently Asked Questions
We believe that capturing personal recollections and insights can inspire organizations to better understand their actions, decisions, and values while preserving institutional memory. Our historians bring an empathetic ear and a deep understanding of historical context to each interview, resulting in a substantive discussion that yields valuable insights.
Oral history interviews preserve memories, institutional knowledge, and valuable insights about past challenges, strategies, and inflection points—the sort of details that might otherwise be lost. Our experienced oral historians use techniques and best practices that yield authentic, conversational interviews. Interview content can be used for personal or public use.
HAI Oral History services can help your organization:
- Preserve the memories and stories of older stakeholders and founders while they are still with us
- Celebrate an upcoming milestone with reflections by current and former executives, officials, stakeholders, board members, and employees
- Capture institutional knowledge during an important transition for your agency, organization, or company
- Enliven a historical book, exhibit, or website with personal accounts and stories
- Add depth to a podcast, documentary, or other audiovisual project
The purchase of one (1) interview includes preliminary research, a virtual 60–90 minute interview, a signed release form, and an interview transcript. We will deliver final audio and video files in both .mp3 and .mp4 format, as well as the transcript in Microsoft Word format. All products will be reviewed and edited for quality assurance.
Your purchase includes a remote/virtual interview conducted over a platform such as Zoom, with commensurate audio and video quality. The interviewee must have access to a computer and a strong Internet connection. Should you wish to pursue an in-person or audio-only interview, please get in touch with us to discuss these options. The per-interview price does not include any travel costs.
We offer additional oral history services that may be of interest to your project. We would be happy to discuss any of these options with you for future purchase:
- Longer interviews
- In-person interviews
- Professional videography
- Enhanced video or audio production
Content Assessment and Planning
Understanding your story, assets, audience, and goals is a critical first step in the storytelling process. We help our clients see the full picture and chart a path to the future.
We will work with your team to review and evaluate all extant content—from extant planning documents and strategic initiatives to internal archival materials and website content. A thorough assessment will identify gaps in content and opportunities for new initiatives and programming.
This assessment will inform the planning process. Our team will help you select and define new initiatives, develop a schedule that aligns with your priorities, and create a plan of action that will result in a meaningful, dynamic heritage program for your organization.
HAI Content Assessment and Planning services include:
- Consultation and visioning workshops
- Content assessment and documentation
- Content inventory
- Strategic initiative development
- Conceptualization and planning
Histories and Heritage Planning
Your organization’s history is a priceless asset and an invaluable resource. Countless insights and innovations, challenges met and obstacles overcome—not to mention years of effort—make your business what it is today. HAI can help you leverage your story.
Our expert historians create corporate history books, develop web and video histories, and conduct oral history projects that recover and share the stories that form the essence of your organizational identity. We provide political, economic, social, and cultural context to show the full dimensions of your organization’s contributions to its customers, its employees, and its industry.
Not sure where to begin? HAI can guide you through a strategic planning process to develop a holistic, iterative heritage program.
HAI Histories and Heritage Planning services include:
- Visioning workshops
- Strategic plan development
- Conceptualization and narrative development
- Oral histories and story capture
- Book and e-book writing
- Content development for audiovisual media, websites, and social media
- Archives and knowledge management
Educational Content and Experiences
We are passionate about making history accessible and exciting for students of all ages.
All of our content is designed to educate, but we work specifically with educators from publishing houses, museums, historic sites, and elsewhere to develop engaging, age-appropriate learning experiences. Whether you need a lesson plan, sensitivity and fact checking, a publishable set of primary sources, or an interactive digital module, we will work with you to create an impactful outcome.
Our team has worked with one of the top educational publishers to develop an award-winning digital learning tool that immerses students in the past through compelling narratives and insightful primary sources. We will bring this experience to bear on your project, as well as an understanding of key elements such as reading level and state educational standards to your project.
HAI Educational Content and Experiences services include:
- Storyboarding and planning
- Primary source research
- Multimedia licensing and acquisition
- Content development for textbooks, lesson plans, and digital experiences
- Custom map and infographic development
- Sensitivity and fact checking
- Copy editing
- ADA-compliant audio descriptions
Preserving your historic site is only the beginning. Compelling interpretation attracts people to historic sites. It’s how we share history, stir emotions, and allow visitors to truly experience echoes of the past.
HAI has extensive experience developing creative interpretive programming for historical sites around the world. We start with a professional interpretive planning process that identifies the particular challenges and objectives of every project. Our certified interpretive planner works with clients to develop a comprehensive strategy for conveying key messages to target audiences in the most effective way, while respecting and preserving their unique heritage. The result is a foundational document that will inform decisions at your site well into the future.
We can then transform your interpretive planning goals into a reality. Our trained researchers and experienced script writers are adept at creating experiences that capture your visitors’ imagination. We bring these classical elements of storytelling to a range of different media, including traditional wayfaring signage, on the web, via smartphone apps, or in interactive audio and video formats.
HAI Interpretive Planning services include:
- Theme development
- Short- and long-term goal setting
- Audience identification and analysis
- Interpretive recommendations
- Implementation and action plans
- Stakeholder workshops and town halls
- Public surveys
- Assessment of existing planning documents
HAI is located just outside Washington, D.C., so our researchers have the tremendous resources of the Library of Congress, National Archives, Smithsonian Institution, and other federal agencies at their fingertips. We are just as comfortable outside the well-traveled halls of those repositories and have traveled to others around the globe for our clients.
Our expertise is not confined to the past. We apply our proven research methodologies to all subjects—from science and medicine to sports, entertainment, and current events.
HAI Research services include:
- Archival research
- Online research
- Multimedia and artifact research
- Asset collection and delivery
- Research analysis and report writing
- Chronology and timeline development
Asset Acquisition and Licensing
The right image can evoke emotion, spark conversation, and tell a story without words. We understand the power and importance of multimedia, and help you obtain the high-quality assets you need to bring your story to life.
HAI’s knowledgeable researchers know the ins and outs of copyright clearance. We will identify compelling and relevant audiovisual media and navigate the licensing process on your behalf. Our team coordinates closely with designers to understand the specific needs of each project and uses digital asset management software to organize files, capture metadata, and deliver assets to our clients.
HAI Asset Acquisition and Licensing services include:
- Multimedia research
- Copyright clearance
- High-resolution file acquisition and transmittal
- High-resolution scanning
- Credit line coordination
Exhibit Design and Development
Our content development services help museums, interpretive centers, educators, and corporations capture imagination through sights, sounds, and words. HAI collaborates with clients, designers, fabricators, and other exhibit professionals to develop a storyline that provides a richly layered learning experience.
We participate in all phases of exhibit, audiovisual, and interactive content development—from initial conceptualization and exhibit planning through final fabrication. Whether you need a full storyline and script for museum exhibits, historic photographs for a small display, research for a digital interactive, or help licensing media content, our content development specialists have the skills and experience to get your project done on time and within budget.
While our trained researchers find the striking photographs, film, audio, and artifacts that bring a story to life, our skilled exhibit writers craft engaging label text and multimedia scripts that speak to your audience.
HAI Exhibit Design and Development services include:
- Master and interpretive planning
- Content development for exhibits, interactives, websites, and multimedia
- Image and artifact research
- Label text and script writing
- Fact checking
- ADA-compliant audio descriptions
- Exhibit script appraisal and editing
- High-resolution asset acquisition and licensing
- Artifact acquisition
- Project management