Publication Date



This study treats Chaco Culture National Historic Park (CCNHP) as a museum space with the National Park Service (NPS) as the head curator. As a museum space and a World Heritage site, Chaco is a place of knowledge production and consumption, with interpretation structured to relay a narrative of Chaco as a thriving prehistoric civilization and to foster an environment where visitors can create idiosyncratic relationships with the space. Trail guides, Wayside Exhibits, and Park ranger interaction constitute formal interpretive resources for visitors to interact with sites in the canyon. These processes are both easily available and easily avoidable for visitors, allowing visitors agency in constructing their experience at Chaco. During visitor interactions with these interpretive materials, visitors and curators enter into a constructive dialogue with one another, creating interpretations and knowledge about the sites. Focusing on the sites of Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl, this study critically examines the relationship between CCNHPs current interpretive processes and actual visitor experience, and discusses the possible implications of this interaction.'

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Advisor

Brulotte, Ronda

First Committee Member (Chair)

Debenport, Erin

Second Committee Member

Traxler, Loa

Included in

Anthropology Commons