Weak partnerships affect the ways that stories are told at historic sites, limiting the development of sound interpretive strategies that effectively engage citizens and visitors. Interpretation is most often addressed almost entirely by operators with the support of third parties and high level oversight of site owners.
Owners may work more closely on interpretive projects in the case of some publicly owned sites, such as Parks Canada sites, where owners hold interpretive expertise. Programming becomes restrictive and potentially poor when owners enact too much control over interpretive development, or when political perspectives of a government limit storytelling.
Another common issue exists in the logistics of offering public programming and events, as operators and third parties find themselves challenged by impractical permit requirements or restrictive policies, regulations, and public access imposed on by site owners.
Consistent and appropriate staffing makes all the difference. High staff turnover among owners, operators, and third parties is one of the most cited issues at shared stewardship sites, creating ruptures in the relationship.
Strong communication is the key to a positive partnership. When communication is fraught, it can lead to breakdown in other areas of site management.