«What is the size of the Guide Force? The law of supply and demand, as ultimately assessed by Gettysburg National Military Park, including input from ...»
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs] about Becoming a Licensed Battlefield Guide
What is the size of the Guide Force?
The law of supply and demand, as ultimately assessed by Gettysburg National Military Park,
including input from the Gettysburg Foundation’s database, determines this. Currently there are
approximately 150 LBGs.
How is the size of the guide force determined?
The park determines when guide-staffing levels warrant re-opening the testing process. The park,
with input from the Gettysburg Foundation, which owns and manages the Visitor Center and operates the Reservation System, carefully reviews the number of requests for guided tours and the number of visitors not able to obtain an LBG because no guide is available to serve them, as well as visitation patterns to determine the number of guides to be added to the LBG force. Based on all of this, an informed decision is made whether the entire testing process should be initiated and how many guides will be licensed from the fully completed process at that time.
How frequently will the four-tiered LBG Examination test be given?
The test is administered at the discretion of the NPS at GNMP, beginning with Tier 1 – the Written Examination – generally given during the winter months. There are several reasons for this time frame. It is a less hectic time to efficiently conduct, administer and score the exam. It allows for the entire four-tiered testing process to be completed and at least some new guides to be licensed and uniformed before the start of heavy visitation in the upcoming summer. At this time, the NPS will offer the LBG Examination as needed, not necessarily at regular intervals as in the past.
Why is there a cost to take the test?
There is a nominal, non-refundable fee of $100 to cover the administrative expenses associated with giving Tier 1 – the Written Examination – of the LBG Examination Process.
How soon should I start to study?
The sooner the better – begin studying for the exam as soon as you want to become a guide.
What should I study?
Start with a good general work such as Glenn Tucker’s High Tide at Gettysburg. There are other more in-depth, one-volume works: Edwin Coddington’s The Gettysburg Campaign; Noah Trudeau’s Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage; Stephen W. Sears’ Gettysburg; and Allen C.
Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion. It is important that you obtain the basics of the battle, and do not focus on statistics. Successful LBGs are those who also grasp the political, social, economic and diplomatic perspectives of the American Civil War era, as well as its causes and consequences. Knowledge of military aspects is important, but not sufficient. Individuals with the most detailed and minute knowledge of the battle usually have the hardest time making it through the licensing process. Why? Because they concentrate so much on a specialized aspect of the battle, i.e. tactics, and too little on the broader scope of the battle, the human-interest element and the meaning of it within the entire scope of the American Civil War.
Also, do not forget to study and become familiar with the actual physical battlefield. You must become familiar with the locations of monuments, historic homes and farms, the roads/waterways and important battle-related sites. This means you need to physically come to the battlefield and study it by driving, and, especially, walking the field. Relevant map study is also important – see also the Suggested Reading List and Sources of Information in this packet.
What is the oral battlefield examination like?
Following Tier 3, the process enters the last and often considered the most difficult phase, Tier 4 – the Oral Battlefield Examination. As a prospective LBG, you are required to take and successfully complete this exam, which consists of a tour given to an NPS Interpretive Ranger and a current LBG playing the role of visitors. You will provide a vehicle and drive these two “visitors” through the entire three-day battle in the Park (with the exception of East Cavalry Field) and present your tour. In preparation for the oral exam, you should develop a tour that covers all possible aspects of the battle within 1 hour, 50 minutes to 2 hours, 10 minutes. The oral exam is treated as any normal tour of the battlefield.
You are expected to weave your knowledge of the battle and the war into an educational and enjoyable interpretive tour that will personalize your narration of that tour for the “visitors.” You will be evaluated on how successful you were in completing this goal according to a scoring rubric developed by the NPS and the testing committee – this rubric will be shared with you in Tier 3 so you understand the expectations of you during this phase. You should expect the “visitors” to question you throughout the tour in order to test your knowledge and ability to weave your answers into an understandable narration.
How will the oral exam be evaluated?
The examiners will be taking notes and recording their observations while you are presenting your tour during the oral examination. Upon completion of the test, the examiners will have you wait while they convene to compare notes and discuss how well you performed. You will then be called in for a personalized discussion of your test results and whether you successfully completed the exam. Whatever decision is made, the examiners will explain what you did well and the areas you need to improve.
If you do not successfully complete the first oral exam, you will be told why and what steps are necessary to correct it. A second exam will be re-scheduled, allowing you time (usually 2-3 weeks, depending on the schedules of you and your examiners) to make the corrections. You will also receive written comments from the first test prior to the second oral exam. You should carefully review and follow the examiners’ suggestions as you prepare for the second chance. It may be helpful, but not required, to work with your LBG mentor from Tier 3 to help you work on the rough spots and provide you helpful ideas and suggestions. When the second test is administered, you will follow the same testing procedures as you did in the first test.
What if I fail the oral exam a second time?
If you are unsuccessful in passing the second oral, you must repeat the entire four-tier LBG Examination Process when the NPS offers it.
I’ve passed the entire four-tiered LBG Examination Process – what happens next?
Examinees who have successfully completed the entire four-tiered LBG Examination Process receive a packet of information on being a licensed battlefield guide, including paperwork that must be signed and returned to the Park, and the license fee. You will need to acquire a uniform of prescribed items (cost estimate is $200 or more). Finally, you will need to see the Supervisory Park Ranger to obtain the official badge and uniform patches, as well as keys and photo ID. After this is completed, you may give your first tour.
Is there a probation period?
All newly licensed battlefield guides are placed on a probation period of one year from the time their licensed is issued. During the probationary year, the Supervisory Park Ranger may audit a new LBG. This simply means you will be asked to present your tour to him or her. Failures to abide by regulations or pass the audit are grounds to suspend or revoke your license.
How do I keep my license?
Upon successfully completing the probationary year, an LBG may retain a license for as long as he or she wishes, so long as all guiding rules and regulations are obeyed, the annual license fee is paid and the annual licensing agreement is signed as specified by policy. LBGs are, of course, expected to continually research and refine their tours. New LBGs soon discover that to become successful, they must develop a number of different, even specialized, tours. As an LBG, you must not allow yourself to continually present a single tour for it will soon develop into a mechanical presentation. Unfortunately, some LBGs in the past have fallen into this type of presentation and have received complaints from visitors. Guides failing to improve upon their presentation will be so informed and counseled, after which they could lose their privilege to guide.
Suggested Reading List and Sources of Information The following list, organized by category, is provided for your self-guided, self-directed, self-study preparation for the entire four-tiered LBG Examination Process Battle of Gettysburg
General Bibliography of the American Civil War and its Causes and Consequences The Constitution of the United States of America, September 17, 1787, and Amendments
Associations, Seminars, Tours, Magazines, Etc.
Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, Inc., Gettysburg, PA, gettysburgtourguides.org Blue and Gray Magazine blueandgraymagazine.com The Camp Chase Gazette www.campchase.com Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours civilwarseminars.org Civil War Monitor Magazine thecivilwarmonitor.com The Civil War News www.civilwarnews.com The Civil War Trust www.civilwar.org Civil War Reenactor Units/Clubs, [in many localities throughout the US and Canada-new members welcome—usually also a Newsletter] Civil War Roundtables [in many localities throughout the US and Canada-new members welcome—usually also a Newsletter] Friends of Gettysburg friendsofgettysburg.org Gettysburg Foundation www.gettysburgfoundation.org Gettysburg Heritage Center www.gettysburgmuseum.com Gettysburg National Military Park www.nps.gov/gett The Gettysburg Magazine gdg.org/gettysburgmagazine McPherson, James M., Hallowed Ground, A Walk at Gettysburg
The Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, www.eppley.org (Click on proValens tab on upper right, click on “Courses,” click on “Interpretive” and/or “History” and find several FREE Courses such as: Causes of the Civil War; Civil War to Civil