Tour Guides

Tour Guides are our companions to the highest and lowest places of cultural tourism.  If the site marks a tragedy, a destruction, a betrayal, a disaster, then Charon, the boatman on the River Styx takes us to the Underworld.  But he narrates as his boat glides across the dark waters, and his story helps us make sense of that place:  Auschwitz, Gettysburg, the Trail of Tears, Hiroshima.


But the highest places require a different kind of tour guide.  Dante describes this as he leaves the lower worlds behind and enters his Paradise. His erstwhile guide, the learned Virgil cannot take him there.  But the radiant Beatrice can: Yosemite, a Prairie homestead, Ellis Island, Chartres Cathedral, the Adirondack Wilderness.


Tour guides need to know the physical landscape as it is now, and as it once was.  But knowlwdge is not enough, and emotional empathy for the characters and the times give them the ability to plunge the depths and soar the hights. 

They can be both Charon in the dark...

river styx

and Beatrice in the light.

Beatrice & Dante

The American Center for Storytelling and Narrative Art provides training and consultation services for tour guides and their membership organizations.   

Please contact me if you have questions or comments. 

Dr. Robert Béla Wilhelm

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2017