GDG- Battlefield Tour Guides

Nancy Householder pipecreek1430 at
Wed Jan 25 15:08:38 CST 2012

Andy- You do get two chances on the oral test. If you don't pass the first time, and most don't,
they will tell you what you need to work on, and give you another chance. I'm sure there is a
limited time frame for this.  The reason for the time frame of two hours, is that is the standard
tour for visitors. They can ask, and pay for more, but two hours is the standard.
I have heard of people taking the test, that are still at the Peace light, 45 minutes into the tour.
You need to be about halfway down West Confederate ave by then or you will never finish
in time.
Basically- you have to do a lot of summing up and generalization. But you also have to have 

stories to make it interesting, and you have to be able to answer questions.
They will allow you to have notes, but very limited, like   for quotes for people in your stories.
I have compilied a collection of stories from all the Union states, and Confederate states
that fought there.

Nancy Householder

 From: Andy Mills <amills at>
To: GDG <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: GDG- Battlefield Tour Guides
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:

I can see how important it is to stay in the timeframe.  When I take friends to Gettysburg (and by no means do I have even an ounce of the knowledge of the tour guides), I find myself talking for two hours and we haven't even left McPherson's Ridge.  I think it would take a lot of hard work to come up with a method to do this and be successful.  

Out of curiosity:  if you pass the written test and are on the list for the oral exam and fail the oral part, do you have to start over with the written test again, or can you put your name at the bottom of the list for the oral part and work on getting a better delivery and retake that part only?


-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at] On Behalf Of Nancy Householder
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:14 AM
Subject: Re: GDG- Battlefield Tour Guides

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Jack- No you don't get interviewed by the guides. You have to give an oral tour of the battlefield with Clyde Bell, the 

Park Ranger in charge of the guides, and an LBG. You have to cover the battlefield, including Culps Hill, in 2 hours and
15 minutes. You have to get out at the  Peace Light, LRT, and the Angle at the end. The time frame starts at the Visitors Center and ends when you get back there.  The point to this, is to see if you can explain the battle in the time frame of an average tour, and make it informative and entertaining.  You also have to personalize the tour. Clyde and the LBG will pretend they are from two different states, so you have to include something about each of those states in your tour.
The reason for this is that you will have visitors from all over, and you have to show that you can personalize the tour 

for them. It is one of the things that the guides are famous for.

A lot of people have the knowledge about the battle, but can't explain it very well. For a two hour time frame, you need to generalize a lot.  The written test is to show that you have the knowledge to be able to answer questions that people might ask.

Nancy Householder
 future LBG

From: Jack Lawrence <jlawrence at>
To: GDG <gettysburg at>
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:24 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Battlefield Tour Guides

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
As I understand the Antietam guide thing, they take a test and passit. If they pass it, they are interviewed by the NPS and spend time as interns before being fully accredited. I understand the system at Gettysburg consists of a written test and, even if you pass the test, you have to be interviewed by the guides, who can turn you down if they just d not like your style.


----- Original Message ----- From: <cameron2 at>
To: "GDG" <gettysburg at>
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Battlefield Tour Guides

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> <<  The Gettysburg Licensed battlefield Guides are great, but they are 
> not unique. Antietam National Battlefield has a similar guide system 
> and, IMHO, the guides are outstanding. Antietam's first battlefield 
> guide was O.T. Reilly, who was five at the time of the battle and 
> began giving tours when he was about fifteen. The current guide 
> service was started a little more than five years ago.  >>
> As I understand it, a National battlefield park is not required to have a guide force (over and above the Ranger force, that is), but if it does have one affiliated with it, the guides must be licensed.
> Jim Cameron
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