What We Do


We are storytellers, and we collaborate with many creative partners, including museums and exhibit designers, to develop outstanding visitor experiences. We specialize in researching, interpreting, and developing relevant content. Our projects connect communities with an emphasis on interpretation and education and conserve cultural and environmental legacies.

The professional writing team of Hands-on Heritage has a combined vocational and educational background in military history, sports, natural science, conservation, archaeology, Native American studies, art history, religion, politics, technology, and mass communications.

Our Services

Hands-on Heritage accepts projects based upon merit and interest. We work with for-profit companies and non-profit organizations, as well as communities, government entities, and higher education institutions. From developing interpretive content for museums and parks to editing pamphlets and memoirs, projects can be large or small. As professional writers, we conduct research to locate and share stories that bind the past, present, and future.

We provide management support and services to complete projects within budget and on time. Our abilities include researching, writing, interviewing, and digital storytelling. We are adept at planning and implementing projects, collaborating with team members, developing measurable goals and objectives, monitoring progress, and evaluating project success from inception to opening day. Contact us for a consultation.

Hands on Heritage with Robin Van Auken

Lance Van Auken gives Torii Hunter a tour of the Hall of Excellence and Former Astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave’s exhibit at World of Little League Museum. 

Writing & Content Development

Are you designing a museum or exhibit and need assistance with content research and writing? We are storytellers, and we collaborate with museum staff and exhibit designers to develop outstanding visitor experiences. As professional writers, we research, interpret, and develop creative content from captions and artifact identifications to summaries, to narratives for script or display.

Project Management

Robin excels at database management, keeping track of project details, and coordinating pertinent information with all design team members. Robin also enjoys planning events, working with volunteers and staff to develop legacy programming for heritage activities, educational workshops, public archaeology digs, and Phase I & II Archaeological Surveys. Lance is a proficient project manager. His expertise is in shepherding the later phases of the museum-design process. He helps clients to develop and select museum content, oversee exhibit design, shop fabrication, graphics production, and on-site installation. Working with the detailing team allows him to keep projects on schedule and budget.

Exhibit Catalogs

Our background in museum design and communication enhances our understanding of our clients’ needs. We have superior interviewing, writing, and book development skills, and enjoy combining these to create exhibit catalogs. As digital storytellers, we can photograph artifacts, write or edit captions, research and write interior content, and paginate books using industry-standard software. We can assist you in documenting the past and influencing the future.

Corporate Histories & Management Memoirs

Successful companies often require brief corporate histories for in-house use, while some corporations desire an in-depth book for trade distribution. Perhaps you require a specialist to chronicle and illustrate your company’s story for publication? We guide new or existing book projects needing additional or outside help. If your company leader has a compelling story or captivating executive viewpoint to contribute, then consider sharing the secret of their success in a memoir. All organizations have a history; however, not all have a heritage. Conserve and protect it, endorse and promote it, and earn revenue from it with a project designed for your association.

Landmark Planning

Perhaps there is a vital anniversary impending, a landmark for your organization? Maybe your town is celebrating its centennial or its bicentennial? These events offer the opportunity to unify past, present, and future into a significant commemoration. If you would like assistance with this event, we can provide as much – or as little – aid as you require for designing functions, publications, promotion, and memorabilia. In addition to our communication services, we have experience in developing print books, eBooks, photo scrapbooks, video scrapbooks, multimedia projects, brochures, pamphlets, and manuals. We are “digital archaeologists” and enjoy working with and preserving artifacts and old photographs.

Research & Records

Are you looking for expert assistance in locating critical historical records? Maybe you’re interested in finding photographs, newspaper articles, documents, advertisements, books, or other memorabilia related to your organization’s past? Perhaps you would like to find out more about your company’s founder, its responsibility during war and depression, or your original competitors. Using resources ranging from the Library of Congress and National Archives to your local courthouse, newspaper, and historical society, we can investigate for you.

Oral History Programs

An oral history program helps others profit from the well-deserved wisdom of the people who built your community, your business, or association. Documents tell merely a piece of any organization’s tale. With decades of experience in journalism, we have conducted taped interviews with more than 500 individuals, including veterans, celebrities, executives, officials, policymakers, support staff, and individuals.

Corporate Communications

Are you in need of a new website? Launching a new product and want to develop a winning brand? We offer general corporate communication services and can work on an “as-needed basis” or on retainer for when you require professional public relations or general marketing services. We can advise you and help you to establish social media platforms to enhance your company’s public presence. Let us teach you the proper type of content to share and how to share it well. We are available to write, co-author, or ghostwrite an article on any topic.