2022 Innovation in Interpretation Award Recipient – Jim Lopes

Sep 8, 2022 | Arts & Culture, Community, Press

Congratulations to Jim Lopes! 2022 Innovation in Interpretation Award Recipient

It was announced today by the Department of Conservation & Recreation, that Jim Lopes, Visitor Services Supervisor at Fall River Heritage State Park, is the recipient of the 2022 Innovation in Interpretation Award! This honor is awarded to a seasonal member of the interpretive services program, who through ideas and actions has developed, created, or introduced a new and original program, service or product that advances the interpretive program at their park or region. Jim routinely goes above and beyond the typical expected duties. From attending evening and “off” day meetings with non DCR partners to ensure DCR’s inclusion in city and regional approaches to programming, to researching, to organizing historical content, to exploring new ideas. One such instance was the research that led to a unique series of complimentary programs and special events at the park this season.

An initial research effort into notable people from Fall River led to digging deeper, including exploring family histories and local connections. Excited by the information, connections, and story of Fall River native Joe Raposo, one of the original creators and composers of many of the Sesame Street songs, Jim developed a multi-faceted program series celebrating the Fall River native son. Not only did Jim research the history of Mr. Raposo, but he also explored his family roots including locating and speaking to his son. Through Jim’s dedication and follow through, Fall River Heritage State Park displayed family photos, personal notes, and even a copy of Joe Raposo’s original notes made while composing the song “Sing.” Several Sesame Street StoryWalks® were placed around the building and along the boardwalk, and local artist Sheila Oliveira painted a portrait of Jim Raposo with his Muppet friends that was on exhibit at the park this summer (it is moving to its permanent home in the Children’s section of the Fall River Public Library – another connection facilitated by Jim!). Further connections were made with UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture as Mr. Raposo was the son of Portuguese immigrants and the park hosted an accompanying exhibit of Portuguese culture of Southeastern Massachusetts. When the project was brought to light, the Fall River mayor decided to declare August 3 as “Joe Raposo Day” culminating in a celebration hosted by DCR at FRHSP and presenting Mr. Raposo’ s son a key to the city and then a viewing of the official Sesame Street tribute to Joe Raposo film.

This is just one example of interpretive star Jim Lopes striving to create new ideas and original programs that engage visitors and celebrate the rich heritage of Fall River. The list goes on and continues to grow. Please join me in congratulating Jim Lopes, recipient of the 2022 Innovation in Interpretation Award.