I. Principle One: Collaborate
A. Much more can be accomplished by working together than by working alone. Successful cultural heritage tourism programs bring together partners who may not have worked together in the past.
B. Building partnerships is essential, not just because they help develop local support, but also because tourism demands resources that no single organization can supply. Its success depends on the active participation of political leaders, business leaders, operators of tourist sites, artists and craftspeople, hotel/motel operators, and many other people and groups.
C. Regional partnerships are also useful to cultural heritage tourism efforts. Cooperating in a regional arrangement lets you develop regional themes, pool resources, save money and expand your marketing potential. Those resources include not only money for marketing campaigns, for example, but also facilities (accommodations for travelers, say) or expertise in tourism, preservation, the arts or another area.
1. Financial Incentives – Funding is at the top of everyone’s list these days, and there never seems to be enough! Partnerships stretch limited budgets further.
2. Program Development – For example, an organization which owns a historic home may not have the resources to develop extensive programming, but by working with other attractions, thematic tours could be developed to tell a broader story.
3. Increasing Product Offerings – New programs give visitors more to do, increasing the chances that they will stay in your area longer and spend more money.
4. Define New Markets and New Tactics to Reach Those Markets – Marketing is expensive, so sharing the costs of advertising, direct mail and promotions can help reach new markets in a cost effective way.
5. Put a New Spin on an Old Product – Partnerships create opportunities for making an established attraction “new” through packaging and programming.
6. Benefit from Your Partner’s Expertise and Reputation – Partnerships allow you to share in the good name and quality reputation of another attraction or heritage area, or share the expertise between partners.
7. Strengthen Relationships Between Industries – Working together on a successful heritage tourism partnership paves the way and provides examples for others to do the same.
8. Set the Stage for Future Partnerships – Success breeds success! Once you’ve been involved in a successful partnership, you’ll welcome the opportunity for more.
E. So who are your potential partners? Consider the needs of your project or promotion, and then consider what partners are needed to make it a success. Potential partners might include:
1. Businesses – Loaned executives and development of materials such as newsletters and brochures, financial assistance and many other resources can be cultivated through business collaborations.
2. Tourism Organizations – Pooling funds for advertising, regional promotions, inclusion in local and regional marketing collateral pieces and sharing expenses of programs such as hospitality training are just a few benefits of working with your local and state tourism organizations.
3. Heritage sites and areas – Knowledge of the area’s history for publications and press materials, shared consulting fees, and creating critical mass (enough sites promoted jointly to make the destination worth the drive) result from working with heritage sites and areas.
4. Cultural Organizations- Local visual and performing arts organizations can help to enhance the visitor experience.
5. Other nonprofits – Nonprofits such as historical groups, schools and churches have many of the same needs. Sharing resources such as materials, event equipment and volunteers will benefit everyone.
F. HANDOUT: Creative Collaboration Ideas
1. A Collection of Museums, Rhode Island. Nineteen historical and cultural organizations will come together under one roof to celebrate the diverse heritage of Rhode Island in the Heritage Harbor Museum. The museum is housed in a historic power plant where the combined collections will provide a comprehensive look at the state’s history.
2. Cheyenne Frontier Days, Wyoming. This week-long event has been an annual happening in Cheyenne for over a century, and it is so popular that the number of visitors far exceeds the population of Cheyenne. To make the event a success, event leaders must bring in everyone from the Kiwanis Club to the Boy Scouts to help out. Thousands of visitors enjoy a free pancake breakfast at Frontier Days (cooked by the Kiwanis and served by Boy Scouts), thus encouraging more visitors to stay overnight. Throughout the week, visitors enjoy the rodeo, music, Native American dancing and other traditional arts.
3. Time Traveler. The Missouri Historical Society collaborated with other historic sites and museums across the country in a cross-promotional partnership called Time Traveler. The program is designed to add value to memberships at larger, accredited history museums. Participating museums offer reciprocal membership benefits such as free admission or a discount at the museum gift shop. In four years, Time Travelers grew to include over 100 sites in 42 states.
4. Art Museum Trail, Maine. A partnership between the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Office of Tourism and others resulted in the creation of the Maine Art Museum Trail. A brochure describing the seven art museums was promoted through the state’s advertising campaign, allowing local sites with small budgets to participate.
5. Elderhostel, Tennessee. The Tennessee Overhill Heritage Tourism Association partnered with a local college to develop Elderhostel programs to bring visitors to the area who would be interested in touring historical sites. Another local college helped in developing the curriculum. The Tennessee Overhill Association provided guides for the tours.
6. Ohio River Scenic Route. The Ohio River forms the southern border of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Scenic byway organizations sprang up in all three states to promote their area’s heritage and scenery. All three states independently received National Scenic Byway status. When it was time to put up signs and develop interpretive programs, all three states decided to join together to provide a seamless experience for the visitor. They were awarded National Scenic Byway grants to develop a common logo for signage, a comprehensive interpretive plan and marketing materials to promote the entire byway.
7. Local Arts Featured in Welcome Centers, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire State Council of the Arts collaborated with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to install exhibits in state welcome centers. The exhibits feature the work of local artists and give visitors an introduction to the state’s natural landmarks, built environment and cultural activities. The transportation department paid for artists’ fees and installation costs, and the arts council secured bids from artists, selected the images and wrote the text to accompany each exhibit.
8. Native American Heritage Tourism Initiative, Wisconsin. Inspired by a heritage tourism initiative for one tribe in Wisconsin, a consortium of the Wisconsin tribes called the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council decided to launch the Wisconsin Native American Heritage Tourism Initiative. The group produced a magazine highlighting all of the tribes, staged a successful New Dawn of Tradition Powwow and coordinated a Wisconsin Intertribal exhibit on the grounds of the state capitol. The program has expanded and adopted a new name, Native American Tourism of Wisconsin.
9. Cotton Trail, South Carolina. The city manager of Hartsville, South Carolina invited the mayors, city managers, downtown boosters, heritage site and museum directors, chamber of commerce directors, tourism directors and others from five rural communities to talk about heritage tourism. The group determined that their common theme was cotton. Everyone completed an inventory of their resources and pledged financial support for the Cotton Trail. The group produced a four-color brochure, designed signage and developed a web site. Other collaborations also developed such as one with the South Carolina African American Heritage Council which led to the creation of an “African American Historic Sites along the South Carolina Cotton Trail.”
10. Freedom Trek: Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama and West Virginia all participated in Freedom Trek, a month-long celebration of the legacy of Booker T. Washington. The departments of tourism in each state worked with historic black colleges and universities to develop a tour with a historical interpreter portraying Washington. The actor made presentations at historic sites, along scenic byways and at special events all along the route. The tourism departments promoted each stop to heritage tourists as well as locals.
I. Principle Two: Find the Fit between the Community & Tourism. Balancing the needs of residents and visitors is important to ensure that cultural heritage tourism benefits everyone. It is important to understand the kind and amount of tourism that your community can handle.
A. Local priorities vary. So do local capabilities. In other words, local circumstances determine what your area needs to do and can do in cultural heritage tourism. Programs that succeed have widespread local acceptance and meet recognized local needs. They are also realistic, based on the talents of specific people as well as on specific attractions, accommodations, and sources of support and enthusiasm.
B. One of the reasons cultural heritage tourism is on the rise in the United States is that travelers are seeking out experiences that are distinctive, not homogenized. They want to get the feel of a very particular place or time. You can supply that experience, and benefit in the process—but only if your cultural heritage tourism program is firmly grounded in local circumstances.
C. Base your cultural heritage tourism program on what is appropriate and sustainable for your area.
1. Do the residents of your area want tourism?
2. Why do they want it?
3. Are there certain times of year or certain places they do NOT want to share?
4. How will tourism revenues improve life in your area and affect services such as fire and police protection?
5. What is the maximum number of cars or buses your area can handle? On roads? In parking lots?
6. Can you accommodate group tours? Do sites accommodate at least forty people at once with amenities such as restrooms, snacks, and a seating area?
7. Can you accommodate visitors with disabilities or special needs?
C. Cultural heritage tourism programs, when done right, make a community a better place to live as well as a better place to visit.
D. Celebrating a community’s heritage also instills pride in residents. It is critical to balance the needs of residents and visitors and respect the carrying capacity that a community has to accommodate tourism so that everyone benefits.
E. Understanding the kind and amount of tourism that your community can handle is the key to success in this principle. Among the benefits of finding the fit are:
1. A successful cultural heritage tourism program encourages additional investment locally.
2. Residents provide a hospitable welcome to visitors.
3. Residents take pride in knowing about their community’s history and the location of various attractions and sharing this information with visitors.
4. Knowing that a cultural heritage tourism program is being developed can encourage a community to look at its historic resources with fresh eyes and result in efforts to preserve and protect these irreplaceable treasures.
5. Residents can be among the first to benefit from a cultural heritage tourism program with the creation of new jobs.
6. Residents can provide a pool of volunteers to get involved with heritage attractions as tour guides, event organizers, board members or donors.
7. The program can dispel fears that a tourism program will be run by big corporations or “outsiders” by continually soliciting the involvement of the community.
F. Begin by talking to residents about their expectations and concerns about heritage tourism.
1. Holding public meetings and explain that heritage tourism focuses on improving the quality of life for residents as well as serving visitors.
2. Open a discussion about how this can be accomplished. Resident input will provide enlightenment in many areas. For example, what level of tourism growth is the community comfortable with? Do they want motorcoaches and
recreational vehicles downtown or do they prefer promotion to families in automobiles?
3. Conducting community opinion surveys, perhaps through the local newspaper, offers another
outlet for citizens to participate in the process.
4. Cultural heritage tourism organizers also need to explain their goals and how they expect to
measure the return on investment that will benefit the community.
5. Try to be specific, not simply stating that it will help the local economy. Explain the projects goals – restoring a historic home, opening a museum, or developing a downtown walking tour that will bring visitors to local
stores, creating jobs, providing educational experiences for local schoolchildren, etc. Also be prepared to address issues such as the potential for congestion, littering, parking problems, investment costs or whatever residents express concerns about.
6. Communication is a key component of finding the fit between the community and tourism. Finding the fit is a three-fold approach:
a. First, organizers must solicit feedback from local residents about their concerns and interests in developing a cultural heritage tourism program.
b. Second, organizers should enlist local residents to not only provide information, but to become involved in the process – serving on committees, volunteering as tour guides, participating in hospitality training, sponsoring special events and other ways to contribute to the program.
c. Third, organizers must follow up on concerns expressed by local residents. It is critical to not only collect information, but to gather participants again to provide a plan for responding to any concerns.
G. 10 Creative Ideas to Find the Fit
1. Time Slices, Iowa. In Iowa, libraries organized a reading and discussion series. Communities could choose one Time Slice at a time until they had covered the four-part series on the history of the state. Scholars and historians lead the discussions, and many also included oral history projects, lectures and panel discussions, exhibits, writing projects and video histories. A project like this benefits the community, while materials gathered from similar projects could be used to develop exhibits and tours that would appeal to visitors.
2. The Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville, Florida. When a small Florida community near Orlando heard that a five-lane thoroughfare was planned through the heart of their community, they decided to take action to preserve the town’s character. Eatonville organizers planned a festival celebrating the life of Zora Neale Hurston, an acclaimed early 20th century writer, folklorist and anthropologist who was born in Eatonville in 1891. The festival included academic programs and a street festival featuring music, dance, drama and ethnic cuisines. Eatonville could not house the 100,000 people who came each year, and so directed visitors to stay in nearby Orlando. The thoroughfare was never constructed, and the community found a way to welcome visitors while preserving the community’s heritage.
3. Public Bandstand, in Rogersville, Tennessee. The city of Rogersville, Tennessee selected as a bicentennial project the recreation of a bandstand that had once stood at its town’s center. The bandstand was built with donated materials and labor and now serves as a focal point for community concerts and events. The performances also provides promotional opportunities to attract visitors to the town.
4. Handmade in America in Asheville, North Carolina. In Asheville, North Carolina, an organization called Handmade in America has organized a program of craft trails in rural Appalachia. Each trail begins with organizers holding meetings with community residents. The meetings include an explanation of the program and discussed with residents about what they want to do and what they want to share with visitors–and what they prefer to keep for residents only. This information is incorporated into planning for each tour route.
5. Local Promotions, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Public meetings and newspaper surveys were a key part of the early development for the Lancaster Heritage Tourism initiative in Pennsylvania. The newspaper survey helped gauge residents’ opinions about heritage tourism in general and ask for their input in developing the program. Regional meetings and focus groups helped to determine the challenges and opportunities of creating a heritage tourism program. To ensure that the public has a continuing role, several locally initiated self-guided regional auto, bicycle and walking tours were created to link sites together. Residents in each community determined what they would share with visitors and what they would keep for residents only.
6. Overhill Exhibit, Tennessee. When the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Tourism Association first started to promote their three-county area to tourists, they realized that getting community support and building community pride were important first steps. A local arts commission designed an exhibit about the area, and a local carpenter helped to build an inexpensive and easily transportable exhibit. Tennessee Overhill contacted a bank in each county to request permission to display the exhibit. They gained support from the banks and encouraged them to become involved in the project.
7. Tourism Management Program, Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina has one of the most advanced tourism management programs in the country, having passed their first management ordinance in 1984. The ordinance included provisions to license tour guides, certify local tour vehicles, restrictions for routing and parking tour vehicles and more. The ordinance was designed to allow for the benefits of tourism while maintaining the quality of life for residents.
8. Sharing Visitors, Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah. Springdale is the gateway to this national park, and community and park officials worked together to develop a shuttle between the park and the city. The effort resulted in an improved experience for visitors and also brought revenue to Springdale. In addition, Springdale is featured on the homepage of the park’s web site, making National Park visitors aware of the services and attractions available in the community.
9. Sharing Tourism Benefits, St. Lucia. The Ministry of Tourism in St. Lucia started a heritage tourism program to distribute the benefits of tourism more evenly throughout the island. The program offers technical assistance, training, loans and grants to enhance sites. For example, Mamiku Gardens offers visitors an opportunity to tour a plantation that has been owned by the same family since 1906. The goal of the program is to diversify St. Lucia’s tourism products and promote sustainable tourism.
10. Revitalizing Madison, Indiana. Residents in the small community of Madison, in southern Indiana, have worked diligently to restore what was a fading historic downtown and to bring back businesses that appeal to visitors and residents alike. Through active involvement in the Main Street Program, the downtown has been restored, jobs have been created and the area is a popular heritage tourism destination. A number of unique bed and breakfasts and restaurants have opened. Several historic sites have also been restored and are open to visitors. The community offers several annual events that provide residents with opportunities to get involved in their community, and provide promotional opportunities to attract visitors. As a result of these efforts, Madison was named one of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2001.
III. Principle Three: Make Sites and Programs Come Alive
A. Competition for time is fierce. To attract visitors, you must be sure that the destination is worth the drive. The human drama of history is what visitors want to discover, not just names and dates. Interpreting sites is important, and so is making the message creative and exciting. Find ways to engage as many of the visitor’s five senses as you can, as the more visitors are involved, the more they will retain.
B. On average, visitors will remember:
1. 10% of what they hear
2. 30% of what they read
3. 50% of what they see
4. 90% of what they do
C. As leisure time dwindles and competition continues to increase
in the tourism industry, looking for creative ways to bring your heritage or cultural attraction to life becomes even more important. Keep in mind that today’s visitors are more sophisticated and well traveled than previous generations, adding to the challenge of drawing visitors to your cultural or heritage attraction.
D. To attract visitors, the experience that you offer must be compelling and should engage as many of the visitor’s five senses as possible.
E. Today’s travelers are looking for experiences that engage all five senses — At a minimum, provide opportunities for visitors to ask questions and make comments about their own knowledge and experiences.
1. Demonstrations, or better yet, hands-on activities for visitors will ensure a memorable experience. Special events can be a manageable way to provide experiences such as living history, reenactments, performances, candlelight tours or other interactive activities at certain times of the year.
2. Reveal what happens “behind the scenes” — Who is the artist, and how do they create their art? What went into designing the exhibit or performance? How was this historic building restored to its former glory?
3. Relate to their own personal experiences — When experiencing historic homes or areas, how does this compare to the ways we live today? How is this area like (or different from) the area where the visitor lives? A good tour guide will find out
where visitors are from and what they are interested in and tailor the tour experience
4. Relate to a larger historical context — How does a heritage experience fit into the larger context of local, regional or even national history?
5. Make them think— Rather than providing all the answers, use the experience to pose questions. What do you think…? Can you imagine…? Can you find…?
F. Tips for Interpretative Planning. In today’s busy world, it is more challenging than ever to attract visitors. There are many things competing for time, including:
1. Other cultural & heritage attractions
2. Other tourism attractions
3. Other leisure activities
4. Family and work obligations
G. Once you attract a visitor, it is important to meet their basic needs first. Even the best interpretive programs will not be effective if visitors are thinking about:
7. Ability to see/hear
H. When you tell your story, be sure to…
1. Include lots of visuals
2. Keep text short
3. Make visitors think
H. Choose Your Words Carefully
1. Use simple words
2. Use active language
3. Use references visitors can relate to consider different perceptions of the same word
IV. Focus on Quality and Authenticity. Quality is an essential ingredient for all cultural heritage tourism, and authenticity is critical whenever heritage or history is involved.
A. The true story of your area is the one worth telling. The story of the authentic contributions previous generations have made to the history and culture of where you live is the one that will interest visitors, because that is what distinguishes your area from every other place on earth. It’s authenticity that adds real value and appeal. Your area is unique, and its special charm is what will draw visitors. By doing the job right—by focusing on authenticity and quality—you give your area the edge.
B. There is an old saying that “truth is stranger than fiction.” In reference to cultural and heritage sites, perhaps it would better be expressed as “truth is more interesting than fiction.” Telling the real, authentic story ensures that visitors will have a fuller understanding of your community, region, heritage or cultural site. Visitors have a right to expect that they are being told the truth when they travel for a heritage experience. Insisting on quality in every area – from restoration to interpretation to collateral materials – ensures that you are offering visitors the best possible experience.
C. Getting to the authentic story of a community or a heritage site requires commitment and an investment of time. So how do you make sure your heritage tourism program reflects authenticity and quality? Consider the following:
1. Research – Reviewing all available documents and photographs, conducting oral history interviews, and examining a historic building’s structure are just a few kinds of research to gather accurate information. Although volunteers can be helpful, it is important to seek trained professionals whenever possible.
2. Training – Ongoing training of guides who interact with the public is essential. Guides must learn to present the most accurate information available – and must not editorialize.
3. Materials – Self-guided walking or driving tour publications, promotional brochures, exhibit labels and other information presented to the public must be checked and rechecked to ensure accuracy.
4. Interpretation – When planning a tour of a historic site or heritage area, many decisions must be made. Will the interpreters be in costume? Will the tour be presented in a living history format? Will there be demonstrations of daily activities from an earlier time period? If the answer is yes, the research process begins again to make sure that costumes are authentic and that interpreters are able to stay “in character” and know how to utilize equipment or tools from previous eras.
5. Preservation – An authentic restoration is essential if you plan to interpret the buildings as part of a heritage tourism program. As with research, it is critical to seek professional assistance to ensure a quality restoration.
6. Presentation – Whether searching for furnishings of the appropriate period for a historic site, or recruiting local artisans for a crafts show, keep in mind the need for authenticity and quality in your decisions.
D. BEST PRACTICE: Lancaster County’s Authenticity Guidelines
With the increase in popularity and product availability of cultural heritage tourism, destinations must seek strategies to demonstrate the point of difference and excellence in the experience offered to visitors. Several strategies have been introduced to define and qualify authenticity, visitor services, and integrity of product.
1. The Role of Authenticity. Lancaster, Pennsylvania was one of the first U.S. destinations to create authenticity guidelines to qualify heritage sites and attractions. The county defined an authentic resource as a site, service or event that reflects a community’s (cultural) heritage. A resource shows evidence of authenticity through the survival of features that existed during its period of significance, and through its association with historic events, persons, architectural or engineering design, or technology. It is not necessary for a resource to retain all of the features that it had during its period of significance, but it must retain the features that enable it to convey all of its historic identity or its relationship to a cultural tradition.
2. The county created different criteria for each type of authentic resource: site, service and event.
3. Heritage Site is a landscape, streetscape, building, object, or collection of objects that meet the Authenticity Guidelines established by Lancaster County Heritage. In order to be eligible for Heritage Site designation, a resource must also be open to the general public with regular established hours, and must directly interpret some aspect of Lancaster County.s heritage. For a landscape, streetscape, building, structure or object, evidence of authenticity is strengthened by listing on, or eligibility for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places. For an object or collection of objects, evidence of authenticity is strengthened by interpretation that meets professional curatorial standards.
4. A Heritage Service is a research facility, tour, lodging facility or dining facility that meets the Authenticity Guidelines established by Lancaster County Heritage. In order to be eligible for Heritage Service designation, a resource must also be open to the general public with regular established hours, and must directly interpret some aspect of Lancaster County’s heritage. Authentic interpretation conveys information about a community’s cultural heritage through an accurate, objective portrayal of people, sites, places or events. This information must be made available to visitors through signage, printed materials or other media, exhibits, or tours.
5. A Heritage Event is an activity that meets the Authenticity Guidelines established by Lancaster County Heritage. In order to be eligible for Heritage Event designation, an activity must also be open to the general public, must be scheduled on a regular basis at least once annually, and must directly interpret some aspect of Lancaster County’s heritage.
6. A Heritage Event is classified as one of two types:
a. A Traditional Heritage Event is a commonplace activity that is rooted in local culture. This activity must demonstrate a clear relationship to the cultural
tradition that is being expressed, and must be promoted accordingly.
b. An Interpretive Heritage Event is a staged activity reflecting cultural tradition and designated to be educational. This activity must clearly indicate the historic time period, season of the year, and location being interpreted, and must be
E. 10 Creative Ideas for Authenticity and Quality
1. Tamarack Visitor Center, West Virginia. West Virginia’s visitor center, Tamarack, was designed to reflect the best of everything from the state. The building was
designed by a West Virginia architect and uses native materials. The décor, including the wall sconces, stained glass, and even the tiles on the checkout counters were designed by local artists. Food is catered by the renowned Greenbriar resort and features local specialties such as fried green tomato sandwiches and locally raised rainbow trout. West Virginia artists and craftspeople are selected through a competitive jury process to show their work at the center. Several artists are always on hand to demonstrate their skills.
2. Silver Hand Program, Alaska. The Alaska Silver Hand Program helps shoppers identify handcrafted items that have been made by native Alaskans. The program protects the work of Alaska Native artists while guaranteeing the public that items bearing the Silver Hand identification seal were handcrafted in Alaska by an Alaska Eskimo, Aleut or Indian craftsperson or artist and made wholly or in significant part of natural materials from Alaska. Information about the program and the distinctive “silver hand” logo is included in the state travel guide so that visitors know what to look for when they arrive.
3. Authenticity Guidelines, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To help heritage visitors find sites and services that truly represent Lancaster’s authentic heritage, the Lancaster County Heritage Tourism Advisory Committee developed “Guidelines for Authenticity for Heritage Sites, Services and Events.” In order to qualify, sites, services and events must reflect the authentic heritage of Lancaster County. In addition, they must interpret their history for the visitor and must offer basic visitor services. A Lancaster heritage logo has been developed and eligible sites can use the logo on printed materials as well as signage as the “good housekeeping seal of approval.”
4. George Washington, Pioneer Farmer Historians at Mount Vernon did extensive research on the 18th century farming practices of George Washington. Based on research, Washington’s 16-sided round barn was reconstructed and demonstrations are given of horses and mules treading wheat in the barn. The recreated farm area includes rare breeds of farm animals (oxen, mules, roosters, sheep and chickens) similar to varieties that Washington had. Eight fields also provide an area for demonstrations of
Washington’s advanced farming methods including crop rotation and fertilizing. Interpreters dressed in period attire demonstrate farming techniques according to the season and invite visitors to participate in the activities to learn about the authentic farming methods.
5. Ensuring Quality, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Hospitality training programs are an excellent way to ensure a high quality visitor experience. In Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the local Main Street program teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce to develop a 50-page Chippewa Expert Guide, a three-ring binder filled with tourist information. The guide is sold at cost to local businesses to help educate employees. Each year, updated pages are provided to everyone who bought a guide, and a
Chippewa Expert seminar is offered to train new front-line employees. Participants are given “Chippewa Expert – Ask Me” buttons, and table tent cards are provided at local restaurants.
6. Pike Place Market, Washington. The Pike Place Market began in 1907 as a place where shoppers could buy fresh produce directly from the farmer’s wagons. The Market was renovated in the 1970s and is still serving as a farmers market much as it did a century ago. To maintain the uniqueness of the quality of the original market, chain and franchise stores are not allowed. One notable exception is Starbucks coffee – but Pike Place Market is the home of the original Starbucks Coffee Shop.
7. Hospitality Training, Mississippi. The Mississippi Division of Tourism wanted to ensure that visitors to the state had a high quality experience. Organizers developed a unique hospitality training program that had instructors go to tourism businesses to work one-on-one with front-line employees. They provided instruction in how to provide quality service, and employees were able to implement what they learned immediately. Students then participated in the next level of training by attending a class on hospitality. After completing both phases of training, students were eligible to become instructors for the program.
8. Anecdotal History Tour, Washington D.C. The D.C. Heritage Tourism Coalition offers tours that encourage visitors to Washington D.C. to look beyond the monuments and experience other authentic parts of the city’s history and culture. The Anecdotal History Tour offers unique tours such as a two-hour hike through the Victorian Adams Morgan neighborhood or a motor-coach tour past the homes of 20th century presidents. Each tour is carefully researched and information is presented to visitors in a
lively, storytelling fashion by certified local tour guides.
9. African-American Culture Tour, North Carolina. As part of the state’s heritage tourism program, a tour was developed to focus on attractions and events that authentically represented African-American culture. A publication titled “The Rich Heritage of African-Americans in North Carolina” was published. Requirements for
inclusion stated that all entries must contribute to an understanding of African-American art and culture in North Carolina, that museums have ongoing or permanent exhibits of
significant African-American artworks or artifacts and that sites have an interpretive or
10. Kentucky Crafted. Kentucky Crafted is a craft marketing program within the Kentucky Arts Council. Kentucky craftspeople must go through a rigorous jury process in order to be included in the program, and those who are selected have a chance to participate in a wholesale marketing event called “Kentucky Crafted: The Market,” national trade shows, cooperative advertising, special events and have a right to use the distinctive Kentucky Crafted logo.
V. Principle Five: Preserve and Protect Resources. A community’s cultural, historic, and natural resources are valuable an often irreplaceable.
A. As a good look around almost any city or town will show, people are often tempted to provide a quick fix of “band-aid” solution—to cover up an old storefront inexpensively, for example, rather than to restore it. But when your historic and cultural assets are at the heart of your plans to develop tourism, it’s essential to protect them for the long term.
1. Hearts break when irreplaceable structures are destroyed or damaged beyond repair, instead of preserved and protected as they deserve. A plaque pointing out “on this site a great building once stood” can’t tell that story.
2. Equally tragic is the loss of traditions: a way of crafting wood or farming, of celebrating holidays or feasting on “old world” cuisine. The preservation and perpetuation of traditions is important to telling the story of the people who settled the land. By protecting the buildings, landscape or special places and qualities that attract visitors, you safeguard the future.
B. Your community’s cultural, historic, natural and folklife resources are irreplaceable elements of a cultural heritage tourism experience. Travelers will not spend much time in an area that only offers the opportunity to read signs commemorating buildings that no longer stand or to hear about traditions that no longer exist. These resources are tangible reminders of your community’s past and are essential in telling your story to visitors. To preserve and protect resources, consider the following:
1. Costs – What is the initial financial investment required and what are the ongoing costs?
2. Timeline – How long will it take and how does that fit in with the overall timeline?
3. Skills – What skills are needed? Craftsmen? Environmental experts? Folklorist? Exhibit Designer?
4. Preservation and Conservation Plan – Do you have a comprehensive preservation and conservation plan in place?
5. Long-term Impact – Have you evaluated the needs for a heritage or cultural resource that will be receiving visitors? Does your historic building need stronger floors to support large numbers of visitors? Does the park you are creating need security officers patrolling to make sure no one starts a campfire in an unauthorized area? Do you need to evaluate how many visitors a craftsperson can accommodate in his workshop?
6. Balancing Preservation and Promotion – How much visitation you can handle? How does this affect marketing decisions about how heritage and cultural resources are promoted?
7. Community Education – Have you developed programs to increase local awareness and appreciation of heritage and cultural resources and to build support for their preservation and protection?
8. Partnerships – Have you established the necessary partnerships among preservationists, historians, tourism promoters, heritage resources and others to successfully work together?
C. Keys to Preserving and Protecting Resources. Your community’s most valued historic, cultural and natural resources should be the centerpiece of your cultural heritage tourism attractions. In order to ensure that your effort are sustainable, take the time to identify your most valued resources, educate the community about their value, and be sure that measures so that future generations may enjoy those resources too.
1. Principle #1: Inventory. Identify and prioritize significant natural, cultural and historic resources. It isn’t possible to save everything, and in order to pick your battles effectively, you need to have a good understanding of the significance of your resources—and the threats that are currently facing them. Which resources do you need to keep in order to retain the qualities valued most by your community, and which resources can be sacrificed if need be? It’s a difficult question to answer, and one that is virtually impossible unless you have taken the time to prioritize your community’s resources.
2. Principle #2: Educate Create an atmosphere conducive to protecting and preserving resources. When the public has been educated about the importance of the irreplaceable resources in your community and believes that it is important to preserve them, half the battle has already been won. There are many ways to educate the public including press releases, feature stories in the newspaper, tour, publications, research studies, meetings and more.
3. Principle #3: Act Identify preservation and conservation tools to protect valued resources.
Once you know which resources need your assistance and once you have built support to preserve and protect them, it is time to find the best tools to help you protect your resources. In many cases this means finding technical expertise, taking advantage of preservation restrictions or incentives, or even creating a new program or advocating for new legislation to support preservation.
D. Where to Begin? It can be challenging to know where to begin to preserve and
protect your community’s irreplaceable historic, cultural and natural resources. Fortunately there is a lot of assistance available. Working with groups dedicated to the same cause provides not only information, but also encouragement in your efforts and contact with others who are pursuing the same goals.
1. If you are trying to preserve a historic building consider:
a. Applying for listing on National Register of Historic Places.
b. Creating a “Friends” organization to raise money and public awareness.
c. Hosting a design charrette to explore the feasibility of potential uses.
d. Hiring an architect, structural engineer or building inspector who specializes in historic buildings to evaluate the building, determine restoration needs and costs.
e. Collecting information about similar buildings that were saved. Document the uses of the buildings and their economic impact on the community.
f. Organizing a tour of the building for elected officials who can provide funding.
g. Planning a special event showcasing the building (consider timing the event around national Preservation Week in May).
h. Contacting local media and asking them to feature the building in a story.
i. Writing letters to the editor of the local paper.
j. Requesting a demolition delay ordinance.
k. Researching historic documents and photographs and creating an exhibit about the building’s history – place in the local library or other public building.
l. Following the “Ten Basic Principles for Sensitive Rehabilitation” from the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
m. Local – Contact the local historical commission, zoning board, city council, historical society, preservation organization or others who can support the
cause of saving the building.
n. State – Contact the state historic preservation office to see what assistance they can provide and what regulations may exist to protect the building.
o. National – A variety of organizations and agencies exist to provide assistance and guidance in preserving historic buildings. These include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service (which manages the
National Historic Landmark Program and the National Register of Historic
Places) and others.
2. If you are trying to preserve a museum collection consider:
a. Writing a mission statement that outlines the purpose of the collection and the need for its preservation.
b. Hosting a limited time exhibition to highlight the need for financial support.
c. Seeking a donor to underwrite the purchase of materials needed for preservation such as acid-free boxes, cleaning supplies and climate control systems.
d. Evaluating the facility where the collection is housed for its appropriateness for protecting the collection.
e. Implementing an inventory of each artifact in the collection.
f. Creating a catalog with a description of each object.
g. Conducting historical research on objects to determine their original purpose, value and use.
h. Arranging for staff from nearby museums to volunteer for a day to assist your museum in cleaning and cataloguing artifacts. Plan to return the favor at their museum.
i. Building a library of books and articles with resource materials on preservation of collections.
j. Hiring a specialist to evaluate and make recommendations about what needs to be done to preserve your collection.
k. Researching available workshops and conferences and sending representatives to learn from the professionals.
l. Developing a written maintenance schedule that outlines specific times for cleaning the collection.
m. Developing a written plan for dealing with emergencies such as fire, flood or other disasters.
n. Planning a schedule for rotating artifacts on display in order to protect them from light and other damaging elements.
1. Local – Museums and historic homes which may have similar collections or universities which have museum studies programs can provide guidance in collection preservation.
2. State – Most states have a statewide museum association that offers annual conferences and technical assistance.
3. National – The American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History are the premiere organizations for setting museum standards and providing training in museum collection management.
E. If you are trying to preserve open space or a landscape consider:
1. Contacting a land trust which can offer assistance through purchase of the land, receiving a donation of land or establishing a conservation easement.
2. Inviting expert speakers to your community to talk about the importance of open space preservation, sign control, growth management, etc.
3. Reviewing your community’s ordinances in regard to zoning, tree protection, signage, construction, etc. Determine which ordinances need to be strengthened.
4. Developing a public relations campaign that encourages preservation of the landscape and supports stronger ordinances.
5. Applying for Scenic Byways designation through the National Scenic Byways Program.
6. Applying for Transportation Enhancement funding for corridor management planning, billboard removal, byway promotion, etc.
7. Seeking corporate sponsors who can support your community’s efforts in conservation.
8. Gathering success stories from other communities and sharing these with local leaders, media and community residents.
a. Local and State – Check to see if there is a Land Trust in your community or state or local chapters of Scenic America.
b. National – A number of organizations assist with open space and land preservation including the Land Trust Alliance, Scenic America, Nature Conservancy, Conservation Fund, America’s Byways Resource Center and National Scenic Byways Program. Most have conferences, provide technical assistance and offer publications.
F. If you are trying to preserve an endangered tradition or folkway consider:
1. Working with a folklorist to create an inventory of artists and resources that emphasizes local traditions.
2. Conducting an oral history project to collect stories from residents about growing up in the community.
3. Developing an event or festival showcasing local art forms and folkways.
4. Creating an exhibit highlighting local art forms and traditions.
5. Developing a local arts and traditions tour for visitors including a directory and an audio guide.
6. Involving local schoolchildren by bringing artists and crafts-persons into the classroom to talk about their crafts and the traditions surrounding these crafts.
7. Developing partnerships with churches, clubs, and other organizations that can assist in documenting folk traditions.
8. Talking with local residents to determine the extent to which the community wants to share its folk traditions with visitors.
9. Asking your local newspaper or television station to feature local artists and local traditions.
a.. Local and state – Arts agencies that can provide technical assistance, grants and volunteer support for creating folklife programs. Your statewide arts organization can tell you about local arts organizations near you.
b. National – The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities provide technical assistance and grants for arts and humanities programming; Americans for the Arts provides technical assistance, publications and conferences on making the arts accessible to communities.
G. The National Register of Historic Places
1. What is the National Register of Historic Places? The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historically significant structures. The National Register was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of
1966 and is administered by the Department of Interior’s National Park Service.
2. What kinds of properties are listed? Some of the types of properties listed on the National Register are historic areas in the National Park Service, National Historic Landmarks and historically significant properties nominated by federal, state and local governments, organizations or individuals.
3. Does the listing provide protection? A National Register designation mandates that a property must be considered in the planning of federal or federally assisted projects impacting the registered property. The property also qualifies for financial assistance from governmental funds for historic preservation when these funds are available.
4) How can I get a building listed on the National Register? Contact your state historic preservation office, or find out more about the National Register by checking out www.cr.nps.gov/nr or calling the National Register’s reference desk at 202-343-9559. The National Register’s web site also offers general information about the program, specific information about registered properties, guidelines for nominating properties and publications about the National Register.
H. HANDOUT: 8 Creative Ideas
1. Saving Our Documentary Heritage, Tennessee. Many Tennessee communities were interested in saving their historical documents as part of their bicentennial projects. The state bicentennial office partnered with the Tennessee State Library and Archives to create a series of workshops on how to preserve historical records. Archivists conducted the workshops, and the bicentennial office publicized the series, recruited participants and handled logistics. A traveling exhibit was created and loaned to communities highlighting the many ways that archival records are important to preserving history.
2. Volunteer 200 Day, Tennessee. To kick off the bicentennial, Tennesseans were asked to participate in Volunteer 200 Day. The theme of the day was “A Heritage of Service,” and the event was organized through the local celebration committees. Everyone was asked to select projects related to the community’s heritage. Projects ranged from painting historic buildings to cataloging cemeteries.
3. Century Citizens, Idaho. For its centennial celebration, the state of Idaho sought to identify all citizens who were 100 or more years old. A Century Citizens project could include preserving their memories of the previous century by conducting oral histories, putting together an exhibit and producing a publication which would document their stories.
4. Downtown Honors Its Roots, Chicago. The Canal Corridor Association of Chicago, Illinois initiated a program to honor the men and women who built the I&M Canal Passage. Individuals with ancestors who lived in the Corridor 100 years ago or more were encouraged to submit a family tree and short narrative family history. All applicants received an I&M Canal Pioneer Certificate and special recognition at
sesquicentennial events. The Association also collected oral histories and, with funding provided by the Illinois Humanities Council, offered public programs on the importance of knowing your family’s history.
5. Site Stewards Program, New Mexico. The New Mexico office of the Bureau of Land Management and the San Juan County Museum Association launched a Site Stewards Program to monitor and protect the fragile archaeological and historic sites in northwest New Mexico. Local volunteers complete a training course including field trips, and then are assigned to serve as site stewards for different locations in the state.
6. Storytelling Festival, Tennessee. The National Storytelling Festival began in Jonesborough, Tennessee as an effort to preserve and celebrate the age-old tradition of storytelling. The annual event began with a few storytellers sharing their stories to a small gathering of listeners sitting on hay bales. Three decades later, the event draws thousands of people to this tiny town which serves year-round as the International Storytelling Center.
7. Preserving Jewish History, Mississippi. Although the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in Jackson, Mississippi was effectively preserving artifacts, they also wanted to help preserve Jewish heritage in southern communities. The museum staff, in conjunction with local and regional historians, created a booklet called Cultural Corridors: Discovering Jewish Heritage Along the Mississippi River. As a result of the initiative, the Beaux Arts B’nai Israel synagogue in Natchez, Mississippi now has a preservation agreement with the museum to assure the building’s future. In Donaldsonville, the 1877 Lehman Store, the longest continuously operating department store at the time of its close, was converted into a museum featuring an exhibit on the
community’s Jewish heritage.
8. Kennicott Mines, Alaska. In the early 1900s, the Kennicott Mines were the largest copper mines anywhere. The site became a time capsule of its era when the mines closed in 1938, leaving the setting just as it had appeared for the previous four decades. The site became part of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and in 1986 was declared a National Historic Landmark. In recent years, the Kennicott Copper Corporation has invested in a clean up of the site, and the Friends of Kennicott Mines have funded stabilization of the buildings. In 1998, the site became publicly owned. Since that time, the National Park Service, Friends of Kennicott Mines and the Kennicott Copper Corporation have been working together to develop a preservation, management and interpretation plan so that the site can welcome visitors who come to learn about its past.
IV. How were these principles and steps developed?
A. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Program coordinated a three year “Heritage Tourism Initiative” with funding from the National Endowment for Arts between 1990 and 1993. During that time, the Heritage Tourism Program worked with 16 pilot areas in four states (Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin) to see what it took to create heritage tourism programs that were both successful and sustainable.
B. This initiative resulted in the development of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s five guiding principles and four basic steps for getting started in cultural heritage tourism. Over the years, these principles and steps have been successfully used in cultural heritage tourism programs in rural and urban areas across America as well as abroad.
C. Developing cultural heritage tourism is an incremental process, and communities will repeat the four steps at each stage of development. Keep in mind that developing a strong cultural heritage program will require an investment and a commitment—an investment of financial resources and a commitment of human resources including strong leadership.
D. Not every community can have a successful cultural heritage tourism program. Communities that have lost too much of their heritage, or not nurtured their cultural potential may not have the historic, cultural and natural resources it takes to develop a program that will attract cultural heritage visitors.
E. This information is adapted from the book “Getting Started: How to Succeed in Heritage Tourism.”
VI. How have these steps and principles worked for others?
A. The success stories featured on this website show the principles in action, and demonstrate the steps that different programs have taken to reach their goals. Collaboration is essential in today’s competitive tourism market, and with increasing pressures on local resources, it is critical to find the fit between the community and tourism to ensure that tourism efforts are sustainable for the long term. When done correctly, cultural heritage tourism helps to preserve the irreplaceable resources that a community treasures.
B. Today’s cultural heritage travelers are more well traveled and more well educated than previous generations of travelers, and they expect more from their travel experiences—making quality and authenticity more important than every before. These same higher expectations and increasing competition for the visitors’ time also mean that the visitor experience has to make the site or program come alive.
C. All too often, local stakeholders think that getting involved in tourism means publishing a brochure or launching a new website. These four steps show that promotion is, in fact, the final step of “marketing for success.” Before getting to that final step, it is important to know what it is that you have—and what you want—to share with visitors. Next it is time to match up what you have with what potential visitors are looking for—and then make the necessary changes to be sure that you are offering the best visitor experience possible. Once you are truly ready, it is finally time to look at marketing.
D. Cultural heritage tourism development is a gradual process that takes a long-term commitment. These four steps of assessing, planning, preparing and marketing are ones that successful programs repeat time and time again as they continue to expand their offerings—and their audience.
VII. The Pay Off
A. Hard work pays off. The list of areas that have succeeded in heritage tourism is long and growing. To encourage you to start your own program, we’d like to share what a few of the participants in the National Trust’s Heritage Tourism Initiative have said about their experience when the initiative ended as well as comments from others who have used the principles and steps.
1. “The growth of tourism was inevitable for Nappanee, but tourism growth could easily mean the destruction of the values and qualities of our small town. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has helped us preserve our heritage and yet share it with our visitors.” — Larry Andrews, Manager, Nappanee Main & Market Streets, Indiana
2. “The Heritage Tourism Initiative has allowed us to develop an approach to tourism that is appropriate for our region. The program has also helped us to develop the Texas Heartland Network of visitor centers, natural and cultural heritage corridors, informational materials, and an educational program. Expanding this network of comprehensive services and products is the basis for our next three-year action plan.” — Julia Jarrell, Pilot Area Manager, LBJ Heartland Council, Texas.
3. “The Heritage Tourism Initiative has meant that Wisconsin was able to bring into being the largest historic preservation project ever attempted in the state. A 12-county, 200-mile corridor containing hundreds of potential restoration sites is now being organized for public tourism access.” — Alan C. Pape, Project Manager, Wisconsin’s Ethic Settlement Trail.
4. “Lac du Flambeau has “been buzzing with visitors all summer,” reported Pat Hrabik, project manager of the community’s heritage tourism pilot project in Wisconsin. Attendance is up at the Lac du Flambeau Museum/Cultural Center. The Indian Bowl Pow-Wows were “extremely well attended.” Tribal employees have been trained in techniques of surveying and identifying archaeological sites. In these and many other activities, the town has continued “to encourage tourism without impacting in a negative way on the culture and sacred sites located on the reservation.”
5. Historic Southern Indiana, says its director, Darrel E. Bigham, “has grown considerably in the quality as well as the quantity of its products and services.” Of special value, he feels, has been the push “to sharpen our focus regarding all aspects of long-range planning, including marketing; to assess and to reshape our priorities; to develop a stronger structure…to improve the quality of promotional materials; and to establish projects…which lay the basis for long-term regional growth and improvement.”
6. In the Tennessee Overhill area, as in many other places, the development of cultural tourism has spun off other activities; new attractions (a textile museum), new events (a rail excursion, a Native American festival), historic preservation (purchase of a theater for use as an auditorium, studies of historic zoning, and much else), economic development, and new partnerships. In addition to local investments or private contributions, $70,000 from out-of-town sources has been infused into the area. Says Linda Caldwell, project director of the Tennessee Overhill Experience, “From the start we believed that a cultural tourism program…could be successful and serve as a springboard for overall regional cooperation and development. Today, as our third project year begins in the Tennessee Overhill, I am astonished at the spin-off activities that have resulted from this program. Has the Heritage Tourism Initiative been worth it? You bet!”
B. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s five principles and four steps have continued to guide cultural heritage tourism programs beyond the Heritage Tourism Initiative. Here are what leaders in the cultural heritage tourism industry had to say more than a decade after the initiative ended:
1. “As an original participant of the Heritage Tourism Initiative, I continue to marvel at the impact this program has had on the travel industry. Communities that felt they could not be a part of the travel industry because they didn’t have traditional “tourist” attractions began to realize that they could draw upon their history and culture to bring visitors, and their economic impact, into their community.” — Rene Campbell, Executive Director, Columbus Visitors Center, Columbus, Indiana.
2. “The Heritage Tourism Program was the first to articulate the who, what, how and where of heritage tourism. Many of us were nurtured on their step-by-step guide, Getting Started: How to Succeed in Heritage Tourism.”
— Mitch Bowman, Executive Director, Virginia Civil War Trails, Inc.
3. “The National Trust’s Heritage Tourism Program has literally written the book on heritage tourism. Their five guiding principles and four steps are the definitive parameters for successful programs.” — Ed McMahon, Vice President, The Conservation Fund