New Report on Declining Historic Site Visits

Bad news is never welcome. Opening my inbox to read about a new report from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Humanities Indicators (HI) project on declining visitation to historic sites was indeed disappointing, but not unexpected. The report, citing visitation from 1979 to 2012, found that "with each birth cohort Americans of all ages have been less likely to visit historic sites." The report also shared that "as people aged they were less likely to visit a historic site." Not an optimistic picture for destinations and organizations wanting to use historic sites to attract visitors and their spending. The project report uses data from the National Endowment for the Arts' Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (1982, 1992, 2002, 2008, 2012). AASLH President John Dichtl observed in his blog post "the lack of reliable data on total visitation for U.S. historic ... [Read More]

Commerce + Interpretation: A Shared-Use Study from the National Trust

At the recent AASLH Annual Conference in Louisville, a panel discussed the opportunities and challenges of including for-profit operations at historic sites. While public-private partnerships have been successful at numerous locations around the country, the National Trust is providing a transparent look into the process for managing a historic site  with a section operated by a commercial partner. Cooper-Molera in Monterey, which includes nine roofed structures, will dedicate the original adobe buildings as interpreted spaces while a developer (Foothill Partners) uses a socially responsible business plan to operate the other buildings as commercial retail and restaurant. Key lessons learned from this collaboration: community engagement and involvement in the discussion for final use is essential; sorting out the legal structure and terms of agreement is also imperative. This $6.5 ... [Read More]