Project Title

Historic Preservation in North Georgia: Effectiveness in Financial and Visitor Sustainability

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Geography & Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Brandon D. Lundy

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Historic preservation sites and museums are key institutions of public history and therefore an integral part of American heritage interpretation and maintenance. Even though these sites play a significant role in their communities, many are struggling to maintain financial stability and to remain relevant and engaging to visitors. The goal of this research is to shed new light on the specific issues these sites face, and determine the best approaches to counteract those problems and ensure a long and successful future for these vital cultural institutions. The focus of this research is to determine what approaches workers at historic sites and museums put in place to ensure the sites remain operational and prosperous by focusing on how they find and secure funding to operate day-to-day, and what programs they enact to stay relevant and attract new visitors. The researcher expects to conduct four semi-structured interviews with administrators at historic preservation sites and museums in North Georgia. She will also conduct direct observation at these same sites, as well as several others, to determine how effective the approaches at each site are at attracting and sustaining visitor attention. Through these methods, the researcher expects to find that approaches focused on creating engaging environments that promote visitor interaction with physical materials and new information will be most successful at amplifying community appeal. It is probable that by focusing on bringing in new visitors and ensuring they will return through interesting and innovative exhibits and activities, the institutions financial situation will become more secure rather than focusing on obtaining funding through private donations and grants. These findings give a new focus and direction for historic sites to consider on their path to visitor and financial sustainability as well as community interaction and engagement.

Keywords: Historic Preservation, Heritage, North Georgia, Sustainability, Community Engagement, Finances

Project Type

Poster

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Historic Preservation in North Georgia: Effectiveness in Financial and Visitor Sustainability

Historic preservation sites and museums are key institutions of public history and therefore an integral part of American heritage interpretation and maintenance. Even though these sites play a significant role in their communities, many are struggling to maintain financial stability and to remain relevant and engaging to visitors. The goal of this research is to shed new light on the specific issues these sites face, and determine the best approaches to counteract those problems and ensure a long and successful future for these vital cultural institutions. The focus of this research is to determine what approaches workers at historic sites and museums put in place to ensure the sites remain operational and prosperous by focusing on how they find and secure funding to operate day-to-day, and what programs they enact to stay relevant and attract new visitors. The researcher expects to conduct four semi-structured interviews with administrators at historic preservation sites and museums in North Georgia. She will also conduct direct observation at these same sites, as well as several others, to determine how effective the approaches at each site are at attracting and sustaining visitor attention. Through these methods, the researcher expects to find that approaches focused on creating engaging environments that promote visitor interaction with physical materials and new information will be most successful at amplifying community appeal. It is probable that by focusing on bringing in new visitors and ensuring they will return through interesting and innovative exhibits and activities, the institutions financial situation will become more secure rather than focusing on obtaining funding through private donations and grants. These findings give a new focus and direction for historic sites to consider on their path to visitor and financial sustainability as well as community interaction and engagement.

Keywords: Historic Preservation, Heritage, North Georgia, Sustainability, Community Engagement, Finances