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Heritage Tourism Resources

Image of Heritage Tourism



Help is all around us from local partners to communities ahead of us
in tourism planning. We just need to explore, adapt and align
the vast resources and apply them to our region’s unique needs.
Julie A. Avery, Michigan State University


Community and regional resources are at the core of your planning for heritage tourism. First, identify your existing site, experiences, institutions and stories that will be a part of your offerings. Gather information and build an inventory that draws together information descriptive of these sites and resources. This base will provide information and help to increase awareness about what you are doing. Secondly, seek out the resources in your region that will assist you in building heritage tourism efforts. Partner and collaborating organizations come in many types and sizes. In addition to sites for visitation, partners are also needed to address funding, technical assistance, communications and networking across your region.


 Image of Tradidtional dance  Image of natural area  Image of "Charles Darwin" in first-person for Darwin Discovery Day at the MSU Museum  Image of Lighthouse. Courtsey PhotoMorgue and the MSU Museum

Tradidtional dance, natural area, "Charles Darwin" in first-person for Darwin Discovery Day at the MSU Museum. Lighthouse. Courtsey PhotoMorgue and the MSU Museum.


Site Inventory Suggestions

As you identify the potential tourism sites and experiences throughout your community, develop a form to record consistent types of information so that you have a record and handy reference to the particulars of each offering. This process will engage organizations across you area and pull together information that will be critical to your future planning.  Here is an example outline of information to consider compiling as you develop your community or regional inventory of participating sites, individual venues and partners.


Inventory of site

A. Name of site, activity or partner:
B. Physical location of site/activity, including city/county:
C. Type of site/activity: 
   a. Historic district:
   b. Historic/ archeological:
   c. Memorial/ monument:
   d. Heritage site (what makes this a heritage site as compared with another type?):
   e. Cultural event/heritage festival:
   f. Tourist support/amenity/service:
   g. Historic structure or object:
   h. Museum/cultural center:
   i. Park/recreation site:
   j. Scenic drive:
   k. Natural attraction:
   l. Historic Landmark, National Register Property, State Archeological  Landmark, Historic State Cemetery,
         or Local Designation:
D. What is significant about this site/activity ( including date built or established):
E. Are there other places in your state that with a site or interest similar to yours:
F. If there is a site, place, or interest similar to you in your state, is it within 100 miles:
G. Owner/organization:
H. Ownership:
   a. City:
   b. County:
   c. Private:
   d. State:
   e. Non-profit:
   f. Federal:
   g. Semi-private:
   h. Other:
I. Owner/Organization Address:
J. Owner/Organization phone number:
K. Owner/Organization email address;
L. Visitorship to site/activity:
M. Marketing efforts at site/activity:
N. List of activities at site, if any (dates, locations and purposes):
O. Images of Sites and Activities: 
P. Hours of operation of site/activity (days of the week and times open to public;, if seasonal list months of operation:
Q. Entrance fee charged at site/activity:
R. Public restrooms available at site/activity -- yes/no
S. Accessibility of site/activity to population served -- Good/Fair/Porr
T. Is site/activity handicap accessible/ADA compliant -- yes/no
U. Routes used to reach site/activity from nearest city:
V. Name two features of the site/activity that makes it unique from other sites:
W. Improvements  most needed to enhance the overall tourist experience at site/activity:
   a. More staff/volunteers:
   b. More/better interpretative signage:
   c. More money for advertising:
   d. More parking:
   e. More /better directional signage:
   f. Better programming and exhibits:
   g. More engaging and interactive exhibits:


 Image of MSU Museum, East Lansing, MIImage of Mackinac BridgeImage of Timber framing demonstration at the Michigan State Fair

MSU Museum, East Lansing, MI. Mackinac Bridge. Timber framing demonstration at the Michigan State Fair.


Other Resources

Treatment for Historic Properties

Preservation • Reconstruction • Rehabilitation • Restoration

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties were developed as guidelines for federal agencies working with historic properties supported with federal funding. These standards are highly respected and have been widely accepted as a baseline for any organization with historic properties.

Many people misunderstand what these standards require. They are guidelines and they address four different standards: Preservation, Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Restoration. You -- the property owner -- selectes the standard guidelines to implement. In instances where federal dollars are being used the granting agency may require a certian standard of treatment.

For definitions and guidelines for each area please see:  http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/standguide/  and/or contact your State Historic Preservation Office or State historic preservation network or agency.


Preservation Briefs

Nearly 50 Preservation Briefs have been published by the Technical Preservation Services division of the National Park Service. These illustrated guides focus on unique historical elements, building components or features and address:

Historical Background on Materials and -Techniques
Sources and references
Applications for use of materials
Repair and replacement
Additional reading and resources
Helpful organizations

These can be viewed and read online at the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Services website: www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm or purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office Online Bookstore:  http://bookstore.gpo.gov


Help to Grow this List of Resources!

Organizations and agencies from your local chamber of commerce and banks to regional, state and national arts, history, humanities, and service agencies exist to reinforce your plans and assist you in many areas from funding to organization to marketing. This comprehensive list of resources will broaden your awareness of those to consider and investigate.

Please send other resources that were especially helpful to you and tell us about them

and we will consider there inclusion at this site with your experience.