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Heritage Tourism Team and Sponsors

Team and Sponsors


Team Bios ¬† ‚ÄĘ ¬†Sponsors ¬† ‚ÄĘ ¬† Credits


Many individuals and organizations have contributed to these materials on the development of heritage tourism for communities and regions. Encouragement, collaboration, dedication, energy and time. . . a lot of time. . .  have gone into this work and deserve recognition.


Thanks to our sponsors and meet the team

Our sponsoring organizations provided funding, technical and consultative assistance and the encouragement to be involved. Our team of complex multi-talented and committed individuals all gave freely of their time and expertise to a project that others may have turned away from as just another add-on to their responsibilities. 

            Meet us and connect with us.  


The North Central Regional Center for Rural Development provided encouragement and two small grants that validated our ideas, and the need, and brought us together for face-to-face meetings and planning. Special thanks go to director Dr. Scott Loveridge and Associate Rosa Soliz for their personal encouragement and support.

NCRCRD works with extension professionals, researchers, and partners to enhance rural development. Jointly funded by the USDA and Land Grant Universities. This center is one of a group of four centers that cover the United States who work collaboratively on issues that cross regional boundaries. The NCRCRD works to establish collaborative working relationships across the region to address emerging and continuing issues of interest to rural communities. 


Michigan State University Museum is providing technical assistance in the development and hosting our website. The MSU Museum is the science and culture museum, serving the state from it's campus location and national and international access to collections, programs and services. Special thanks go to Director Gary Morgan and Lora Helou and Sunny Wang for their support, critique and technical assistance.


Michigan State University Extension’s mission is focused on helping people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical needs, issues, and opportunities. The Greening Michigan Institute works to leverage natural and human assets for prosperity. Heritage tourism and the use of culture as a tool for community and economic development are a part of the activities Extension’s Sustaining Community Prosperity workgroup.


Home Organizations    

Thanks to the home organizations of our team members for their support of work that has gone into the development of these materials and resources.

  • Francis Boggus & Associates, LLC, DeMoines, Iowa
  • Michigan State University Extension and the MSU Museum
  • Purdue University, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management¬†
  • University of Missouri Extension, Benton County, Boone County, and Osage County¬†
  • University of Nebraska, Department of Economics, Bureau of Business Research¬†


Photo Credits and Thanks

Images and photos used in the website and Heritage Tourism materials are courtesy of the Michigan State University Museum, the African-American Museum of Iowa, Julie Avery, Connie Mefford, Ginny Foster and morgueFile.com.


The Team

Dr. Julie Avery is an Extension specialist at Michigan State University focusing on culture as a driver for community and economic development. As curator emeriti with the MSU Museum she continues collections and evaluation projects. Dr. Avery led a seven-year cultural grant and assistance program for rural communities, a collaboration between Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the museum. Julie has served as museum historian, curator of rural life and culture, director of education and acting museum director.  Her research in American popular culture and vernacular arts resulted in museum exhibitions, training and public education programs, publications and a public television documentary. Julie received her bachelors from Western Illinois University, masters from Western Michigan University, and doctorate at Michigan State University.       Julie A. Avery     averyj@msu.edu


 Francis Boggus, principal of Francis Boggus & Associates, LLC., provides direction and assistance for community planning and development. Mr. Boggus has years of experience in broad based community development at the local, state and national level:  community development and engagement; grant writing and management; board development and training; community visioning, fundraising and project implementation; and heritage tourism development. 2007-2011 Francis led the Iowa Great Places program, implementing community projects totaling more than $240mm. Francis has assisted many communities in gathering community leadership to enhance their communities by developing and implementing comprehensive long range. Francis has degrees in political science and history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a law degree from the University of San Francisco.       Francis O. Boggus     francis@francisboggus.com


Dr. Jonathon Day, an Assistant Professor in Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, has over 20 years experience in destination management and governance. He is an award winning marketer, experienced with destination marketing organizations in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Jonathon has a Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology, an M.B.A from U.C.L.A.’s Anderson Graduate School of Management and a Ph.D. from James Cook University (Australia). His research interests focus on strategic destination management including issues of sustainability and competitiveness within the tourism system.       Jonathon Day     jonday@purdue.edu



Larry Dickerson is a community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension (Columbia). He has worked in community, economic and organizational development for close to 40 years. In the past 25 years Mr. Dickerson has focused on tourism and heritage tourism, mainly in Alaska and Missouri where he has served also in roles of executive director, project manager, academic faculty and¬† community organizer. Larry has a bachelors degree in political science and a master of science in community development, and many continuing education endeavors. Larry is the author of ‚ÄúCreating Healthy Communities, the Process of Community Discovery‚ÄĚ and coauthor and editor of ‚ÄúCreating A Healthy Community‚ÄĚ to be published by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Press in the fall of 2012. ¬† ¬†¬†Larry Dickerson¬†¬†¬†¬† dickersonl@missouri.edu


Kathy Dothage is¬†County Program Director and Human Development Specialist, and has been employed by the University of Missouri for over 40 years.¬† She became involved in heritage tourism thru her work and support of the Osage County Agritourism Council which was organized in 2002.¬† This Council sponsored the Community Heritage Conference held in a small rural river town in Osage County Missouri in 2010.¬† The Council also offers ‚ÄúBe a Tourist in your Own County‚ÄĚ tours twice a year and hosts out of county bus tours periodically. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Kathy Dothage ¬† ¬† DothageM@missouri.edu




Connie Mefford has been a Community Development Specialist for over 16 years. Her focus is building sustainable local rural economies with a strong resource base. Ms. Mefford’s experience includes nonprofit organizations, volunteerism and leadership development. She provides workshops on hospitality, community assessment and heritage tourism. Connie assisted the development of the Old Trails Regional Tourism Partnership --a nine county West Central Missouri region encompassing both sides of the Missouri River-- formed to preserve and share the region's unique assets and values, regional identity and pride. Connie has Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a graduate of the Missouri Community Development Academy. In 2000, she participated in the Missouri-Thailand Community Development Partnership Exchange on community building, entrepreneurship and preservation of cultural crafts and natural resources.      Connie Mefford    MeffordC@missouri.edu 


Dr. Eric Thompson is Associate Professor and Director of the Bureau of Business Research, Department of Economics at the University of Nebraska ‚Äď Lincoln. Dr. Thompson investigates and develops methodology for identifying economic impact, and seeks to identify related research in the field. ¬†Eric has a special interest in tourism and has recently been involved in the development of the Nebraska Heritage Tourism Plan.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Eric Thompson ¬† ¬† ethompson2@unl.edu





Thanks to All!


First-person "Elkanah Watson, father of the American fair", MSU Museum, East Lansing, MI.