For today’s break, a beautifully produced yet simple 3:44 video by Adam Worth about the historic African American cemeteries in New Jersey, many of which are abandoned and slowly disappearing into nature. It discusses their historical significance as well as current preservation challenges.
This video by Thirteen introduces Weeksville, an African American community founded in the 19th century in Brooklyn. Today, it is an historic site that interprets the history, re-discovery, and preservation of this special neighborhood as a “multidimensional museum”.
This 2:24 excerpt from a self-guided multimedia tour of the landscape integrates the history of the people who lived and worked at Drayton Hall, an early 18th century plantation in South Carolina. This multimedia tour was produced in collaboration with the History Channel.
This short feature by BET includes an interview with director Lonnie Bunch, highlights of artifacts, and a computer-generated fly-through of the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In honor of African American history month, I’ll be sharing other related videos on Fridays.
Travis Hollenbeck and Daniel Vukelich not only started a new life together by getting married on April 28, 2012, but they also broke new ground at President Lincoln’s Cottage, a National Trust Historic Site at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC–it was the first wedding held at the site and perhaps the first same-sex wedding at a U. S. military base. Over 150 friends and family attended.
Hollenbeck and Vukelich chose Lincoln’s Cottage because of its personal Continue reading
If you’re interpreting a group of sites or a heritage area, you might be interested in reviewing an interpretive plan I completed earlier this year for the Arroyo Seco Parkway National Scenic Byway. When the Parkway was completed in 1940, it connected Los Angeles and Pasadena and began southern California’s Freeway Age. It’s also a region that has a dense concentration of museums, historic sites, parks, historic Main Streets, architectural landmarks, and unique businesses, including the Gamble House, Huntington Library, Lummis Home, Heritage Square, and Olvera Street. To bring attention to these cultural riches, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority commissioned me to develop this plan and work with a local stakeholders, build on an inventory of assets developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and integrate audience research conducted by the Community Land Use and Economic Group and Decision Support Partners.
The planning process followed a traditional approach by collecting content to develop topics and themes; conducting visitor research to identify target audiences; and finally Continue reading
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, one of the great public museums established just after the Civil War, has recently opened “Art of the Americas,” a new wing filled with its outstanding collections of American fine and decorative arts. As some of you know, the Boston MFA underwent a controversial restructuring more than a decade ago, shifting from departments organized by media (e.g., paintings, ceramics, furniture) to geography (e.g., Europe, Asia, and America) and firing some longtime curators (including Jonathan Fairbanks, who created the American Decorative Arts and Sculpture department at the MFA). I’m assuming one of the results of this restructuring is “Art of the Americas.” This four-story exhibit consists of 53 galleries tracing the history of art from pre-Columbian to Modern periods for the continents of North and South America, so along with the expected Chippendale chairs and Copley portraits, there are Peruvian funerary urns and Acoma pots. It’s so large that it took me nearly three hours just to cruise through it at a walking pace and I didn’t make it to the fourth floor, which explored the 20th century.
Unlike most art museums, the exhibit mixes Continue reading
Last week I had a chance to visit with my colleagues at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, California. I was the assistant director there a decade ago and it continues to be a special place to me (if you haven’t visited, it has great architecture and a great story). After a generous lunch with the staff, director Karen Graham Wade and some of her staff took me to see the Workman House, the earliest house on the site. It’s undergoing extensive interior rehabilitation to make it more suitable and attractive as an exhibit gallery. It’s part of a major effort to respond to the changing interests of their visitors by increasing the self-guided experiences. They are also reducing the number of days per week the Homestead Museum will be open for walk-in public tours and increasing the number of days they’ll be open for tours by appointment and for other activities. At La Casa Nueva, the second house on site, they are Continue reading
If you are trying to reach an Hispanic or Latino audience, Laura Mandala of Mandala Research, LLC is leading a webinar on “Understanding the U. S. Hispanic Traveler” on February 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm Eastern. Produced in conjunction with Longwoods Travel USA, she’ll be providing comprehensive data and analysis on the U.S. Hispanic Traveler, including spending, activities, social media usage, mode of transport, trip purpose, trip planning, booking, destinations for both day and overnight stays, and much more. Cost is $299 and pre-registration is required. For more details, visit mandalaresearch.com.
If you’re not familiar with Laura Mandala, she one of the leading research and analysis firms specializing in leisure travel (that includes those of us who work in museums and historic sites). I became familiar with her study of heritage and cultural travelers at the National Trust. Her website offers several free reports including the use of social media by travelers, behaviors of leisure travelers who drive, and culinary cultural travelers (foodies!). If you’re a member of the American Association of Museums, you can receive the Cultural and Heritage Traveler Study for 50% off.
JWT Intelligence has just released its Ten Trends for 2012 based on surveys of Americans and Britons and interviews with experts and influencers. If you can’t afford to buy copy of their full report for $250, here’s a summary plus some suggestions for taking advantage of them:
- Navigating the New Normal: The economy won’t be back to the way it was for some time, so consumers are now becoming price conscious by habit. Consider stripped down offerings (such as smaller sizes of products in your museum store) or some access at lower cost (such as a “grounds only” admission fee).
- Live a Little: Although they don’t want to pay a lot, visitors are becoming anxious to splurge on a few good things responsibly. Adjust your programs so they promote both the fun experience and extraordinary aspects of your site (and be sure you can deliver it–just saying your tours are fun and extraordinary doesn’t make it so).
- Generation Go: 20-somethings are struggling Continue reading