Prepare for People
Mendon May Day, 2006. Courtesy of mendoncity.net.
You are preparing to delight and serve visitors, residents (new and old), and people who might invest in the community by opening a business, restoring a building, relocating, etc.
So—look at your place from their point of view. What will delight them?
Get your historic resources ready:
Preserve, rehabilitate, and re-use buildings.
- Prepare exhibits and destinations.
- Make sure tourist destinations are open at convenient times.
- Create ways for visitors to interact meaningfully with the heritage resources. For an example of a program that uses volunteers to actually preserve the resources, learn about the Forest Service's Passport in Time program.
Spruce up the town. Some ideas:
- Beautify streets (don't rely only on banners for this!)
- Create walkable, bikable routes.
- Create or take advantage of open spaces.
- Clean up vacant lots.
- Create attractive signage.
- Revise your commercial sign ordinance to encourage attractive signs.
Find interesting ways to tell interesting stories.
Visitors want a full heritage experience. They want to know stories, background, and meaning.
Engage people with materials that are interesting, purposeful, and truthful. Help them see other points of view. Help them see the big picture. Good interpretation helps connect visitors and residents emotionally to place, culture, and history.
Some types of materials:
- Brochures and guidebooks.
- Walking or driving tours. See the Utah Arts Council’s audio driving tour of Sanpete County.
- Signs and kiosks.
- Maps: See Provo’s interactive map of its historic sites.
- Living history interpreters
- Exhibits: See information on the Utah Humanities Council’s Museum Interpretation Initiative.
- Website: See the Mendon City website for one example of what a small town has done.
- Audio. visiual, and video materials, such as oral histories, photos, and video clips: online, downloadable, or on disk.
Find ways to encourage what you seek.
What can you do to encourage more residents living close to downtown, bring in more new and diverse businesses, offer more lodging and restaurant options, etc.
Find ways to increase friendliness and service.
- Make sure people can find their way around using signs, maps, and information centers.