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A sampling of folklife and cultural tourism projects in the U.S.

Report and Methods

Over thirty folklorists and allied cultural professionals with experience in and knowledge of folklife and culture tourism projects were interviewed for this report. Because of the project timeline and scope, in most cases interviews were conducted with folklorists rather than the cultural tourism professionals with whom ffolklorists increasingly work. I wish to thank those quoted in the report, who are listed with contact information at the end, as well as a number of individuals whose comments were not directly included, often because of space considerations: Jane Beck, Sue Ellen Blakey, Barry Bergey, Deborah Boykin, Dee Davis, Douglas Day, Larry Morrisey, Maida Owens, Jan Rosenberg, Erin Roth, Dan Ward, Vaughn Ward, and Patricia Wells. I adso would like to thank and credit Elaine Thatcher, who assisted me with this project, lending her particular expertise on this topic as well as her editing skills.

The report has followed Missouri Folk Arts Program's stated interest in emphasizing community -involved and/or -initiated cultural tourism proiect or projects with especially innovative products. Therefore, large-scale and national proiects, such as the National Folk Festival, the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife, or national or regional touring programs are not addressed here. The case study analysis here is illustrative rather than exhaustive, for this relatively new field has already generated far too many examples to include with detailed analyses.

Many folklife and heritage tourism examples are not included here. A few would surely merit inclusion in a more extensive survey:

  • Jugtown and over 90 other potteries in the Seagrove, North Carolina area (along with a recently established North Carolina Pottery Center);
  • Group Tours of Smith Island, Maryland;
  • Community-based cultural heritage tourism initiatives in Louisiana;
  • Many heritage tourism projects sponsored by tribal groups across the United State in recent years;
  • And community-based heritage tourism projects in National Parks.

While a critical analysis of the place of cultural heritage tourism in contemporary American society is surely beyond the scope of this report, the bibliography includes a number of articles and books that grapple with this theme.

Folklife Sampling Home
Report and Methods

Case Studies

A1. Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
A3. South Bronx Latin Music Tour

B1. Washington Heritage Tours
B2. Sanpete County, Utah Audio Tour and Booklet

C1. Tennessee Overhill Heritage Project
C2. Kentucky Route 23 Heritage Corridor Project
C3. Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative
C4. "Come See What's Cooking in Hancock County"

D1. Cowboy Poetry Gathering
D2. Louisiana Folklife Festival

E1. The Portland Oregon Visitors Association
E2. "Tours and Detours"

F1. The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina Guidebook
F2. Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance Gathering/Wabanaki Cultural Guide

G1. South Carolina Heritage Corridor Tourism Projects
G2. Delmarva Folklife Initiative