Dark Tourism is a funny thing that says an awful lot about the psychology of human beings. While I have participated in more than my fare share of this kind of tourism (my mother LOVES haunted hotels and I’ve been to all kinds of battlefields), there were some kinds of sites listed in the articles that I would have never thought of as ‘dark tourism locations.’ One type of heritage site I would not have classified among these other sites was slavery heritage sites. First, I was unaware that there was an active market for slavery heritage dark tourism outside of the associated Civil War sites. Second I had never considered purely educational sites to be a part of dark tourism, which is silly because the author of the Dark Tourism Spectrum article makes a great case as to why particular exhibits or entire museums would fall somewhere along that spectrum. What was obvious to me when looking at the Old Pen and Little Bighorn was much less obvious when considering the Holocaust Museum. Perhaps I am under the influence of more biases than I had previously considered.
I had also not fully considered the political and moral implications of some kinds of dark tourism. Certainly the photo series “Yolocaust” had made me reconsider what proper reverence for sites of great tragedy looks like. But I had not taken the cognitive leap to the assumption that there is a certain level of expected exploitation present at things like the human body exhibits in medical museums. I am interested to see how popular dark tourism continues to be in the intervening years.