Historic Preservation, Part II

The section that stuck out to me concerned communities selling their cities as a ‘special experience’ or ‘experience economy”(283).  This is something that I’ve actually really been thinking about for Boise recently. Having lived in the Treasure Valley for more or less 6 years now, I think it is a shame that Boise hasn’t taken advantage of this idea. The city calls it downtown area “BoDo” but then does no marketing within the area about it. In class on Thursday Dr. Bieter told us there were little historical looking glasses in a few spots downtown and I was genuinely shocked. Boise not only needs to stop selling itself short and start marketing itself, but the local historical community needs to wake up and do the same. The historical museum has a horrible marketing program, I didn’t even know there was a Black History Museum in the area, and the lack of local marketing almost gives me the impression that Boise people are ashamed of their own history. This area is rich with culture, heritage, and history but no one really talks about it.

The focus of the section on this experience economy is the community that needs to sell itself to tourists. I think, however, that a city needs to sell itself to its own citizens first. If a tourist asks a local Boise man or woman about the local museums and the only thing they can think of is the Basque museum or the old houses on the North End then that is a failure of the local historical community. The authors should have focused on the sad reality of poor self-marketing of historical communities as much as it did the minute details they went into describing historical preservation and cement. There is a hole in their argument that they don’t cover the sad realities along with the ‘successes’ like Pike Street in Seattle. I think we would have been well served to learn about where it didn’t work just as much as where it did.

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