Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds So I want to conclude, I want to end today by looking at one last example for you. But I want to stress with this example, Is that visitor responses to sites can range from the banal and very complex? Across that four and a half thousand interviews, we had a lot of very banal, a little bit complex responses. But I want to also illustrate that you could have those conflicts in a single visit.
Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds One of the points that I want to stress with this example is the issue of choice, the visitors make choices. They choose what they’re going to visit. And then they choose how they going to behave and how they’re going to feel when they get there. People engage in active choice. So, this visitor is visiting James Madison Montpelier that’s the same site I showed you before. James Madison helped write the constitution of the United States, very important father figure for the American nation, also a slave owner. So I’m talking to a middle aged white woman who was from the south, from the southern parts of America, that for force slavery in the Civil War.
Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds And like many others, she talked about touring, taking the tours into group here, taking that tour through the site, and she says she feels humbled, totally in awe of Madison’s right mind and how he compiled everything to come up with the words, with the people put into the constitution. Dolly, that is Madison’s wife. She was so very shy. And there was such a great blend, such a beautiful marriage because they bought so much to each other. It’s really great wondrous, humbling thing to see. And I asked what has been the site mean to you? It’s my life. It’s who I am, of course, as an American, I said you must be here to know who you are.
Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds Because the document, that’s the constitution she’s talking about established who we are as Americans, and therefore we must build on that every day we live. So it’s very important to American national identity. And she talked about effective response she had sitting with other members of the two groups in the room in which Madison worked on the constitution. And she told me about his wife, Dolly, and how she was very proud of Dolly, because apparently when the white house was burned down by the the British in eighteen twelve, Dolly risky portrait of George Washington, the first president to talk about what a hero she was. So she was very proud of Madison and his wife.
Skip to 3 minutes and 5 seconds Nonetheless, she took time out of the tour to visit the plantation’s railway site. This is a railway site on the plantation in which they brought goods in and to put goods away from the plantation, of course, including slaves. And you notice here. This is a relatively recent symbol of what they call the Jim Crow Era, era of segregation, in which there were wedding room for whites, and a wedding room for colored, what I called colored people. So she says she took time out of the talk is it not part of the tour. She left the tour to go visit the plantations railway station. And she informed me that she deliberately walked through as a white woman.
Skip to 3 minutes and 53 seconds She deliberately walk through the colored door, so that she could both remember and experience pathetically what her black childhood school friend had experienced as a child growing up in Southern America. She outlines her tears to me how experience walking through that door was intense and effective. And she used this emotional response to reflect on the racism in her family that had prevented her from bringing her friend home from school. She is not allowed to play with her friend after school, because her mother said, ‘‘you don’t play with black people”. And she thought about the limitations. What was the limitations being white in the south world and what that limitations had placed on her friendship?
Skip to 4 minutes and 40 seconds This was an effective moment, but as a moment that she sought something she looked for and it reaffirmed her resolve to question her own racism. So she says that talking about going through the door, “I’m a southerner (sighs). We rebelled against our own nation to preserve state’s rights. Slavery was a big part of my family’s heritage and to see it abolished is a great joy. But to learn how it was conducted, you see very little of that in any other tour you get. This shows you the degrees of slavery and the Jim Crow Museum down there at the train station (sighs), I go through the coloured door. I lived that.
Skip to 5 minutes and 20 seconds My dearest friend in high school was a black girl and my mother wouldn’t let her come to my house (sobs)’’, and she starts to cry.
Skip to 5 minutes and 28 seconds I really start to cry, at this point, she is on my shoulder crying. She stopping. And she said… it’s unclear because it muffled on my shoulder, ‘‘you’d die to get rid of these feelings to people. I’ve got my family, some of them they still won’t…” Basically, they still won’t engage with black people. “Civil War isn’t over. I’m third generation on my mother’s side from the war and believe we were raised to know that we were different”. That is different from black people. “And I fight that, coming here helps you do that.” So coming to the site helps her to resolve, to continue to fight the racism with society and her family.
Skip to 6 minutes and 7 seconds Now this interview, this tourist was always deeply engaged with the site.
Skip to 6 minutes and 15 seconds She moved from being invested in normative narratives of American nationhood to explicit for millions self examination of racism. So again, what is the example stresses for me and the point I want to live with you is that people exercise choice. They choose, as I said, to visit sites and not visit others. And one another side, people make choices to feel one not feel. And feeling is very much believing how we engage your emotions, as a consequences for the way we engage in social debates and cultural practices. If we feel that we are getting an authentic feeling and the pathetic emotion from the site. The net authenticate or legitimizes, the narratives and memories and the commemorations undertaken in that site.
Skip to 7 minutes and 5 seconds It authenticates and legitimizes the meanings of social meanings and political social values that we take away from it. So understanding of the agency of individuals, understanding the agency of tourists and the emotional aspects of choices that people make in their interactions with heritage as tourists, I think it’s crucial in understanding the ways in which whether the past is used to give meaning in the present and the ways to energize this particular meanings and forms of historical consciousness, or indeed claims for recognition, or indeed the perpetuation of this recognition, and the way in general energizes and legitimizes, affirmations of self and citizenship and belonging. Thank you.
The conclusion of heritage performance
Congratulations! You are now watching the last video of this course. We believe you have already had fruitful achievements through the learning of the culture and tourism in the previous six weeks. In the last video of this course, you will know that heritage performance is an emotional aspect of choices that tourists interact with heritage.
Which heritage site or museum have you been to recently? What does this site or museum mean to you?
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