Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Nankai University's online course, Culture and Tourism. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds So findings, what did I find? One of the key issues emerging from this research is that heritage sites and museums are places where people go to feel. They go to be emotional. Now, this is contrary to the expectations, which is that most people will go to be educated, okay? The understanding of the emotional nature of visiting has revealed that this learning recreational paradise or assumption underpins heritage tourism. Not only being overturned, but it opens up a conspicuous conceptual space to look at the different ways in which visitors are engaged with the sites. Also understanding the emotional context of the visit reveals the complex ways in which tourists react to curatorial and interpreting messages.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds And as I said, part of my goal is to untangle affective or emotional responses that tourists have, and to explore how they impede or facilitate visitor engagement with heritage sites. Now, one of the ways, just little theoretical sites here One of the ways I’m doing is true, and the idea I’m developing called registers of engagement. Now, it a fairly obvious observation that different people will have a different response to different types of heritage sites, and we have varying different levels of engagement to those sites. Measuring different levels of engagement reveals the limitations much of the heritage tourism and museums literature which draws on educational studies that argues deep engagement is more important than shallow engagement.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 seconds As I’m finding some visitors’ engagement can be quite shallow but nonetheless that engagement does important social and cultural work for the tourists. While some deep engagement can generate a lot of emotional heat, but does very little in terms of educational, in terms of meaning making or very little bit of analytical critical. For instance here, this is an interview at the Smithsonian Institution in the United States. And it is an exhibition on the Star Spangled Banner, the first flag of the United States, very patriotic. I asked “Does an exhibition like this have meaning for contemporary America?” And the daughter that I’m interviewing says, ‘‘I think so.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds I think it creates a link to the reason we became a country.’’ At this point, she becomes so emotional, she starts to cry. The emotional engagement is very high. It’s very hot. She disappears sobbing. And her mother says, “I think it is meaningful for the younger generations and this exhibition supports my strength for our country even more’’. It’s about patriotism for her. So there’s a lot of emotional feed generated here. But basically what’s happening is an uncritical reinforcement of American patriotism. So what I’m doing here is just illustrating that deep doesn’t necessarily mean that there was a deep message taken away from other visitor.

Skip to 3 minutes and 40 seconds But understanding one of the things, other point that I want to make is that understanding the emotional way in which people emotionally engage or disengage with heritage allows us to understand the emotional investments that people are making. There is a considerable emotional investment being made here to the idea of American patriotism and nationalism. The second key issue that is emerging out of the data is that there are a range of different types of heritage performances that tourists undergo while they’re visiting a heritage site. And I did define five. First is reinforcement. This is the most dominant. This is the most numerous performance that goes on as people visit most dominant heritage performance.

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds And that is a reinforcement of existing understandings and beliefs or existing opinions or knowledge or investments in the historical narratives. But the site is seen to represent for that particular visitors. The next performance is of inter-generational communication, where families go to heritage sites to pass on familial stories and familial histories, or in which all the children are attempting to make some form of contact to dad or absent grandparents or parents This is another quite significant process or a significant performance that was tended to be done at sites of sub national significance, not at national sites, but sites that was significant to more local populations than national populations.

Skip to 5 minutes and 23 seconds The third thing was a remembering or an affirmation of social and political values held by individuals. The fourth was offering recognition and respect and its opposition that continuing of miss recognition, but the offering of recognition of respect to people who are unlike person visiting that was quite rare performance, but it was a significant performance, particularly in sites with indigenous history and immigration history. I’ll talk about this in a little bit. But the fifth one, it happened very rarely, but it did happen was educational. People use these places as an educational resource. But contrary to expectations, in anglophone context, that educational performance was very minor, was done by very few.

Two key issues emerging from qualitative study

Heritage sites and museums are places where people go to be emotional.

Have you heard of five types of heritage performances? In this video, you will have a brief understanding of this topic.

Before you go on to find out more about heritage performance, we’d like to hear from you.

Please feel free to leave your comments in the discussion area.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Culture and Tourism

Nankai University