Archeology Tourism: How can archeology attract visitors to your site? – Conference Insider Look

By Rodney, Preserve WV AmeriCorps

PAWV 2014 Conference LogoToday’s Insider Look into the PAWV 2014 Historic Preservation Conference is about using archeology to bring tourists to your site.

The conference is given every two years at a different host city.  This year it is being held in Huntington, WV, September 25-27, 2014.  For a full conference agenda, click HERE.  To register for the conference, visit our EventBrite page.

Alison Thornton, M.A.

Beverly Heritage Center & Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps


“Using Archeology to Promote Heritage Tourism”

Saturday, September 27, 2014

9:00 am – 10:15 am

Visual Arts Center, Marshall University

Archaeology can be used to bring locals and tourists to your site.  Work on mitigation or educational excavations are both types of archaeology which can bring interested parties and perhaps a whole new group of enthusiasts to you.

This year, the West Virginia Statewide Historic Preservation Conference will focus on archeology and brownfields re-use.  To this end, we welcome Alison Thornton M.A., who will educate attendees on using archeology as a powerful tool to increase involvement within organizations or historic sites.

In her presentation, Ms. Thornton will use real world success stories to help demonstrate ways in which a wide variety of organizations can benefit from archeology tourism.  She will start from the beginning with identifying resources and sites, meeting State Historic Preservation Office regulations, and different types of archeology.  Her presentation will also highlight the very important process of advertising the experience and gaining awareness to further increase interest in your project.  Potential visitors can be enticed by kids’ programs, using volunteers for excavation, active interpretation at the site, interpretation post-excavation, and setting up days for tourists and community members to visit the site and see real archaeology in action. Finally, the discussion will address using artifacts for future interpretation, benefits and drawbacks to excavation, and how to move forward after the excavation is complete.

Alison Thornton leads an archeological excavation at the Collett House in Beverly, WV. Photo credit: Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

Alison Thornton leads an archeological excavation at the Collett House in Beverly, WV.
Photo credit: Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

Ms. Thornton M.A. has a wealth of academic and field archeology experience.  Alison Thornton has a Bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree from Western Michigan University.  Recently, she brought her skills to serve the Beverly Heritage Center in Beverly, West Virginia through the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area’s AmeriCorps program.  There, one of her projects involved leading an educational excavation at the Collett House.

The activity  has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior and the WV Division of Culture & History, State Historic Preservation Office.

Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental Federally Assisted Programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or handicap.  Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of Federal assistance should write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240. 


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