The Usable Past workshop series returns Wednesday, February 16 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. through Zoom for a free, in-depth roundtable discussion on inclusion and diversity in this region. This workshop is for tourism professionals and other interested individuals to help participants develop strategies towards inclusive tourism initiatives.
Over 100 million visitors come to Tennessee each year, and the state typically earns over 20 billion dollars in revenue from tourists. The Usable Past Series returns in 2022 to explore the opportunities that exist in our own communities to meet the needs of our tourists, achieve the revenue and interpretive goals at our historic and cultural institutions, and create an environment where visitors feel safe and represented.
In historic Northeast Tennessee, heritage tourism is a large part of why people travel: they want to know their history. However, this is a field that has struggled to be inclusive and welcoming to visitors of all backgrounds. The Usable Past Series has engaged tourism industry leaders at all levels and from a variety of venues to discuss their best practices, their own challenges, and their successes in meeting their missions.
Speakers for the first session of the year include Beth Kelly, Vice President for Education, Research and Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Kim Floyd, Site Manager at the Vance Birthplace Historic Site; and Gary Sandling, Vice President of Strategy & Chief Content Officer at Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. The panelists will also participate in a question-and-answer session after their presentations.
Presenters for this year’s first session, Useable Past: Sites of Reconciliation: Empowerment Through Challenging Histories, will specifically focus on showcasing efforts and examples in Northeast Tennessee and the surrounding region pertaining to inclusive tourism, difficulties faced, as well as action steps all organizations can take moving forward for more inclusive interpretations.
Dr. Daryl Carter, Director of the Black American Studies program at East Tennessee State University and Jules Corriere from the McKinney Center will moderate the Q&A session following the presentations.
Participants can register for the event through the McKinney Center’s website at McKinneyCenter.com Participants must register in advance to receive the Zoom link. More information can be found at the Useable Past Facebook page, or by contacting email@example.com.
This workshop series is a collaboration between several organizations, including the McKinney Center, the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Langston Centre, and the Black American Studies program at ETSU. The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School provides a comprehensive program through Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts which teaches various art skills to all participants through a quality program of instruction open to all segments of Jonesborough’s population. The Heritage Alliance is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences. The Langston Centre is a cultural facility that promotes multicultural awareness and workforce development through arts, education and leadership activities. The Black American Studies program serves a critical role for the College of Arts & Sciences and ETSU by offering high quality academic course offerings, superb programming, and opportunities for personal growth through service.