Though initially the fear was that sharing too much online might discourage live visits to locales counting on such foot-traffic (and donations) to survive, today most museums and other public history sites have a digital footprint – ranging from simple websites offering basic information like hours of operation and major exhibits (Andrew County Museum), to elaborate sites that incorporate video, virtual tours, blogs, etc. (Colonial Williamsburg).
Many historic sites have realized that a great web presence can both attract visitors and give them a way to relive and enhance the experience once they have returned home. (Not to mention, the marketing boost these organizations can get if they add social media into the mix - more on that next week!)
Here are two public history sites making smart use of the Internet:
And as people increasingly turn to the web for attraction specifics before deciding to commit their time and dollars to a visit, posting information may actually encourage more live visitors.
As much as some who work in public history may hate it, there is no question that digital technology offers an advantage. If they are going to successfully compete for visitors, the hold-outs will need to embrace technology sooner rather than later. Once they do, they'll quickly see it was worth it.
Has an historic site’s website encouraged or complemented your visit? Tell me about it in the comments!
IMAGE CREDIT: CHRIS DEVERS