Historic preservation and heritage tourism in Texas: an integrated approach to sustainable heritage management



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This study assesses the efforts of the State Historic Preservation Office in relating Historic Preservation (HP) with Heritage Tourism (HT) against principles of sustainability. It also seeks to contribute toward an integrated heritage management framework at the State Historic Preservation level that is based on theoretical principles and empirical study. The focus is on the heritage management practices as performed by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). This case offers good understanding about the relationship between two major interests involved in heritage management: HP and HT. It is used to conduct a constructive evaluation of the HP-HT relationship in terms of its ?existence? and ?effectiveness? guided by sustainability and good governance principles. The study uses qualitative research based on a constructivist paradigm. Data are gathered using three research methods: documents, in-depth interviews, and participant observation. Documents were collected about the THC?s heritage management programs, including: the Texas Heritage Trails Program and the Visionaries in Preservation program. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted with state and regional stakeholders involved in activities related to these programs. Observation was made for the visionary process in Nacogdoches, Texas. Coding and categorizing for the interviews and documentary evidences were used as the fundamental analytic process. Coding included open coding, selective coding for core categories, and development of patterns and themes. This process assisted in identifying categories, properties, themes and the relationships between them that eventually helped in building a cohesive understanding of the HP-HT relationship as performed by the THC. The research found that heritage management efforts of the THC are not consistent with sustainability and good governance principles. Effectiveness of these efforts is affected by factors of heritage management approaches, partnership building, capacity building attempts, strategic processes, authority devolution, and accountability relations. A new framework for integrated heritage management has been developed from this study to assist the state government in achieving not only good management but good governance, since it will guide the organizations to more closely align with the social and cultural realities of their communities and develop meaningful and responsive heritage management policies and strategies.