Texas historic sites and diversity



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There are 34 state-supported historic sites that are managed by the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). These sites have been acquired over the years with various justifications and acquisition histories and are not a planned system of historic sites. With the rapidly changing demographics in Texas, it is clear that new strategies need to be developed so that these sites better represent the history of all Texans. The thesis investigation begins with a history of diversity initiatives within the preservation movement. Next, I present an innovative method for identifying potential areas of focus for diversity initiatives at state historic sites using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I developed a spatial analysis methodology to quantify the level of diversity of the web content of each of the 34 state historic sites. Each historic site’s web site was then ranked according to its relevance to four ethnic groups: African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans. Additionally, I generated population maps, descriptive maps, and analytical maps in order to understand how historic sites interact with the surrounding population. Finally, I present a set of strategies for existing state historic sites that will provide greater diversity in interpretative techniques and promotion. The goal of the GIS-based spatial analysis and the subsequent development of strategies aimed at targeted sites is to broaden the appeal of historic sites to a more diverse audience.