In this Blog…
In this post I will be discussing my thoughts on world heritage. Keyword is “my thoughts,” so this post is going to be very subjective, but that is the beauty of the world. We all have our colorful opinions, that others can either agree upon, or disagree upon, or not care at all. After being enrolled in this world heritage class for a whole semester, I began to see a patter in almost every world heritage site, and I’m going to discuss what I am talking about. Sit back, and enjoy this post, and make sure you comment what you think about my opinion.
What is This Pattern?
What I noticed about almost every world heritage site we have studied in this class, is that every heritage site must make money for the local economy. You probably figured that out by just looking at the title. So let me try and explain myself. What I mean by every world heritage site, must make money, is that I believe that money is the most important thing that world heritage sites must produce. Rather, than pure history, and a connection with the ancestors of the people, sites now are more focused on monetary gain. This is mostly a Western view, but it seems like others are adopting the idea as well. For example in America, sites usually have tours that make money for the site. Why aren’t these tours free?
You Can’t Blame Them…
We all need money. Money makes the world go round. World heritages are no exception to this rule. UNESCO can only fund so much for heritage sites maintenance and other things, so it is almost imperative that heritage sites gain some money to help support the site itself, and this around the site. A good example of this is the Machu Picchu, where the site does indeed induce an abundant amount of tourism, and it produces a good amount of fiscal gain for the people involved in the site, and those around the site. However this is true, tourism also has a negative effect on the site, and may eventually destroy the site. This is where money and heritage comes into conflict.
The major problem with money being the main thing driving these world heritage sites, is that people who are in charge of the heritage site will try to make the site more enticing. Which in lead, will make them present the site in different way, or even eventually alter the site in some way. This will ruin the authenticity of the site. It comes back to the idea of disneyfication. A prime example of this, was the popular Colonial Williamsburg, although not a heritage site, it is still a good example. Another example will be Monticello. In Monticello, the slavery aspect of the site is not presented in abundance, it is almost an add on to the rest of the history of the site. When in reality, slavery was a huge part of Monticello, and Thomas Jefferson’s life, without any prior knowledge to this, by going to Monticello you probably won’t even know that.
What do you think?
Do you think my opinion is wrong, and uneducated? I am no expert in world heritage, but this is what I got out of the class. This is the main thing that caught my attention, the idea of dark heritage not being presented in a right way in most heritage sites. Countries would love to erase all of the bad things that happened in their past, but if it is part of your heritage it should presented as such, and not be altered just to seem more appealing. It ruins authenticity, and may eventually make the world heritage site an amusement park. Don’t forget to leave comments (nice ones), and thank you for reading. Peace.