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Have you ever wanted to know more about who lived in the historic home you’re staying in, or what the world outside it looked like a century and a half ago? Now, thanks to a unique new community partnership between heritage organizations and property owners, travelers can find out more than ever before and experience local history in truly immersive fashion.
Launching this spring and coming to a community near you, Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Historic Overnights initiative will feature in-depth and behind-the-scenes content about historic overnight accommodations on the state’s official heritage travel website, TexasTimeTravel.com.
To bring these stories to light, THC Heritage Tourism program staff have partnered with local archivists and historians to lead community workshops that teach participants 1. how to use archival resources to research the history of their property, 2. how to piece together biographies, documents, news clippings, and photographs to tell a more engaging story, and 3. how to evoke the house’s material history through interpretive signage and artifact displays.
This opportunity is geared towards small to mid-size communities possessing a high density of historic overnight properties such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, or short-term rentals. In addition to preserving important local history, this program aims to promote greater investment in heritage tourism across the state, as well as cultivate thoughtful historic homeownership, especially as more historic properties are being converted into short-term rentals.
To kick off this initiative, the THC and Visit Galveston have teamed up to highlight the island’s abundance of historically significant lodging. With the help of project partners Galveston Historical Foundation and the Rosenberg Library, over a dozen detailed property biographies are now available to potential overnight guests. From grand homes that survived the Great Storm of 1900 to cottages that paint a picture of immigrant communities established in the mid-nineteenth century, this coastal city is a must-see destination for any heritage traveler who wants an overnight stay that comes with a story.
The online feature launches this month. Project organizers are currently looking for their next community partner.