Anatomy of a public history project

Frederick, Maryland, is getting back to its roots with a Founder's Day program. It will be a day to celebrate history.

Scratch that. Make it a day for visiting tourists to celebrate history by consuming local goods and services. Mayor Jennifer Daugherty notes,
For example, the city of Williamsburg in Virginia has an entire economy based upon its history... In 2001 alone, the city brought in about $377,000,000 in tourism, according to the Virginia Tourism Corp.
Oh, that kind of history. Go for it.

Ms. Dougherty is certain Frederick could also turn its history into a moneymaking industry.
Remember the local historians and what they were good for? You could ask them why the town was named Frederick, and why it has an aqueduct, and who built the structure leaning into McClellan's Alley, and why that porch over on that house was constructed that way, and whatever happened to that local Hanson fellow who became the first president of the U.S.A.; and they had answers. They wrote pamphlets. They gave tours and talks gratis. They connected you to your surroundings, all of it, high and low, public and private.

Now we have top-down chamber of commerce stuff:
Founders Day may be a once-a-year event or could recur each weekend, Ms. Dougherty said. She believes it would tie in well with the First Saturday Gallery Walks that Frederick currently hosts. People could come downtown, shop, take time out to watch the [historic] play and then grab dinner before heading home.
To some people, that's history.

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