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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Campbell, Sarah K.

Second Advisor

Boxberger, Daniel L., 1950-

Third Advisor

Hammond, Joyce D., 1950-


This study explores and analyzes self-guided historic walking tours in Whatcom County, Washington, as part of Whatcom County’s heritage tourism offerings. Heritage Tourism a specialized field of tourism that has seen growth over the last several decades and has become the most successful specialized tourism market. Twelve self-guided historic walking tours were analyzed from an anthropological framework, exploring themes in multi-vocality, authenticity, sense of place, and audience engagement in interpretation. The narrative text from each tour booklet or pamphlet was analyzed using criteria developed by the author to examine the presence or absence of diversity, authenticity, audience engagement in the interpretation, and how the piece contributed to developing a sense of place for the location selected. Suggestions were made for the self-guided historic walking tours that did not meet the criteria for multi-vocality, authenticity, sense of place and audience engagement to improve the tours to include these themes in future presentations. Improvement to the presentations were informed using historic background information researched for this study using public history and ethnohistory approaches. The criteria developed by this study can be used by future historians to develop more inclusive and engaging presentations to attract a larger audience to popular tourist districts, helping to increase revenue and support local businesses.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Heritage tourism--Social aspects--Washington (State)--Whatcom County

Geographic Coverage

Whatcom County (Wash.)




masters theses




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