About Sarah Lidgus’ Thesis Project
Crossing Cultures: The Construction of National Heritage Areas
As one of the first critical looks at the National Heritage Area Program, this project explores what is at stake when a living community is repackaged as a historical product, framed as a static, fixed point with the goal of generating tourism. Using the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge from the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area as an example, the following excerpt begins to demonstrate how heritage tourism can simplify local histories into neatly packaged anecdotes of Americana. In this act of selling unique local culture, the erasure of the “undesirable” or unmarketable parts of local histories negates the individuality of these sites in favor of an overriding nationalist agenda.