More thoughts on Public History

I am still musing over my recent sightseeing in London. My thoughts today centered on why people go to see certain sights and not others. What draws people to one sight over another? Is it publicity? Personal interest? Pre-packaged itineraries? For me, it was the historical interest in seeing places I teach about. I have also been wondering about the importance of websites in attracting visitors to sights. I really noticed more people carrying laptops around and pulling them out to look up stuff, check email, etc. I guess I really noticed this in London when I was at a cafe right outside the National Gallery. A young lady, who I had seen inside the gallery, came into the cafe and sat down. She reached into her purse and pulled out a laptop that she fired up and started surfing the web. When I walked behind her I noticed that she was surfing the National Gallery’s website. A few minutes later she was on the British Museum’s site, and after a few minutes she closed up the laptop and headed off, I presume to the British Museum. This certainly makes me wonder how many people channel surf, so to speak, websites before choosing their sightseeing itinerary. I am not sure where I am going with this yet. We’ll see.


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