Directing a historic site with multiple partners requires coordination of each party’s vision, drawing on shared resources to support development over time.
Planning presents a range of issues, particularly in the envisioning of shared goals and objectives for the site’s future that are clearly defined. Plans are often developed without consultation or consideration of each others’ goals, and the community context, more broadly.
Whether in the creation of long-term strategic plans or short-term goals, conflicts arise when there are too many “cooks” in the kitchen – leading to lack of action, delayed progress, and organizational fatigue.
Aligning your plans with the owner’s priorities is a strategic way to enhance the value of the site. By making clear, documented connections between your work and the owner’s objectives, you can demonstrate how the site is contributing to fulfilling the owner’s goals in the community. If your site is government owned, maintain an awareness of shifting political priorities and integrate them into your planning.
Example: A municipal owner’s Cultural Plan is updated to include goal setting around climate change and sustainability – how can you reflect this in your planning? Through programming goals, or operational changes?
Raising funds and earning revenue is a consistent issue, as partners are often challenged by the shared responsibility of establishing financial growth and sustainability.
Historic sites require a specialized system of care that draws on shared resources and individual strengths. The complexities of such create issues in building and site maintenance, as partners find it difficult to translate roles and responsibilities from the agreement into the realities of day-to-day operations.
Weak partnerships affect the ways that stories are told at historic sites, limiting the development of sound interpretive strategies that effectively engage citizens and visitors. Interpretation is most often addressed almost entirely by operators with the support of third parties and high level oversight of site owners.