Visitor Experience Planning Helps Sites Bring More Engaging Programs, Exhibits

June 23, 2014


In spring 2014, the Baltimore National Heritage Area began working with five Baltimore attractions to develop customized plans to help improve visitor experiences. The plans will help the sites better relate to visitors through improved access and exhibits. The sites all share one unique feature: they are historic and cultural resources located along the one-mile-wide corridor of the Charles Street National Scenic Byway.

“Baltimore is blessed with an amazing ray of places that tell unique stories about its people and history,” said Jason Vaughan, director of historic preservation and interpretation for the heritage area. “This planning process will help these often smaller and less-visited sites form a foundation for future growth in both the number of visitors they host and how they share their story.”

The heritage area selected Interpretive Direction, LLC (ID) to develop plans for five sites: Bromo Seltzer Tower, Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, G. Krug & Sons, and the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. Funding for the plans is made possible by a National Scenic Byways Program grant managed by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA).

“The Charles Street National Scenic Byway and its resources are a true asset to the city,” said Terry Maxwell of SHA’s Office of Environmental Design. “We’re delighted with this planning process that will help these institutions continue to grow and further add to the byway’s vibrancy.”

ID and heritage area staff met with each site during a day-long workshop to identify current and potential audiences, storylines, and desired visitor experiences. The workshop included a tour of the resource and its collection of artifacts.

The plans will be finished by July 2014 and may serve as a springboard for grant projects funded through the heritage area’s Small Capital Grant program and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority program grant program. In FY2014, the two programs awarded $250,000 to cultural and historic resources in Baltimore to fund heritage tourism-related projects.