Past Event

Marketing Our Heritage?: Cultural Conservation and Economic Development

“Marketing Our Heritage?” Blog          –Opinion Survey

The “Marketing Our Heritage?” blog is an outgrowth of this event. The site features video clips from that event, results and comments from our opinion survey about issues related to cultural conservation and economic development, relevant articles and other resources, and, most importantly, opportunities for discussion.

Should a community use its cultural heritage to create jobs and revenue? Like a rose bush, that question may prove thornier up close than it appears from a distance. Some believe that when a community uses its culture to generate economic opportunity, it creates incentive for keeping that culture alive and healthy – a win-win situation. Others argue that doing so risks cheapening and exploiting the culture. Still others say that the returns seldom justify the investment.

We’ll try to disentangle this proverbial rose bush of a question in this program, which is part of our Bridging Divides series.

Rose bushes also offer flowers: panelists and insight from audience members will highlight success stories in which cultural conservation and economic development have reinforced each other effectively. They’ll share practical advice for people interested in translating their communities’ cultural vitality into economic vitality.

Panelists include:

Moderated by Jim Kirchherr, host and senior producer of Living St. Louis on KETC Channel 9
Speech Performances by award-winning, recent alumni of the nationally acclaimed McKendree University Speech and Debate Team Erin Conner and Lance Allen

Presented by the Illinois Humanities Council in partnership with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.


This event is part of Bridging Divides, a series that draws on the humanities to help local communities address seemingly intractable social, cultural and political divides. The Bridging Divides series is made possible in part by the generous support of The Boeing Company and is part of the IHC’s Conversations on Contemporary Issues program.


If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580 at least 72 hours prior to the event.