Event info

Date: May 5, 2016

Time: 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: ATT Room, Missouri History Museum, Lindell & DeBaliviere in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63112

Cost: Free to the public.

RSVPs are highly recommended; please send RSVP to wooleryl@missouri.edu.

**Note: This event is over. However, this educational training can be facilitated in your community. Contact the Community Arts Program more information.**

A panel discussion on Using Storytelling to Increase Heritage Tourism in Your Community

Learn how to incorporate stories and storytelling in cultural heritage tourism projects. Participants will explore the link between history, culture, art and economic development through Lexington community members, who will share the process used to create the Legends of Lexington audio tour and how the project has increased local tourism. Professional storytellers will also be on hand to tell Missouri stories.

  • Join us for this 90-minute panel discussion to learn best practices and guidelines for developing and producing audio cultural heritage tourism projects.
  • Learn how to cultivate historical stories and place-based narratives from your community or neighborhood for heritage tourism initiatives.
  • Listen to Missouri stories told by professional tellers Carole Shelton and Larry Brown.

Panel discussion members include: Lexington community members, who increased tourism in their community through storytelling; Missouri history scholar Dr. Jody Sowell; and MU Extension Community Arts Program faculty.

Topics to be covered

  • How to organize and plan for a heritage tourism initiative in your community with stories at the core.
  • How to place stories at the core of heritage tourism initiatives.
  • The guidelines for gathering and recording local stories.
  • How to turn history into a good story.
  • What makes a good story?
  • How to keep the history true.
  • How to take a story and develop it into a heritage tourism product.
  • The key ingredients for making a heritage tourism project a success.

Who should attend?

  • People who deal specifically with economic development, tourism, culture, history or the arts.
  • People involved in community decision making, such as tourism directors, city managers, chamber of commerce directors, librarians, theater directors, parks and recreation directors, or cultural affair directors, and educators and teachers who are interested in bringing history to life through stories in their classroom.
  • Artisans, craftspeople, historians, architects, community activity coordinators and agribusiness entrepreneurs.


  • Audiences will learn how narrative-based heritage tourism products can address challenges unique to rural communities, small towns and some urban neighborhoods, including: relative geographic isolation, infrastructure limitations, inability to tap into community potential and population flight.
  • Audiences will learn how arts, culture and the humanities can help address these issues and others by diversifying economies, creating sustainable small businesses, improving quality of life, and attracting visitors and investment.


Overall time of event: 2 hr. 30 min

12:30 p.m. — Storyteller #1

12:50 p.m. — Brief break

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Introduction of panel members by Lee Ann Woolery, Community Arts Specialist. Panel discussion and Q&A.

2:30 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. — Storyteller #2

2:50 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Evaluations, thank you and closure by Gk Callahan, Community Arts Regional Specialist 

History of the Legends of Lexington audio tour

During a two-year project beginning in January 2013, the MU Extension Community Arts Program and the Lexington community developed and packaged the audio tour based on the interests and assets of the community. At the heart of this project are the stories of the region, first researched and recorded by Lexington historian Roger Slusher, and then developed and scripted by theater professional Hughston Walkinshaw and Lexington Tourism Director Dan Cambridge.

More than 30 community volunteers engaged as voice actors to parlay the rich history of the region into narratives framed by the four historic districts of Lexington. An MU School of Music student composed new music for the project, and faculty provided the audio engineering. A graduate student in the Art department at MU designed the map. Debuting in Lexington at the Apples, Arts and Antiques Festival on September 26, 2014, the components of the audio tour include an oversized printed map, a set of four CDs, and mp3 files that can be accessed through the Lexington tourism website.

The audio tour enhances the quality of life in Lexington and it offers the community another way to diversify and drive economic development. Lexington, like many small rural towns, has limited financial and volunteer resources, and the project has infused new blood into efforts to promote the town. The tour encourages visitors to stay longer, to stop and buy fuel, spend the night, eat at restaurants, and shop. The Audio Tour is yet another way to help Lexington brand itself as a destination for tourists and artists.

Visit the Lexington Tourism site for more information and to access mp3s of the audio tour.

For full details about the event, contact Lee Ann Woolery at wooleryl@missouri.edu or Lisa Overholser at overholserl@missouri.edu.


This event is co-sponsored by University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program, Missouri Humanities Council, St. Louis Storytelling Festival and the Missouri History Museum.