Event info

Date: April 22, 2016

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Audio walking and driving tours available at 5:15 p.m.)

Location: The LEX Civic Auditorium, 111 S. 11th St., Lexington, MO 64067

Cost: $25 per person (includes lunch and materials); $20 per person for five or more individuals from the same organization or community

Registration deadline: April 15, 2016 at 5 p.m.

Download and print the registration form (PDF).

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

Stories at the core: Creating heritage tourism initiatives

Registration deadline extended to April 15, 2016, for training in Lexington, MO

Join us for this all-day educational and technical training event to learn best practices and guidelines for developing and producing audio and digital cultural heritage tourism projects. You’ll learn how

  • Stories and storytelling are the foundation for heritage tourism initiatives;
  • To cultivate place-based narratives derived from history; and
  • To add digital storytelling to your heritage tourism projects.

Participants will explore the link between history, culture, art and economic development through the stories of Lexington community members who will share the process they used in creating the Legends of Lexington audio tour, and learn how the project has increased local tourism.


  • Lexington community members: Marsha Corbin, Liz Fenner and Abigail Tempel
  • Hughston Walkinshaw — Theatre professional, co-scriptwriter for audio tour and Lexington community member
  • Dan Cambridge — Co-scriptwriter for audio tour and former director of Lexington Tourism
  • William J. Lackey — Music engineer for audio tour and assistant teaching professor of Composition and Managing Director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative at the University of Missouri
  • Justin Pounds — Student music composition scholar at the University of Missouri School of Music
  • Milbre Burch — Professional storyteller and dramaturgical specialist
  • Katina Bitsicas — Professional videographer and digital storyteller, assistant teaching professor of Digital Storytelling Program at the University of Missouri
  • Gary Kremer — Executive Director for the State Historical Society of Missouri
  • Lee Ann Woolery and Gk Callahan — MU Extension Community Arts Program faculty

Sponsorship and registration

This event is co-sponsored by MU Extension Community Arts Program, Missouri Humanities Council, St. Louis Storytelling Festival and the LEX Civic Auditorium.

Registration deadline is April 15, 2016 at 5 p.m. Download and print the registration form (PDF).

Make checks payable to University of Missouri Extension. Mail checks and registration form to: 

MU Extension Community Arts Program
Attn: Lee Ann Woolery
University of Missouri                                                                                           
208 Gentry Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

For more information, contact Lee Ann Woolery at wooleryl@missouri.edu or via phone at 573-884-9025 or Gk Callahan at callahang@missouri.edu.

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, educators, theater directors, parks and recreation directors, or cultural affair directors.
  • Artisans, craftspeople, historians, architects, community activity coordinators and agri-business entrepreneurs.

The training is designed to expand the knowledge and skills in community leaders, organizations and agencies in the use of stories to engage and develop community and tourism potential as a way to address challenges of Missouri communities. Some of the unique challenges to rural communities, small towns and some urban neighborhoods include: relative geographic isolation, infrastructure limitations, inability to tap into community potential, and population flight. The 2013 National Assembly of State Arts Agencies noted 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.

Topics covered

  • How to organize and plan for a heritage tourism initiative with stories at the core.
  • The key ingredients for making your heritage tourism project a success.
  • What kind of community capacity is needed?
  • How to include community members in a participatory planning process.
  • How to assess your cultural, historic and artistic assets and determine how to utilize those assets to promote local economic development through heritage tourism.
  • The best practices for gathering and recording local stories.
  • How to keep the history true.
  • What makes a good story?
  • How to turn history into a good story.
  • How to take the story and develop it into a heritage tourism product.
  • How to incorporate music into your project.
  • How to include digital storytelling in your heritage tourism initiative.
  • How to fund your tourism initiative.
  • How to begin your action plan.

Tentative schedule

9 a.m. — Introductions and overview: How the Lexington audio project began, and how it developed as a collaborative project with University of Missouri and MU Extension

9:30 to 10:50 a.m. — Community members speaking on what it took to create this project

10 min. break

11 a.m. — Historian on collecting the history, culture and heritage of a community

Noon to 1 p.m. — Lunch provided. Networking session. Music provided by MU student Justin Pounds.

1 to 2 p.m. — Music engineer on collecting and engineering the audio ecology of place

2 to 3 p.m. — Storyteller on how to turn history into a story and tell it

15 min. break

3:15 to 4:45 p.m. — Digital storytelling: Creating the digital story for your heritage tourism initiative

4:45 to 5 p.m. — Evaluations, follow-up and question session

5:15 p.m. — Walking tour of Legends of Lexington.

Dinner on own in Lexington

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.