Do you like to do research on people and places in history? Do you excel at taking careful detailed notes and records? Every city, be it large or small has an interesting history, starting with stories of the people who first immigrated and settled the area and ending in recent events. Usually a city’s original settlers were of a specific ethnic group as many immigrants settled with people who originated in the same country as themselves. You will research the history of a city’s immigrants and lead tours to show people who are interested in history and their ancestors how these people came to travel to the area and why they settled here.
You could conduct a walking tour or you could buy a large van or bus to drive people to each historic spot on your historical tour. Each tour should feature several points of interest along with the stories connected to those places. The tours should last between 45 minutes and two hours. People rarely have the attention span to pay attention for longer than two hours. You can charge around per person.
Your thoroughly researched tour will appeal to locals and tourists alike. People who live in, or are from, the city whose history you are showing will glow with town pride as they visit places where they or their ancestors may have lived, worked, and raised their children.
When researching your immigration tour, be sure to take advantage of any research that has already been conducted. Most cities and small towns have some sort of museum featuring photos and stories from the past explaining the history of their locality. (You may even want to conclude your immigration history tour at one of these museums as these places usually have lots of historical photos and reading materials for further research.) Pay especially close attention and take careful notes on any of the personal stories that are available in print (and sometimes in video or other recorded media) at these museums. Pick the brain of the museum curator or head librarian. Prepare questions ahead of time to ask them so that you do not overlook any facet of their immigration story. Likely, a town’s museum curator will be more than willing to relate many hours of anecdotes and tall tales supposedly lived by their ancestors and neighbors. In most cases, even the smallest town museums will have the history in some sort of printed form, even if it is just in the form of a pamphlet or brochure. Usually they will also have genealogy books about the more famous or wealthy families in town available as reference material in the town library.
Also, be sure to take advantage of back issues of newspapers housed in the library. Be sure to include in your research the stories that only the older people in a town often remember. Walking around and talking to older people, who are also usually more than willing to relate their memories of the colorful personalities of people and places long gone by, will help you flush out your stories even more. Use all the resources available to you so that you will be able to relate personal details of the people whose destinies brought them to this city or town and whose lives were spent making this place home. The more details that you are able to include, the more real the people who came to that place will seem, for both to you and the people who take your tour.
You should also include in your tour, stops that illustrate how much the land and roads have changed since those first immigrants arrived. Provide large photographs or posters or just describe in vivid detail what the locations would have looked like to the first people to see it. Where did they grow their crops? Were there bodies of water nearby that were used to wash clothes or where mills were built to grind grain?
In addition to creating a website to advertise your immigration history tour, you can also advertise information about your tour in the local chamber of congress, town hall, or community center.
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