Essay: The Commodification of Authenticity for Historic Sites

The following essay was written by E. Emmons Hahn, in May 2012, for Professor Cheryl Finley’s seminar “The Art Market” at Cornell University.  All rights reserved.

This 31-page essay is, clearly, not in the format of a typical blog post, nor is it directly about the primary topic of this blog. However, the concepts and examples presented within are relevant to understanding what attracts people to certain historic sites and how site curators can draw upon those behaviors to increase their sites’ marketability.

The Commodification of History and the Value of Authenticity:

Forgeries, Heritage Tourism and Historic Reconstructions

The concept of authenticity is often vital to the marketing of historic objects and places, regardless of whether this process of marketing includes sale, touristic visits, or mere publicity. However, the meaning of authenticity can change drastically for different categories of marketable material history, as well as for the range of stakeholders and relevant audiences involved. Moreover, the varying criteria for defining “authenticity” can have noticeably distinct effects on the perceived value of such material history when the applicability of this concept is questioned.

A contrast clearly occurs between the category of artistic works whose historic associations augment their status and monetary value, on one hand, and that of historic sites used for tourism, on the other. Both categories must deal with debates over their authenticity and over what gives them value. Additionally, both objects and places that use historic narratives to affect their marketability or appeal often include components that have undergone restoration, replacement, or other changes over time – or that are completely modern innovations meant to imitate a historic source. Sometimes, these modern restorations or imitations are overtly acknowledged as being later additions to the site or object’s current form; often, however, these changes and creations are passed off as appropriately authentic either by omission or falsehood. As a result, sites and objects that incorporate a historical link into narratives of their significance often demonstrate similar characteristics that can affect evaluations of that link’s validity. However, the standards critics and consumers apply to historic places and historic objects when determining authenticity remain distinct in such a way as to give historic sites greater flexibility in handling processes of re-creation, imitation and restoration without completely losing perceived authenticity in contrast to historic objects like portable artworks. Indeed, when the promoted story connecting such art to a particular time proves to be inaccurate, that art becomes a forgery, irrevocably losing marketable value. In contrast, tourist attractions presented as historic sites can repeatedly adapt to shifting criteria for determining authenticity, even when some audiences may question decisions concerning the restoration or presentation of such sites as a result of perceived threats to the site’s authenticity, continuing to be quite marketable in spite of the resulting perceived gaps in the site’s historical accuracy.  Moreover, a great many cases demonstrate multiple sources for authenticity, some stronger than others, meaning that reductions in acceptable levels of perceivable genuineness in the presentation of one of these sources do not always pose a threat to the marketability of the site as a whole.  On the other hand, the majority of art objects, once they earn the label of “forgery,” cannot regain their previous status as valuably authentic objects, even though the criteria for determining their authenticity could simply readjust to reflect their true identity and history.

This discrepancy between the resiliency of historic sites’ marketable value versus that of historic artworks derives from the fundamentally different criteria affecting relevant definitions of authenticity.  At root, one of the most significant characteristics for determining the value of many types of art is the validity of its association with a certain set of historical conditions; that is, an innovative person or group, a particular time period or a specific cultural environment, any and all of which can effectively brand the art with recognizable traits and a meaningful context. For the kinds of art and other material objects that can potentially gain the label of “forgery,” such branded associations depend on the concept of authenticity of origin to impart potently marketable value. Historic sites, on the other hand, gain much of their marketability for attracting touristic audiences from a perceived authenticity of experience. The former’s “object related” mode of authenticity implies innate characteristics of “origin and trace,” imbedded in the object’s history due to its finite and specific interaction with the kinds of historical conditions mentioned above, whereas the latter promotes ”subject related” forms of authenticity that promise to evoke the experience of being in an identifiable time or place, surrounded by complex and subjective narratives often reliant on “emotional ties [or] identity construction” with known associations to that time or place.[1]

With particular attention to the ways in which notable examples of “historic” objects and sites have constructed or violated these definitions, examination of these two modes of defining authenticity highlights how crucial their distinction is for answering the question of why portable works of art with doubtable ties to their presumed histories can become “forgeries,” while tourist sites in a similar situation do not and, instead, simply adapt.  In many cases, touristic historic sites display several layers of authentic source materials or performative activities.  This means that, not only do they utilize the much more flexible and robust principles of subject-oriented authenticity, but they also effectively incorporate back-up defenses that permit them to remain appealing to certain kinds of consumer audiences.  In contrast, art works that rely significantly on narratives about the authenticity of their origins, rather than just the aesthetic experiences they evoke, to enhance their marketable value, lack the power to rebound or adapt when their authenticity is challenged.  The examples of van Meegeren’s twentieth century Vermeers, Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Rosslyn Chapel, Colonial Williamsburg and the Holy Land Experience serve to demonstrate several exemplary manifestations of these relationships between authenticity and the effective value of either art works or historic sites whose authenticity is questioned.

First, the term “authenticity” needs elaboration.  As this introduction has alluded, the concept of authenticity itself has no fixed definition, rather taking on malleable forms depending on the referent, the context and the audience.  The definitions that provides refer to the concept of relating to an original, reproducing essential features of an external referent, being real, actual, and neither false nor imitation,[2] while purports that the term’s etymology refers to “one acting on one’s own authority” and being “entitled to acceptance as factual.”[3] An important qualification for these meanings is the unanswered question of what allows something to deserve acceptance as factual, as real, as original, or, more specifically, how is the appropriate original to which something “authentic” must relate determined?  These questions clearly evoke the involvement of subjective standards and situation-specific definitions; despite this, regular patterns in the usage of the term can emerge.  Anthropologist Charles Lindholm has identified two of the most common – and often overlapping – standards by which people often distribute the label of “authentic:” “genealogical or historical (origin) and identity or correspondence (content).  Authentic objects, persons, and collectives are original, real, and pure; they are what they purport to be, their roots are known and verified, their essence and appearance are one.”[4]

This set of standards provides a useful summary of the connotations the term “authenticity” often carries for cases where innate origins in or traces of specific historical events contribute the historically based portion of an object’s value. Yet it fails to properly encompass examples of performative authenticity that rely primarily on the subjective experience of, for example, someone pursuing heritage tourism, and for whom the belief that a place sufficiently imitates or recalls a truly “authentic” experience can be enough to make that place “authentic“ in the manner defined by Lindholm.[5]  In cases like this, enactment of subject oriented authenticity can create the impression of object oriented authenticity. If this occurs at a historic site used for tourism, then it is possible that a visitor will be able to easily look past the modernity of restorations and re-creations, expanding on the historical narrative that the site’s presentation would evoke to interpret even recently constructed elements as part of the entire site’s innate, object based authenticity.  This potential process can build on the myriad of factors required to build and maintain a three-dimensional historic site as a museum that visitors can explore – and that lead to the experience of subject oriented authenticity. This means that no single element necessarily causes the effect of authenticity and that therefore such cases can remain fairly robust and flexible in the face of critiques concerning their authenticity.

In contrast, works whose narrative of historical significance relies on the acceptance and promotion of object based authenticity effectively have fewer criteria supporting their claims to an innate, historically founded identity. As such claims, when accepted, often increase the price of any given work by associating it with a known reputation, they serve as a form of branding, but one without the layers of reinforcement that accompany the branded historical experiences promoted by tourist sites.  Indeed, the invalidation of these claims quickly results in a significant loss of monetary value and therefore marketability.  This process inevitably occurs when a work of art earns the label of a “forgery,” a term with thorough connections to perceived deceit concerning the object’s fundamental identity and to a resultant loss of value.[6]

Like authenticity, the concept of forgery is ill-defined, due to the way in which it provides contrast to the similarly vague “notion of genuineness or authenticity… It is a negative concept implying the absence or negation of value.”[7] This assumed loss, at heart, derives from the removal or qualification of the branded name or story that occurs as a result of the rejection of the work’s previously promoted origin story and therefore its object-based standard for authenticity. Critics have often discussed forgeries’ removal from museums and their concurrent loss of monetary value in the context of a sudden reduction in the perceived aesthetic or technical value of the forged artwork. However, the assumption this involves – namely, that forgeries cannot possess the same degree of beauty, skilled technique or certain types of creativity as high-quality non-forgeries – is flawed.  Several famous examples of forgery, such as the paintings an early twentieth century artist named Han van Meegeren successfully passed off as genuine Vermeers, had often earned praise as masterpieces, prior to the exposure of their true artist. And indeed, van Meegeren’s technique in creating the paintings was sufficiently close to that of Vermeer himself that it fooled experts for several years. Still, the designation of “forgery” presumes a violation of authenticity in a way many would believe deservedly results in a lower valuation than before, regardless of any remarkable aesthetics or techniques; this is due to the premise that “because they misattribute origin, they misrepresent achievement.”[8] The fact that the practical definition of a forgery and its loss of monetary value upon discovery fundamentally derive from this misrepresentation of achievement supports the argument that the type of authenticity most relevant to a forged artwork is that based on the supposed significance of its origin and the connection to some specified part of history innate to the object.

Van Meegeren’s paintings, originally sold as genuine works painted by Vermeer, provide well-documented examples of the way in which forgeries navigate the potentially complex rhetoric concerning the valuation of art, while also demonstrating the way in which they all come back to perceived authenticity based on particular stories of origin and achievement.[9] Han van Meegeren (1889 – 1947) was a Dutch painter whose early works, publicized under his own name, gained modest attention in the 1910s with occasional recognition in The Hague Academy. In the mid-1920s, however, critics responded to his painting in an increasingly negative fashion, describing his technique as weak and his style, with his interests in Symbolism and seventeenth century Dutch Masters, as outdated. [10] As his art continued to lose favor with the Dutch artistic establishment, van Meegeren became disillusioned with modern art and modern criticism, publishing articles in a magazine known as De Kemphaan that degraded the early 20th century art world as decadent, heretical, dishonest and overly focused on financial gain.[11] Within this mindset, Van Meegeren began practicing imitations of Dutch Golden Age artists’ styles and techniques with the goal of creating works that he could sell under the names of artists such as Vermeer, Terborch, de Hoogh, Baburen and Hals. Throughout the 1920s, several respected art historians and critics positively “authenticated” Van Meegeren’s forgeries, although some were shortly thereafter relabeled as not genuine, such as a painting named The Laughing Cavalier, passed off as a Hals. During this process, the disgruntled artist gained significant skill in imitating the techniques of the seventeenth century masters and knowledge of how to bypass experts’ tests for authenticating the age and branded style of such paintings, leading up to his production of several “Vermeers.” [12] These paintings, emerging in the 1930s, became Van Meegeren’s most successful and controversial works. In particular, a 1937 Vermeer–style painting known as The Supper at Emmaus or The Disciples at Emmaus can serve as a prime example of the issues concerning the granting of authenticity and perceived value for art accompanied by “misrepresent[ations of] achievement.”[13]

Although few would now mistake Emmaus as the work of Vermeer, given the degree to which this painting has since been shown to diverge from the Golden Age master’s technical habits and subtle but consistent stylistic patterns,[14] even those of the early period to which the painting was initially ascribed, experts from 1937 to 1945 asserted its “authenticity” as originating from Vermeer’s own hand. Indeed, the prominent historian Abraham Bredius, among others, publicly praised Emmaus as Vermeer’s finest masterpiece, focusing on the aesthetic beauty he found in the bright colors and expressivity of the figures.[15]  These characteristics, along with quotations of details from previously known works by Vermeer, were held up as proof of Emmaus‘s right to be part of Vermeer’s oeuvre.[16] As a result, a group of wealthy Dutch collectors bought the painting for 520,000 guilders, which translates into approximately 2.5 million US dollars in 2002 rates.[17]

A major impetus for the purchase and its high cost was the rhetoric of van Meegeren’s unwitting dealer, Dr. G. A. Boon, who focused on the historical significance of Vermeer and therefore the painting’s role as a national treasure. [18] Similarly high values and publicity that centered on the paintings’ connection to the famous Dutch artist awaited van Meegeren’s later forgeries, with several going into museums. However, the invalidity of this association scandalously came to light when the Dutch government discovered in May 1945 that van Meegeren had sold one such “Vermeer,” The Adulteress, to the Nazi officer Hermann Goering in return for about 200 actual Dutch masterpieces stolen in the war, and soon after arrested him for collaborating with the Nazi enemy. In the ensuing trial, the forger confessed to falsifying the provenience and identity of his own paintings in order to promote them as more expensive historical artifacts and in order to mock the pretensions of the art world.[19] Moreover, it was only after the painting underwent extensive scientific testing and Van Meegeren painted a similar work in front of police witnesses that his confession was believed, much to the chagrin of the art historical experts who realized they had granted his other works the label of “authentic” instead of “forgery.” [20] At this point, those paintings of van Meegeren’s that had been displayed in museums and high-end collections were removed from the walls and placed in storage, deemed insufficiently worthy of the respect and recognition that had come with such display.

What was actually missing from these works, that art institutions would so reduce their value upon acknowledgment of the hand that had actually created them? Was it a change in assumptions about what their aesthetic value should be, if they were not made by Vermeer himself? Was it simply that they had deceived the experts in some fashion? Or was it tied to the particular type of deception van Meegeren and his paintings had enacted on the art world?

In his article “What is Wrong with a Forgery?,” Alfred Lessing has analyzed the history of the reception of Emmaus, determining that the outrage against and demotion of the painting’s status from masterpiece to fodder for backroom storage deeply relies on the answer to this last question being a resounding “yes.” This is in direct contrast to a common assumption that artistic forgeries never possess the aesthetic value of a “genuine” piece of art.[21] Although the separation of Emmaus from an origin story involving Vermeer has indeed freed up the painting for highly negative critiques of its beauty and technique,[22] it did continue to receive positive judgments in these regards for many years, with Dr. P.B. Coremans, Director of the Central Laboratory of the Belgian Museums and leader of the Commission dedicated to analyzing the authenticity of van Meegeren’s forgeries in 1946, testifying that the false Vermeers were “phenomenal,”[23] and critic J. Decoen adamantly maintaining that that no works of such beauty and skill could have been forged by the otherwise mediocre artist van Meegeren.[24]  As Lessing points out, Decoen’s pride in supporting these paintings’ status as “genuine Vermeers” based on aesthetic criteria could have been validly directed towards praising the aesthetics of the works regardless of their artist, even though the critic rejected such a premise.[25] However, the fact that a merely subjective standard, such as aesthetics, for determining total marketable value was insufficient to permit Van Meegeren’s paintings to retain their monetary value and displayable status in museums indicates that another factor beyond aesthetics was the prime force behind the demotion of Emmaus and the other falsified Vermeers.

However, many would still agree that Emmaus does not warrant the status previously granted to it when believed to be by Vermeer, despite any positive reactions one might have to the “beauty” of the visual characteristics innate to the piece.  The personal, subjective nature of aesthetic judgments makes such criteria experiential, reliant on the beholder, and therefore inadequate to confirm the previously presumed authenticity and worth of van Meegeren’s paintings.  Such a debate indicates that van Meegeren’s achievement in evoking Vermeer’s style and producing paintings many thought beautiful was insufficient to grant his works either authenticity or comparable value, so that when he lost the power to convince others of the Vermeer-linked historical origin of his paintings, his works’ monetary value dropped accordingly.

Instead, the reduction in value ascribed to these works, once associated with van Meegeren’s hand rather than Vermeer’s, directly derives from perceived dishonesty about their origin-related, object-based authenticity.   This leads us to the concept of deception and why the particular type of deception carried out by forgeries is so easily condemnable and deserving of a reduction in the value of the work.  In particular, the answer to this issue relies on the type of value-granting criteria that a forgery falsifies, rather than merely the fact that dishonesty and deceit are fundamental components of the act of forgery. In order to do this, it is important first to distinguish forgeries from other kinds of “inauthentic” arts, as this will highlight what qualifies something as a forgery.

These related categories can be divided into piracies, copies, and fakes or counterfeits.  Like forgeries, each of these involves deceit, theft or some type of imitation, but none incorporate misrepresentation of achievement to enhance their value to the same degree as forgeries. Pirated art involves the theft of either actual objects or the ideas – that is, intellectual property – of another person; this process incorporates deceit over ownership but rarely over any innate characteristics of the stolen properly.[26] Fakes and counterfeits imitate actual, authorized objects or identifying conditions of objects, usually being passed off as more valuable than their own inherent materials would allow. Copies, on the other hand, can be neutral imitations of an identifiable source, usually without an accompanying narrative that dishonestly indicates that the copy is as valuable as the original. These can be “authentic” as authorized copies or copies that acknowledge their status as imitations; the term can also refer to types of fakes or forgeries, which purport to actually be the source object rather than the imitation.[27] As a result, fakes and unauthorized copies incorporate deceit primarily in relation to their status as imitations. These categories of deceptive artworks do rely on false narratives about their innate characteristics, and therefore demonstrate a type of object based inauthenticity. However, not all fakes and copies can be considered forgeries, and vice versa. This is partly due to the premise that copies only ever imitate acts of original creativity, whereas forgeries can display some types of originality, as evidenced by van Meegeren’s never-before-seen image in Emmaus.[28]  Moreover, the term “fake” can refer to imitations of objects found in nature (fake flowers) or made by human hands (van Meegeren’s fake Vermeers), while “forgery” can refer only to the latter.[29]

But the most important trait that distinguishes forgeries from these other forms of deceptive art is the way in which the falsified story of identity and origin for forgeries emphasizes the achievement of the presumed creator or linked event, within the context of history. More specifically, this deceptive narrative has to not only focus on an unrepeatable achievement, but also to present the work at hand as being part of one that that is much greater than is honestly part of the work’s history.[30]   For example, a painting by de Hoogh whose marketing rhetoric says it is a Vermeer is deceptive but not a forgery, as the historical context, significance and degree of innovation between de Hoogh’s works and Vermeer’s are very similar, meaning that this inaccurate narrative neither results in a great difference in monetary value nor an undeserved claim to achievement.[31] On the other hand, there is no doubt that The Disciples at Emmaus by van Meegeren, sold under the premise that it was created by Vermeer, is a forgery. This contrast arises because a painting by de Hoogh has a comparably powerful brand based on the historical significance associated with it, whereas the defining trait of a van Meegeren – namely, that it originates from a twentieth century artist who did not participate in a groundbreaking art movement – lacks the marketable value of a historically based brand like that of the Golden Age Dutch masters. This is true despite any aesthetic or technical value placed on the forgeries of a “lesser” artist, for, as T.S. Eliot said: “‘certain things have been done once and for all and cannot be achieved again’… They can perhaps be done again, but they cannot be achieved again.”[32]  The location of a work of art within its accurate historical context and against the standard of how much it, its creator or the environment in which it was made has achieved is a critical component of determining value in art markets, and therefore a highly problematic arena for a work of art presented as having participated in a more significant context than it actual did, as forgeries seek to do.  As a result, when a forgery loses the credentials of association with an artist or creative environment that command respect for their achievements, it accordingly decreases in status and monetary value, and lacks other comparatively marketable forms of authenticity to prevent that reduction.

The principles of object-based authenticity, in which the object itself has come into direct contact with a crucial person, place or event in the story of its significance, can apply to myriad other types of authenticity-granting events besides the achievements of important historical figures.  Rather, their documentable and marketable story can be that they were created during a specific time period, or were present in a place where a major event occurred.  Such objects may carry a form of authenticity perceived as inherent in the object’s history that differs from that usually promoted by forgers: authenticity of trace.  Although direct interaction with a historically-significant person, such as being the product of a specific artist’s creativity, can potentially impart greater monetary value for art than can merely being in the presence of that person, stories about contact with such a person can also enhance the value of a work by placing it into a known historic context.  This kind of marketable narrative can occur in the promotions of forgeries, particularly when dealing with objects more likely to be considered historic artifacts than artworks.  However, it can also support the creation of marketable authenticity based on subjective experiences, where individual objects or architectural features from the past, perhaps not worth much on their own, construct the impression of a historically accurate or highly evocative total environment consisting of the combination of  many authentic or authentic-seeming material components in the form of buildings or artifacts.

Indeed, for many marketed historic sites, the concept of trace, as indicative of exposure to a valuable entity or event, forms the basis for assertions that the site possesses authenticity. This takes the form of curatorial emphasis on particular objects, components of buildings, or geographical locations on which significant events occurred or with which important historical figures interacted. The retelling or reenactment of these interactions creates a similar effect on the historic site as narratives of an innovative and known artist’s participation in an artwork do for a forgery, granting the site the authority that comes with a perceived authenticity of origins. For such sites to function as tourist destinations, though, they must integrate these traces of exposure to known points in history into a curated experience that includes restored, re-created or imitative components, as well as modern amenities and sources of narrative documentation such as descriptive plaques or tour-guides that would not have existed in the site’s “original” form. As a result, attempts to maintain the impression that the site still expresses its historically important characteristics soon require the creation of authentic-seeming experiences reliant on principles of subject oriented authenticity.  The practical exigencies of this process combined with the goals of many tourists to have entertaining or informative experiences allows these historic sites to include many details lacking in what might be considered a true authenticity of origins – without running the risk of significantly decreased marketability in the way that forgeries inevitably do.  Instead, performative interactions among visitors, actually historic objects or buildings, traces of historic significance in extent places or things, materials made to appear part of the historical environment, and curatorial narratives told by the site’s management all work together to create a robustly marketable, apparently-authentic experience for tourists.[33]

This conglomeration often results in a form of place-branding that intentionally stages the intersection between selected elements of the site’s presumed “identity” and attractive, easily publicizable images of the kind of experience tourists can gain from visiting the site.[34] Place-branding, a form of marketing strategy that can apply on any scale, from a single building to an entire country, functions in a similar manner to branding for other products, where particular aspects of the product are emphasized and presented positively, supported by attractive stories, appealing emotions, and inviting motivations for consumption. This process inevitably leaves out sections of the place’s history and cultural complexity, while inventing others to fit the presumed image of the authentic place.[35] In response to this, some “claim that tourism is the enemy of authenticity and cultural identity.”[36] The goals of marketable branding additionally present a challenge to the integrity of a site, in regards to the preservation and presentation of its history, in the form of affecting decisions about which point in the site’s history should serve as the dominant “period of significance.” This term refers to the epoch archaeologists may document in the most thorough fashion, to which preservationists seek to return a site’s buildings and landscape after years of continued use and change, or that curators and educators emphasize as the primary reason for the site becoming a museum or tourist destination.  All of these processes involve the selective loss of information in response to a particular narrative about what makes that place important. In effect, they therefore deceive the visiting public about what the passing of time has done to the site, whether this means removing structures built later than the period of significance, re-creating features that have been lost, exaggerating others, were avoiding less savory details. Unlike the deception about the origins of a work of art that accompanies a forgery, these deceptions can make the place more attractive to consumers, as they potentially simplify and strengthen the marketable brand of the place.[37]

In order to achieve this goal, the management of touristic historic sites must balance a range of practical needs and appeal to the desires of a variety of stakeholders – that is, different types of audiences with divergent biases as to what gives the site its true authenticity.  In some cases, the more that the site tries to hide its modern changes, additions or amenities and therefore appear “realistic,” the more it becomes obvious that the resultant simulacrum of a presumably real place and time is actually faked (such as in the hyperreality of certain parts of Disneyland), as these imitations can never be quite real enough.[38] This means that, in contrast to forgeries, partial acknowledgment of the staged nature of historic sites used for tourism can actually be more beneficial to their marketability.[39] In many other cases, however, the greatest issues concern which points in a site’s history should be given prominence and which should be left out in order to create the optimal authentic experience.   The variety of views on how these questions should be decided derives from the fundamentally subjective nature of experiences of authenticity, meaning that even when one group or individual views a management decision as producing an inauthentic effect, that same decision may satisfy another group’s criteria for determining a sufficient level of authenticity.

One example, among potentially thousands of historic sites that deal with this dynamic, can be found in the castles and dungeons of Cape Coast and Elmina, Ghana.[40] These sites are part of the tragic and contentious history of the West African slave trade, having served as prisons and ports leading to the Middle Passage and enslavement in North America. In modern-day Ghana, these complexes have become museums and memorials dedicated to presenting the local slave trade’s brutal past, in large part directing their curatorial rhetoric toward the interests of those whose ancestors left Africa enslaved and are now seeking out understanding of and reconciliation with the experiences of these ancestors.[41] Additionally, Cape Coast and Elmina are destinations for Ghanaians, and for members of other populations from elsewhere in Africa, as well as other international tourists. This fact results in multiple narratives of significance that visitors bring to their understanding of the castles and dungeons, as well as a variety of motivations for attending, from reclaiming cultural heritage to paying respects in memory of the suffering enslaved peoples experienced, regardless of who the visitor’s ancestors were, from a general interest in historically important places to appreciation of the architecture.

These different relationships visitors have to the history of Cape Coast and Elmina becomes easily visible throughout their interactions with these historic site museums, from multiple levels for the cost of entrance tickets depending on one’s country of citizenship to the kinds of comments visitors leave in a book designated for feedback at the end of the tour.[42] In turn, reactions to preservation and restoration decisions in the castles and dungeons seem to directly arise from the correspondingly varied images visitors have for the sites’ appropriate presentation and the future form of curation there. One example of this can be found in comments referencing preservative applications of fresh paint to the walls and bastions of the dungeons: “It is horrible to watch this dungeon being turned into a Walt Disney castle!” and “Stop white washing our history!”  These comments clearly reflect views that the authentic version of the sites lacks such upkeep, regardless of whether or not the walls in the castles’ period of significance as slaving centers were ever painted in this fashion.[43] This is often due to the view that “any attempt at restoring or refurbishing the castles amounts to historical whitewashing… [and that] the dank and wretched dungeons, with narrow crevices through which shackled slaves were pushed on the ships and stacked up like inanimate cargo, should be reverently kept [harsh and brutal] as memorials…”[44]

However, without such painting and renovation, the architectural structures of Cape Coast and Elmina’s castles and dungeons may fall into serious disrepair, meaning that those who desire to preserve the place for future generations of visitors and historians are likely to support such maintenance of the painted walls. [45]  As the nation of Ghana inscribed these complexes on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979, they have since become recognized as part of the cultural heritage of all mankind, as well as being promoted as tourist destinations on a global scale. [46] On behalf of the international community, local management of the museums is actually required to maintain a certain level of preservation of the sites’ structures in addition to promoting a presumably authentic version of their history, regardless of whether or not a large portion of their visitors consider the white paint an affront to the suffering once housed within those walls.  This is but one way in which the complex management of a historic site such as this must reconcile the practical concerns of demonstrating either the degradation that buildings experience over time, or a cleaned-up appearance that may or may not hearken back to an earlier point in the structures’ history – and all in response to conflicting views about what aspect of the buildings’ condition is most authentic or most important to preserve and present to the public.  Despite these issues, even the complaints about the painted walls indicate that there is some type of authenticity presumed to be inherent in the interactions visitors have between their history and the physicality of the place, with the paint only hiding the truth in the walls, not destroying it.

A such, the debate over how best to create an authentic version of the dungeons of Cape Coast and Elmina, however it might rile visitors upon the time of their writing in the comment book, does not detract significantly from the continued marketability of the sites.  Indeed, it is but one piece in a broader complex of presentation methods, many of which promote the sites’ abilities to express both inherently material traces of what once happened there (constructing object-based authenticity) and evocations of the socio-psychological experience of what it was like for those enslaved to be captive and then shipped off, as well as what it is like for members of the African diaspora to return to such a place as a destination for heritage tourism (lending extensive degrees of subject-based authenticity).  Like with works of art sold as artifacts of historically important acts, whether forged or not, the narrative of Cape Coast and Elmina’s connection to a period of significance serves as a driving factor in the sites’ consumer appeal and ability to continue to attract future visitors, but with greater resiliency in the face of minor threats to perceived authenticity than artworks relying on singular origins and finite moments of achievement, due to the power of the overall experience remaining marketable.

This is also true for the area in Cape Coast Castle dedicated to a museum, which is clearly not a functional space that would have occurred in the Castle’s early life. In contrast to other areas of the complex, where the buildings and some artifacts serve as their own exhibit, the overtly curated museum presents a mix of historical information and re-created environments evocative of what enslaved people would have seen and experienced. These spaces incorporate artifacts into rooms mimicking the hold of the ship, in a similar fashion to other historical museums in the United States and England dedicated to the history of slavery.  In the latter museums, such recreations serve to make the physical and emotional conditions of a slave ship more immediate and therefore more real to the average tourist. Here, however, these imitative exhibition spaces come off as more fabricated than realistic, “fail[ing] to have the same impact because the main attractions – the physical edifice of the castle and slave dungeons – are themselves so real and tangible that they need no theatrical accompaniments.  They provide the “authentic” experience.”[47] In this case, the installation of a total environment mimicking the “genuine” appearance of a structure from the Castle’s period of significance insufficiently conveys its own authenticity, and yet does not greatly detract from the apparent authenticity of the rest of the complex. Rather, the museum’s presentation of historical information and artifacts merely sets the stage for the more thorough experience that the rest of the complex creates, as they work together to build upon visitors’ interaction with the site’s account of what happened there and why this is important.

In this way, the curation, preservation, and recreation of the Castle’s story do not need to construct a perfectly authentic environment to remain appealing to visitors as an important place of heritage. As long as enough of the material evidence and historical narrative remain intact and accessible, appropriate publicity and visitors’ desires to witness these monumental signs of the tragedy that was the slave trade do the rest to continue making Cape Coast and Elmina Castles touristic destinations. Although there are numerous details in how the management of these castles and dungeons has commoditized their history that have led to reactive comments such as “don’t turn our memories into a tourist attraction,” these sites are indeed tourist attractions. “Memory itself becomes a commodity,” and it is this manipulation of memory, history and cultural identity that takes advantage of the principles of subject oriented authenticity to make these sites as marketable as they are.[48]

The role that tourists play in creating and enforcing particular interpretations of a place’s history, and therefore the most “genuine” parts of its identity, clearly manifests in the discourses that surround highly mediated locations. In the rehearsal of stories about what makes a site important, consumer visitors effectively construct the defining characteristics of that location’s standard of authenticity.  While the power of subjective value systems and narratives concerning what is significant about a place or object is also relevant to heritage sites like Cape Coast and Elmina or to artworks on the market, the presentation of some places is more immediately reliant on the expectations of visiting members of the public, needing to incorporate or react to some of the pre-formed images people bring with them when visiting historic or cultural sites.

One example of the effect that high degrees of performativity can have on the marketability and presentation of such a place can be found in the reception of Edinburgh’s Rosslyn Chapel, which must deal with fairly different interpretations of its authentic history as a result of its reputation being mediated on a wide scale by popular culture.[49] This Chapel, filled with an extensive amount of sculpture and complex iconography, had an average 10,000 visitors a year prior to 2003, when author Dan Brown featured it in the culmination of The Da Vinci Code. After the release of this novel, the annual number of visitors increased by several times, and exploded to 170,000 visitors in 2006, after the release of the film.[50] This boost in visitation numbers grew partly out of the publicity the book and film themselves gave to the Chapel, and partly out of the extensive marketing local tourism organizations produced incorporating Rosslyn Chapel into programs for foreign tourists. As part of this process, many visitors sought out this centuries-old building because of what they believed to be its connection with “Freemasonry, Knights Templar, paganism, spirituality, Grail Mystery, and Da Vinci Code,” according to the Rosslyn Chapel Trust manager.[51] Despite this, this Trust wants to continue presenting the Chapel through the lens of what they consider to be its authentic history. In the latter, the topics of the above list play no or little part, instead being imaginative impositions of Dan Brown’s that have actually created extensive problems for the preservation of the site, as there are approximately double the number of visitors a year in comparison to the optimal maximum for the site’s maintenance, many of whom come for the “wrong reasons.”[52] These tourists find themselves partially disappointed, for the real Chapel lacks some of the imagery and history invented by Brown, and tour-guides must handle the discrepancy between visitors’ expectations and the actual site. Regardless of the Trust’s efforts to communicate what they view as the genuine history of the Chapel, the things visitors look for, the questions they ask, and the comments they make in response to the building remain highly charged with the expectations they derived from Dan Brown’s story.

The authentic version of Rosslyn Chapel that many tourists see is a mixture of that supported by the official management and that mediated by the book and film.[53] Even though many may initially feel disappointment upon learning that the documented history of the site does not match the high expectations of symbolism and importance to secret societies Dan Brown created, this fact does not result in the Chapel completely losing its effective level of authenticity: it merely changes to reflect the documentable origins of the buildings in a way that authenticity narratives for forged objects can rarely do.  In fact, the rich history of site as the Rosslyn Chapel Trust promotes it remains surprisingly satisfying for many visitors, even when the significance of The Da Vinci Code’s narrative for the church is diminished.  Similarly, Brown’s story may become “inaccurate,” but it still affects the way in which people understand and appreciate the physical Chapel as the inspiration for the literary version.[54]  Unlike forged artwork, where are there is only one dominant form of authenticity relevant to determining worth, and unlike the Castles of Cape Coast and Elmina, where the overall site is considered predominately authentic despite individually inauthentic components, Rosslyn Chapel has multiple layers of authenticity that function simultaneously and that are dependent on the degree to which its observers place value upon the site’s documented history or on its image in symbolic status within The Da Vinci Code. Here, perceived authenticity is so much the product of subjective criteria and dependent on visitors’ experiences as they interact with the site that it would be difficult to make it unmarketably inauthentic: even when the easily marketable narrative that Dan Brown has given to the Chapel is challenged as inauthentic, the documented, long-term and fascinating history of this place, buttressed by the physical structure, creates another layer of authenticity underneath all the publicity.

But what about places that are entirely constructed in the modern day to imitate historic sites from either that location’s past or a distant location? These tourist destinations have the most resemblance to forgeries in architectural form, and yet are able to successfully promote a supposed authenticity of experience to the point of overcoming the total lack of authenticity of origin and trace. Some from among this type of site, such as Colonial Williamsburg, use actual historical data as the source for all these imitations, and proudly express this fact as part of the curatorial rhetoric, in order to promote the most “accurate” and “authentic” version of the site possible.[55] Others, like the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, are only loosely based on documented places and stories from real life.  The former of these utilizes its promoted semblance to documentable historical models as a guiding concept in its publicity and in managerial decisions about what to re-create and how, while trying to balance acknowledgment of the fact that Colonial Williamsburg can only ever be a modern recreation of a non-extant eighteenth-century place with details designed to evoke a total experience with clear connections to a believable past. This museum complex seeks to promote education and to appear realistic, simultaneously trying to avoid the potential campiness of Disney World.[56]  This approach constitutes a very common one throughout history-based tourist sites in America, with Williamsburg serving as a model reconstructed-history museum for those seeking to integrate archaeological finds or preserved buildings with re-enacted events or living conditions. In Williamsburg, the search for apparent accuracy on a sufficiently broad scale to create authentic experiences for visitors inevitably encounters numerous challenges to the way in which the staff achieves accurate-seeming mimicry and builds up an impression of authenticity.  By working at the intersection between imitative historical-style objects and buildings, on one hand, and stories or re-enactments, on the other, this museum complex must regularly negotiate questions concerning what details from the model area’s period of significance it should reproduce in order to best represent the relevant history in a marketable fashion.

Approaches to this issue have differed over the eight decades since reconstruction of the Revolutionary-period Virginian capital town began, with the initial project focusing on “visual authenticity” as compared to surviving buildings, drawings, maps, daguerreotypes, and descriptions in diaries, wills and insurance records.[57]  The continuing discovery of new information about what buildings, gardens and myriad objects looked like and how they were likely made during the eighteenth century has led to repeated adaptions, renovations or corrections, in order to better represent a historically authentic version of the town.  This is important for maintaining Williamsburg’s reputation as a credible institution that bases its teachings about history on documentable facts, as researchers and managers are proud to admit.[58]  However, it is not just the museum’s goal to appear accurate for official publicity’s sake that drives this behavior: knowledgeable, observant or merely curious visitors have the tendency to question materials, techniques, patterns of wear over time, anachronistic designs or landscaping habits that appear out of place with the eighteenth century Virginian environment.  Museum staff members often strive to guard against these potentially noticeable mistakes, as they fear that when one small part of the overall construction seems inaccurately curated or constructed, visitors may begin to question the authenticity of everything, presuming that this is an intentionally biased or perhaps just lazy version of the period of significance.[59]  This threat to the whole structure’s efficacy grows from the fact that visitors know that this place will never actually be eighteenth century Virginia, and therefore that the genuine-seeming character of everything is potentially suspect as merely the best twentieth century staff could create.  Research staff therefore tend to make a show of going out of the way – albeit often with honest passion – to correct the mistakes, and letting the visitor who remarked on it know that it will be corrected, while acknowledging that the museum is run by fallible human beings.  In order to keep the illusion of stepping back in time the dominant experience for visitors willing to take the trip, Colonial Williamsburg’s curation requires both admission of potential errors and great attention to correcting details according to documentable history.[60]  As everything here runs the risk of interpretation as forgeries, due to the total lack of truly object-based authenticity (in regards to the specific origins and traces of achievement or interactions with historical personages that these recreated objects and buildings can claim), the sense of an authentic experience overall is paramount to the success of Colonial Williamsburg as a historic site museum and profitable tourist destination.

The reconstructed town’s ability to create this effect does not rely only on visitors’ perceptions that the objects and architecture themselves are accurate simulacra, but rather also on the social and political spins built up by the interpretive narratives used by the site. These have needed to shift over the years, in response to different values placed on how visitors should learn about what parts of American history.  There have indeed been times when the history Williamsburg presented was partly politically biased, as some skeptics of the site feared, with the early decades of the Cold War leading to a focus on patriotism, and the decades since reacting to varying degrees to post-1960s emphases on the social issues and less-perfect standards of living that non-elites inevitably experience.[61]  The latter phase has primarily seen the Williamsburg staff striving to negotiate a less sanitized version of the site’s history, literally and figuratively, as brought to life by the re-enactment staff and the related signs of use and activity around the grounds: dirtying up the grounds and buildings, not cleaning up after animals as often, and, most importantly, including more discourse about the lives of the less-wealthy and minority groups.[62]  The complex project of depicting presumably authentic social histories remains challenging, as there is inevitably some group or issue that is under represented, excised or exaggerated, particularly with the shifting values and biases that come with the passing of time.[63]

In a similar fashion to more physically extant historic sites that struggle with how to bring past events and people back to life for the sake of education and authenticity, such as the Castles and Dungeons of Cape Coast and Elmina, Colonial Williamsburg seeks to use as much material and narrative detail as possible to animate the significance and stories of the history they represent, while simultaneously needing to not appear too fake or contrived.  Although many offer critiques, some positive,[64] some negative,[65] over how Williamsburg handles changing ideas of what constitutes a sufficient degree of authentic lifestyles and material surroundings throughout the site, the resultant dialogues all revolve around the same concept: That it is a sense of overall authenticity throughout visitors’ experiences of Colonial Williamsburg that enables the site to function effectively, regardless of how much one person’s criteria for this success differs from another.  But unlike Rosslyn Chapel and heritage tourism sites, where the physical history speaks for itself even when curatorial narratives hamper or help, Williamsburg instead needs actively to avoid appearing too much like a forgery or place lacking in any object-based sources of authenticity.  It strives for convincing realism in mimicry of the techniques that the above-mentioned comparanda use, mixing narrative with physical evidence.  This is a challenging line to walk, but still one that brings the museum along a successful path where authentic experiences can be created in the minds of visitors who interact with the material objects, explorable grounds and in-character staff.

In contrast to the above examples, all of which try to present as many layers of authenticity as possible, the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida utilizes principles of subject-based authenticity in relation to a very specific target audience to an almost exclusive level.[66]  The type of audience to which the Holy Land Experience appeals makes this a viable marketing strategy, as one of their shared goals is the creation of a pilgrimage-like experience on American soil, where what grants the impression of authority and value-granting authenticity is the internalized significance of symbolic places and installations, whether or not the material space or selective narrative of the Holy Land Experience actually has multiply documentable origins in and connections to the relevant historical events.

Indeed, this site functions more as a selectively-targeted theme park, focused on attracting particular groups within conservative, Protestant Christian American communities, and relies on the values of this targeted audience to activate the historical symbolism of select sites in biblical history that have been reconstructed in Florida.[67] This place is the most artificial and imagination-based of all the examples in this paper, as well as the most obviously reliant on principles of subject-oriented authenticity to create experiences appealing to the appropriate type of touristic audience. This is due to the great distance between Florida and the area of the Middle East known as the Holy Land, and due to the fact that its buildings and actors represent a version of this region often not completely supported by archaeological evidence – in opposition to Colonial Williamsburg, which is physically proximate to the location of its model and intentionally depends on documentable material for its recreations.  Specifically, the “set” of the Holy Land Experience has excised locations that in the Middle Eastern model are more significant to Jews or Muslims than they are to Christians,[68] as well as selecting rather controversial interpretations of some archaeological finds because they might better appeal to the sects of American Protestant Christianity most likely to visit.[69]  The management of the Holy Land Experience defends these decisions as based on biblical sources, rather than archaeological, again appealing to the criteria by which their likely customers may judge the site’s authority and effective authenticity.[70]

For audiences for whom the sensation of pilgrimage to their most valued parts of the biblical Holy Land is enough to bypass the clearly constructed nature of this theme park, the impression of an authentic experience serves as an appropriately successful marketing tool.[71] Here, the fact that the Holy Land Experience is not actually in the Middle East indeed appeals to many of its visitors, who have commented on how they appreciate the fact that this version lacks the danger, cost or unsanitary conditions with which they might deal in the original location. Moreover, these visitors do not have to interact with the Jews and Muslims currently residing in the Middle East.[72] As such, the creation of a selective experience that embodies the most desirable aspects of the Holy Land provides the most effective marketing approach for this particular kind of environment.

This case demonstrates most overtly the role that specific audiences have in determining the effective marketable value of a place or object that depends on its connection to history for that value.  Travelers seeking to visit the physical remains of an event in order to connect with the stories, people, achievements, etc. that interacted with that place and gave it significance would likely find the Holy Land Experience highly dissatisfying as anything more than a possibly entertaining curiosity.  Instead, such individuals seek out sites in which their own expectations, identities and interpretive narratives allow them to connect the subjective side of their experiences with the material evidence left from the relevant point in history.  For the Holy Land Experience theme park, the effect of authenticity relies almost entirely on the stories that visitors and staff bring to their performance of the site, meaning that this place functions as a relatively pure example of how subject-based authenticity can create marketability and therefore appeal for a certain type of consumer audience.

At a less extreme end of the spectrum, the institution of Colonial Williamsburg promotes the idea that it closely mimics a great many elements of a specific, well-documented time and place.  This permits the latter to strive for a balance between the use of these physically expressive copies of architecture and objects, on one hand, and interactive behaviors, stories and activities that build on the material environment, on the other, to create an overall experience of authenticity.  This process incorporates the highly performative approach that the Holy Land Experience applies to its largely invented and fairly theatrical “set” of biblical locations, while seeking to appear closer in methodology and validity to clearly historically-derived sites similar to Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, such as any of a great number of places around the world that link historical events, material remains and narratives of heritage to produce marketable tourist destinations.  Even these latter, however, depend on the success of overall impressions of authenticity that arise from a combination of physical objects or buildings and stories visitors and staff tell about why those material remains retain their importance.  And in a fashion similar to that of the Holy Land Experience, all of these historic sites with strong links to the documentable past function in particular as a result of attracting certain types of targetable audiences: people with an interest in early American history who desire exposure to the complex reproduction Williamsburg can provide, or people seeking out a connection with or understanding of the heritage of their own culture or that of the whole human race.  For these latter categories, the relationship between specific audiences and the ability of the site to create an appropriately authentic-seeming experience – and therefore continue being marketable – is perhaps more subtle than at the Holy Land Experience, but it exists nonetheless.

Each of these sites – Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Rosslyn Chapel, Colonial Williamsburg and the Holy Land Experience – demonstrates the effect that the successful creation of authentic-seeming experiences can have on the marketability of history.  In an age of increasing tourism, experiences become commodities, and the evocation of visiting a place and time with connections to moving or intriguing stories from human history becomes a powerful technique for turning historic places and objects into marketable commodities.[73]  This requires the active involvement of visitors, by means of the expectations, identity stories, presumptions about significance, desires for certain types of experiences, and willingness to “take the trip” presented by the site.  Moreover, the criteria by which visitors judge the appeal of such a destination can vary greatly among different types of audiences.  However, a common pattern is that successful sites utilizing their connection to history as an attraction not only promote the authenticity of their location’s material and narrative exhibits, but do so in a way that provides a sense of predominantly authentic experiences as defined by the relevant target audiences.

This process can involve multiple sources for potential authenticity, some of which may be more convincing or robust than others – such as the conflicting narratives over the symbolic significance of Rosslyn Chapel, or the dialogue between the insufficiently authentic installation of the slave ship at Cape Coast Castle’s museum and the physical structure of the Castle itself, even though the former included detailed information and artifacts, and the latter remained mostly unfurnished with objects or re-enactments from the period of significance.  Indeed, the construction of authentic-seeming experiences can also arise in places with disparate relationships to actual material history, with the slaving Castles and Rosslyn Chapel taking place in the physical remains of the stories they tell, while the set of the Holy Land Experience is almost-completely separated from documentable material culture but remains marketable to those seeking a symbolically authentic experience.  Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, Colonial Williamsburg builds up its publicizable authenticity through apparently accurate mimicry of objects, buildings and social environments; this creates the impression of authenticity of trace to such an extent that it in turn permits the foundation of a fragile but complex system of authentic-seeming experiences, brought to life through re-enactments.  Even though each of these examples uses different types of sources for authenticity, and varying patterns of how those sources interact, they all demonstrate the extent to which narratives and audiences’ values work with the material environment of historically-based tourist sites to create highly marketable authentic-seeming experiences.

This occurs even when these sites have components to their narratives, curatorial programs, preservation decisions or even the accuracy or dating of the entire site’s source material that some will view as insufficiently authentic.  Retouching of buildings, retellings of the story of why a site is historically important, anachronisms in recreations and highly selective imitations of questionable source material: these factors could all threaten the perceived authenticity of a site, and for some audience members, they undoubtedly do.  However, other factors simultaneously contribute to the overall authenticity of these sites, according to certain standards, and therefore they remain marketable to particular audiences, even with components declared inauthentic. This all derives from criteria for authenticity that are dependent on visitors’ interactions with the site, that is, subject-based authenticity.  As a result, these sites do not lose a significant portion of their future or returning consumers, and continue to be able to use what authenticity they do have as a highly marketable tool.

In contrast, portable works that exist in isolation from a historically-oriented context like these sites run the risk of losing significant value and status when their proclaimed authenticity is challenged.  This is because the value given to their claim on authenticity does not include much respect given to the object’s power to simply evoke a time period, person, event or other symbolic narrative, as is sufficient for more complex sites.  The consumers who are most relevant for the promotion and valuation of such works are often seeking a particular type of authenticity, that of origins in a context of achievement, something inherent to the work itself, whether through trace exposure or, more valuably, through direct contact.  It is this premise that leads forgeries – works with falsifiable claims to such criteria for authenticity – to lose monetary value and historically-based status to such a high degree, regardless of the forgeries’ aesthetic or evocative value.  This process does rely on theoretically flexible criteria for determining authenticity, similarly to historic sites, as it is people’s expectations that determine the standard to which such artworks are held.  Despite this, invalidation of the initial definition of such objects’ authenticity does not allow for the kind of reinforced authenticity that historic sites can construct.  When consumers perceive authenticity as something inherent and innate to the product, as in a work of art whose marketing declares it to be from the hand of a famous artist, the value such object-based authenticity gives to that work becomes fragile, and can easily collapse.  This is the fundamental distinction between why such artworks, if the physical evidence does not fully agree with their narrative of significance, earn the value-reducing label of “forgery,” while historic sites, in all forms, can rely on the greater complexity and flexible subjectivity of their own stories of authenticity to survive similar challenges and remain successfully “authentic.”

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Chusid, Jeffrey. Lecture on ‘Heritage Tourism and the Commodification of Culture’ for course “Perspectives on Preservation” Ithaca, NY, (October 25, 2011).

Colonial Williamsburg. 2012. (accessed May 9, 2012).

Crick, Malcolm. “Representations of International Tourism in the Social Sciences: Sun, Sex, Sights, Savings and Servility.” In The Sociology of Tourism: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, edited by Stella Leivadi and Andrew Yiannakis Yiorgos Apostolopoulos, 15-50. New York: Routledge, 1996.

cwpost51. YouTube: Elmina Slave Castle. January 18, 2009. (accessed May 8, 2012).

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Dutton, Dennis. “Authenticity in Art.” In The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, edited by Jerrold Levinson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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Gable, Eric and Richard Handler. “After Authenticity at an American Heritage Site.” American Anthropologist (Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association) Vol. 98, No. 3 (September 1996): 568-578.

Gable, Eric and Richard Handler. “Deep Dirt: Messing Up the Past at Colonial Williamsburg.” In Marketing Heritage: Archaeology and the Consumption of the Past, edited by Yorke Rowan and Uzi Baram, 167-182. New York: Altamira, 2004.

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Lindholm, Charles. Culture and Authenticity. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 2008.

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[1] Knudsen 2010, 1.

[2] Merriam Webster 2012.

[3] Harper 2012.

[4] Lindholm 2008, 2.

[5] Knudsen 2010, 13.

[6] Lessing 1983, 58.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Dutton 1983, 181.

[9] Van Meegeren’s Fake Vermeers.

[10] Werness 1983, 1–11.

[11] Ibid., 16.

[12] Ibid., 18–20.

[13] Dutton 1983, 181.

[14] Werness 1983, 35.

[15]Werness 1983, 31.

[16] Werness 1983, 32.

[17] Dutton 2003.

[18] Werness 1983, 37.

[19] Haywood 1987, 116–117.

[20] Lessing 1983, 60–61.

[21] Ibid., 58.

[22] Werness 1983, 35.

[23] Ibid., 46.

[24] Lessing 1983, 61.

[25] Ibid., 62.

[26] Margolis 1983, 161.

[27] Margolis 1983, 167.

[28] Meiland 1983, 123.

[29] Ibid., 167.

[30] Dutton 1983, 181.

[31] Lessing 1983, 65.

[32] Quoted in Meyer 1983, 82.  Originally from T.S. Eliot, Notes Toward the Definition of Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949), p. 118.

[33] Knudsen 2010, 10-13 and Jensen 2010, 214.

[34] Gran 2010, 23.

[35] Ooi 2010, 68-69.

[36] Crick 1996, 40.

[37] Chusid 2011.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Gable 1996, 572-573.

[40] cwpost51 2009.

[41] Finley 2001, Part I.

[42] Ibid., Parts II and III.

[43] Ibid., Part III.

[44] Schildkrout 1996, 2.

[45] Finley 2001, Part III.

[46] UNESCO World Heritage List: Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions.

[47] Finley 2001, Part I.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Rosslyn Chapel 2012.

[50] Mansson 2010, 171-172.

[51] Ibid., 172.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid., 173-180.

[54] Ibid., 175-178.

[55] Colonial Williamsburg 2012.

[56] Gable 1996, 570.

[57] Gable 2004, 169.

[58] Gable 1996, 571.

[59] Gable 1996, 572.

[60] Ibid., 571-573.

[61] Ibid., 569.

[62] Gable 2004.

[63] Ibid., 173.

[64] Gable 1996, 573 and Gable 2004, 178.

[65] Gable 2004, 179 and Kohl 2004, 297.

[66] The Holy Land Experience 2012.

[67] Rowan 2004, 249, 260.

[68] Ibid., 254, 261.

[69] Ibid., 254.

[70] Ibid., 262.

[71] Ibid., 262-263.

[72] Ibid., 260, 262.

[73] Rowan 2004, 6.

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