Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Carter Hudgins

Committee Member

Frances H. Ford

Abstract

In an era of budget tightening for the National Park Service, are Mission 66 Visitor Centers – which are now becoming eligible for entry into the National Register of Historic Places – still viable functionally and economically, or have they become too much of a fiscal liability keeping them in working order all in the name of retaining historic integrity? This thesis is a case study comparison of two Mission 66 Visitor Centers from the years 1994 to 2016 in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region. One Visitor Center that has retained its historic integrity (Fort Pulaski), while the other was a Mission 66 Visitor that has lost its historic integrity due to renovations (Timucuan). Sourcing archival documentation, comparisons between both visitor centers were made to determine if a Mission 66 Visitor Center can retain historic integrity and still effectively fulfill its intended purpose of providing visitor services, while still not being an undue burden on the financial resources of the park. Examination is made of renovation type and purpose (repair or upgrade), and cost/benefit calculations are determined based on expenses in relation to visitations. Additionally, visitor opinions on the visitor centers were analyzed to determine if there were any changes in public opinion before, during, and after renovations. The result of this study finds that on a per visitor basis, a Mission 66 Visitor Center can retain historic integrity, while being superior or on-par across all metrics analyzed, with a non-historic Visitor Center.

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