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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Heritage Tourism alert

Heritage tourism alert: I don't know how many visitors this place will draw - probably not more than a couple dozen a week, give or take a few busloads of bored 5th graders. Not too many people are all that interested in Susan B. Anthony or the 19th cenutry sufferage movement. But more importantly, this strikes me as a perfect example of faux history: Anthony only lived in the house for 7 years, and she did so as a teenager. It's not like important meetings took place there. It's a childhood home.

Now, don't get me wrong, if a private group wants to turn the place into a museum, I'm all for it. I like history and you might even catch me taking the 40 minute drive up to Battenville to check it out. But I don't think I could/can justify spending public money on this type of thing - there's just too much real history and too few tax dollars for it already. We don't need to underwrite faux history. Now, that's not the case here - this is a private project - but I can only assume that this is the type of project that supporters of heritage tourism in Albany would like to infuse with public money. It's not worth it.

This is partially because some good historical structures already exist. If you're interested in SBA or the sufferage movement more generally, there's a great public women's rights national historic park dedicated to SBA, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others. It's located in Seneca Falls, about 40 minutes past Syracuse. Also, there is already a house in Rochester dedicated to the life and work of SBA. And she lived there during the most politically active period of her life.

P.S.: Another interesting museum that is set to open. Partially funded with public money, but predicted to gross $1.5 million / year in admission fees...

P.P.S: Apparently, New York State is now ranked fourth in percentage of workforce employed in tourism-related jobs. No word on what percentage of those jobs are SmAlbany heritage tourism...
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