“Make this holiday historic!

The 2012 holiday campaign for history organizations and historic sites


Increase attendance at historic sites and at the programs put on by history organizations.

“Make this holiday historic!” overview
• Goal: Increase awareness and ultimately attendance at historic sites and at programs from history organizations over the holidays. • Time period covered: December 1, 2012 – January 1, 2013 • How it worked
– Any organization can list their events. – Organizations added “2012 holidays” as one of the tags when they entered their event. – 33 events were featured, one per day, on an interactive calendar. – Every calendar square linked to more information about that event and to all of the events of all types on that day.

“Make this holiday historic!” overview
– Each list their holiday events.More than 100 events listed.

• 33 featured on interactive holiday calendar. • Add “2013 Holidays” tag when entering events for 2013 • Deadline: October 1, 2013

Campaign elements

Web badges for participating organizations

The interactive calendar of featured events with an example of the way an event appears when the user places their mouse in the date square

A listing on the main listing page, showing in the holiday event icon

On social media
On the Facebook page of an organization whose event was featured (bottom) and on the app page (middle) and on our page (top)

The interactive calendar of featured events with an example of the way an event appears when the user places their mouse in the date square

A listing on the main listing page, showing in the holiday event icon

The campaign

Launched in late November

The campaign

Events were added until dates were filled in.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Because the goal was to raise awareness broadly, we chose a wide variety of events, all with a tie to history, including historic sites, museums, and organizations: From Maine to California Organizations ranging in age from 20 years old to 200+ years old Private and public, from small, local organizations to statewide or spanning several states From expensive to free to pay-what-you-can For kids and families, or just adults From the momentous and world-changing to the delightful and trivial Including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War Loud and boisterous to quiet and contemplative Outdoors and indoors, from walks to lectures to concerts to celebrations Castles and forts, ranches, houses, and mansions Well-known and centuries old, to just a few years old and just getting established One-time-only to every day of the month

• The goal wasn't necessarily to pick the "best of" a particular type of event or the best event in the country taking place that day, but to highlight a wide variety in order to raise awareness of the many great historic sites, museums, and organizations across the country and draw new attendees, fans, volunteers, members, and donors. • And while every event had a clear tie to history, some, notably the Boston Tea Party and Washington's Crossing reenactments, didn't have a holiday theme per se, but took place during December.

Featured events
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • December 1: Indiana Author Fair (Indianapolis) December 2: “Reporting the Revolutionary War” author lecture (Boston) December 3: Hayes Train Special Display (Fremont, OH) December 4: Fantasyland with Santa (Roanoke, WV) December 5: A Victorian Christmas (St. Paul) December 6: Historic Libations annual party (San Francisco) December 7: Holiday Whiskey Tasting (York, ME) December 8: A Civil War Christmas (Frankfort, KY) December 9: Russian Holiday Dinner (Eagle, WI) December 10: Christmas Eve at the Byers-Evans House (Denver) December 11: Brucemore Holiday Mansion Tours (Cedar Rapids, IA) December 12: Holiday Decorations at the Pawnee Bill Ranch (Pawnee, OK) December 13: Wisconsin Historical Museum Society Annual Sale (Madison) December 14: Christmas by Candlelight (Sturbridge, MA) December 15: Christmas Candlelight Grand Masquerade (New Bern, NC)

Featured events
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • December 16: Boston Tea Party reenactment (Boston) December 17: Guided Holiday House Tours (Portsmouth, NH) December 18: The Sound of Christmas concert (San Antonio) December 19: Riverfront Holiday House (Fort Myers) December 20: Christmas by Candlelight (Old Salem, NC) December 21: “At Christmas be mery” (Historic Jamestowne, VA) December 22: The Castle by Candlelight (Youngstown, NY) December 23: Christmas at the Newport Mansions (Newport, RI) December 24: Holiday Lights at Clifton Mill (Clifton, OH) December 25: Washington’s Christmas Crossing reenactment (Washington Crossing, PA) December 26: “A Toy Shop Window” (Freeport, NJ) December 27: Holiday Lantern Tour Newport (Newport, RI) December 28: “It’s a Wonderful Life” screening with an introduction (New York) December 29: Commemoration of USS Constitution vs. HMS Java (Boston) December 30: Holidays at the Heard (Phoenix) December 31: First Night at Otis House (Boston) December 31 / January 1: Freedom’s Eve (Washington) January 1: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (Boston)

“The History List is quickly becoming a pioneer on the web for historical institutions.”
“Everything we are looking to share with the public is at our finger tips, easy to use, and well thought out.”
Jodie McMenamin Development Officer USS Constitution Museum

Overarching goal

Create broader, deeper understanding of history, by increasing awareness of historic sites and organizations, events, and exhibits.

We know . . .

Coming face to face with history is compelling, eye-opening, moving, rewarding, fascinating.

We believe . . .

More people would attend events if they knew about them.

“The Massachusetts Historical Society offers most more than 100 public programs and events each year. What makes The History List different is its targeted approach. “It is an easy-to-use online resource that connects history enthusiasts to history-related events and programs.”
Carol Knauff Assistant Director of Development for Communications Massachusetts Historical Society

Our observation

Existing means for reaching beyond an organization’s base aren’t enough.

E-mail to other organizations

142 e-mail recipients for a notice of an event in Boston tied to the Civil War.  This announcement of an event in Boston went to 142 recipients  How many of these e-mail addresses are still active?  How many of the recipients forwarded it on to their organization’s members?

Traditional media outlets are reducing listings.

Expensive, difficult to stand out in city travel media.

Existing sites don’t work well for many of our events.
An ad for a national chain

Are there really 1,796 history events in the area? How do I sort through them?

Ad for shoes and handbags?

Listings for local McDonald’s restaurants in a search for “history?”

Tickets to events that have nothing to do with my search?

“Each year Historic New England presents hundreds of public events and programs at dozens of sites in five states. Unlike other event-listing websites, by focusing exclusively on history, The History List connects our events to a highly targeted audience and helps that audience understand the full range of our offerings.”
Rob Watson Marketing Manager Historic New England

Building The History List
Meetings and development of prototype

Closed trial ALHFAM New England Regional Meeting (Bristol, RI)

Opened to all OAH/NCPH National Conference (Milwaukee)

Frankfort, Kentucky AASLH National Conference (Salt Lake City) New England Museum Assoc. Conf. (VT) NPS meeting(Boston)

“Make this holiday historic!” campaign Des Moines, Iowa

Event page

Social sharing, add-tocalendar, and an embeddable widget are automatically included

Hours, fees, wheelchair access, and suitability for small children are easy to scan Extensive information about the event, including nearly unlimited text and pictures Map included automatically

Questions, comments, and recommendations from users

Links to organization page and sources for more information

Tags, from the organizer or others, help people find this event Names and dates for event entry and edits

Organization page

An embeddable widget is automatically included

Extensive information about the organization, including nearly unlimited text and pictures

For organizations, museums, and sites that are open for tours and visits, hours, fees, wheelchair access, and suitability for small children are included and easy to scan
Map included automatically Organization phone number, website, and e-mail address

Questions, comments, and recommendations from users

Links to events that are coming up as well as past events are included automatically Names and dates for all entry and edits

Promoting your organization and events on The History List

Managing events on your own site: Full descriptions with several events per page

Managing events on your own site: Scrolling list with key information and links to the full description on The History List

Making automatically-updated calendars available to partner sites and supporters

On partner sites, linking to their page on The History List In partner newsletter or other publication

The History List scope

Events and exhibits, sites and organizations
Historical societies Preservation societies Historical commissions Historic sites Reenactor groups Tour providers Professional history-related associations Genealogical organizations History and living history museums Meetings of history and historic preservation practioners . . . and others

The History List
o Participating organizations include . . .
The Massachusetts Historical Society Historic New England The Freedom Trail Foundation Brucemore Tryone Palace The USS Constitution Museum Heritage Square Old Sturbridge Village

The History List
o o Getting started
Log in with Facebook or request an account

Enter your information
Any staff member, intern, or volunteer can enter or edit Enter your events and activities, including text and pictures Complete the information about your organization, site, or museum Add the Member logo to your site and newsletter

The History List Continuing Development
Functionality Seasonal hours and holiday hours Distance to travel Social tools Outreach State organizations National associations Civil War organizations Consumer-facing media (traditional and social) Newsletter for consumers

“There are plenty of calendar services available online, but only The History List caters specifically to the history community. Their event-listing services are intuitive and easy, their creators are smart and friendly, and our ability to communicate with like-minded individuals and institutions about our events and programming has never been easier because of them. I’d tell any history-related organization, if you aren’t using The History List, you’re overlooking an extremely useful and effective tool.”
Matt Wilding Media and Content Manager Freedom Trail Foundation

Lee Wright
Lee@TheHistoryList.com Twitter: TheHistoryList

© 2012 The History List