Partnerships Open New Doors

Strategy: Collaborate in New Ways, Enhance Your Product

Type of attraction: Main Street/Community

Summary: Historic Southern Indiana, an outreach program of the University of Southern Indiana, has always had many partners and focused on its role as a facilitator and information source to preserve, enhance and promote the region’s many resources.

Historic Southern Indiana (HSI), an outreach program of the University of Southern Indiana, has always had many partners and focused on its role as a facilitator and information source to preserve, enhance and promote the region’s many resources. As economic times grew more difficult, “We have been working on even more collaborative projects” says HSI director Leslie Townsend. “We decided to use multiple resources to accomplish goals instead of going smaller scale.”

One example is a new interpretive project for the Ohio River Scenic Byway. HSI provides administrative assistance to two national scenic byways:  the Ohio River Scenic Byway and Indiana’s Historic Pathways.  A three-state partnership, including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, originally formed in 1999 to promote the Ohio River Scenic Byway. The three states received a Federal Highways Administration Scenic Byway grant and came up with common signage, a logo, interpretive plan and marketing plan.  The active partnership ended in 2000, but in 2008, a new opportunity arose - the U.S. Forest Service has properties on the byway and had funds available for a project involving planning. The partners met to brainstorm ideas for future collaboration.   One project that emerged was to seek grant funding for the placement of interpretive kiosks on Forest Service property in each state. Partners also decided to apply for a grant to create a website.

HSI is also working with Indiana’s Historic Pathways and regional walking clubs to offer Volksmarches.   These seven-mile thematic walking tours are non-competitive and stop at historic sites along the route. In April 2010 two Volksmarches were offered in the Amish communities of Washington and Montgomery. In Montgomery, an Amish hotel booked all 50 rooms with a special package for participants including discounts at restaurants and local shops. Participants receive a patch with the IHP byway logo and the town’s name.

To mark historic events, HSI is partnering with the town of Vincennes to commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial and with a group from Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois, and Northwestern Kentucky to commemorate the bicentennial of the steamboat on the Ohio and Mississippi River in 2011. Events in Vincennes are centered on the home of William Henry Harrison, commander of the army during the war (later elected president of the U.S.) and will include a series of symposiums. To commemorate the coming of the steamboat and how it changed transportation, HSI is working with the tri-state group to plan a series of programs and events, in addition to encouraging local groups along the Ohio and Mississippi River to plan events.

For more information visit www.usi.edu/hsi; contact Leslie Townsend, ltownsen@usi.edu; 812-465-7013.