As opening day for most of Vermont’s State Historic Sites approaches, the state is looking to boost attendance by using the most modern method: Putting them on Facebook.
The Vermont State Historic Sites fan page was launched last month, and officials hope that the interactive social networking site will help promote the state’s 11 historic sites to a broader audience.
The Facebook fan page includes links to all of the sites; a calendar of events; and picture and video galleries for each site, as well as places for visitors and fans to post their own pictures and videos.
“Getting the historic sites on Facebook gives us a way to connect with new customers, and communicate with all of our fans,” said John Dumville, historic sites operations chief at the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “It’s an economical way to spread the word about these beautiful sites that were so important to Vermont’s history.”
The Bennington Battle Monument site opened for the season on April 17. Most of the state-owned historic sites – President Calvin Coolidge, Mount Independence, Justin Morrill Homestead, Hubbardton Battlefield, Eureka Schoolhouse, Old Constitution House, and Chimney Point State Historic Sites – open for the 2010 season on Saturday, May 29.
The Chester Arthur Birthplace and the Hyde Log Cabin sites will open on July 3. The state’s underwater preserve – consisting of five shipwrecks in Lake Champlain – is open May 29 through mid-October depending on weather conditions.
The push to increase visitors – and revenues – at the historic sites in a tight budget year means the state is doing everything it can to generate free publicity for the sites, Dumville said.
Officials at the Division for Historic Preservation are also partnering with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, which will promote the sites as part of their in-state advertising campaign.
Last year, there were 65,888 visitors to the sites – not including divers who visited the underwater preserve – down slightly over the previous year’s totals.
“We are working hard to increase traffic at the sites by offering a broad range of special events,” Dumville said. “And the renewed interest in the sites generated by the discovery of what may be the remains of an early French fort at the Chimney Point site as the result of the demolition of the Champlain Bridge is very encouraging.”
For more information about hours of operation or for a calendar of events, visit www.HistoricVermont.org/sites; on Facebook visit: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Montpelier-VT/Vermont-State-Historic-Sites/312675181273