How and Why Heritage Performers Represent the Past in the Present
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This study explores the motivations of heritage performers to take on their roles and how they understand their representation of history. While there is a wide array of literature on visitor experience at heritage sites, there is a lack of research regarding the experience of the heritage performer. This study uses literature on the benefits and limitations of performance, controversies surrounding authentic performances, and the role heritage performers play as cultural intermediaries to explore this gap in the research. By conducting semi-structured interviews, this study looks at why Nova Scotian heritage performers go into the positions they do and what, if any, are the implications for the representation of history in the 21st century. The results show that heritage performers take on their roles because of passions for local and familial history as well as the desire to work in a job they enjoy. This aids them in recognizing themselves as the linking factor between the past and the present through their knowledge of history and their skill in engaging with visitors to make the past accessible for them.