I’ve talked before about how our class has been discussing problems in the nonprofit sector. This week we are proposing ideas to address specific needs.
My first idea arose out of last year’s PubComm (a public history community forum in Philadelphia). At the conference, Ismael Jimenez presented with a panel of some very bright high school students. One of the students suggested there is a need for affordable walking tours for teachers at local schools to take their students on. Since I work part-time as tour guide on a walking tour, I thought a lot about it at the time. However, my other work has pushed it to the back of my mind until recently.
Quick research turned up lots of for profit tours in Philly. These are mostly for individuals and cost around $19-150 per person. Some of these also offered group tours for schools, still at a cost. Many schools can’t afford them. Besides the cost, the vast majority of them fit only a few narratives: the typical one about colonial Philly and independence, the yellow fever, and a few miscellaneous ones at the really expensive tour companies. This leaves the city’s later history untold, which, as many of my colleagues have pointed out, is a sector-wide problem.
However, $10k is not nearly enough money to run a tour program giving free walking tours to students. So what would other options be? Perhaps the $10k could be used to develop tour materials for teachers to lead the tours themselves. Or perhaps the tour could be developed and lead by volunteers. I would leave it to the institution receiving the money to decide exactly how to do it and what content to develop, with the caveat that the tours must be offered to schools for free and the content must be from after 1870 and an as yet untold Philly story.
The problem with this is I’m not aware of any history nonprofits with experience running walking tours, and unsure if any would even be interested in running a tour program. What if you don’t need to walk around the city to get at its untold stories?
What if you took a tour of objects from around the city?
Maybe a more manageable tour would be a tour of a Philadelphia history collection. The $10k could be used to develop a program where classes are invited to come into a collections space and participate in a discussion of selected objects from the collection exploring other facets of Philly’s history. For better access, maybe this program could take place outside the museum, in a rented space where multiple schools can visit. Or even better, a museum could take the objects to each school and set up in the gym for a day. Sadly, this would require significantly more money.
In any case, the grantee can post on Steemit about their progress developing the program and share their content and objects there, generating further funds while inviting feedback.
Are there any Philly nonprofits that might be willing to develop a walking tour? Is the collections tour idea better?
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