Why become a heritage ambassador?

Tompkins County is gearing up to be more proactive in promoting this unique place as a heritage tourism destination. We have an interesting and varied history and some of that history directly relates to our geology and topography. “Ithaca is Gorges” meet “Ithaca is a place where history is made every day.” Ithaca has name recognition that we want to parlay into a benefit for all the corners of the county.

Heritage Ambassadors will be an important component for engaging the public, both county residents and visitors, with our local history. Heritage Ambassadors will be knowledgeable about the history and rich heritage of Tompkins County and eager to orient visitors to the assets available to explore this unique place.

We expect that the process of becoming a heritage ambassador will connect folks who do not know each other. To be truly successful we will seek ambassadors who represent our diversity and who are interested in learning the stories of the broad range of individuals who lived here in the past and who live here now. But not just the stories of people but also of places, buildings, industry, organizations and movements.

Over time, building a network of heritage ambassadors will also serve to build community. There is a community development element involved in being an authentic heritage tourism destination. How can we tell our stories to visitors if we do not know each other’s narratives?

Of course we seek to anoint all county residents as heritage ambassadors as we encourage family, friends and colleagues to visit Ithaca and Tompkins County. But being a Heritage Ambassador with capital letters will involve some extra time – studying, reading, exploring and questioning. We promise that it will be fun and interesting.

Heritage Ambassadors will commit to volunteering for at least three events/year (e.g., HistoryForge Days, Old House tours, Heritage tours, CVB events, Discovery Trail events).

 The 2017 Heritage Ambassadors Pilot Training Program will start on Wednesday, June 21 and will run through 6 consecutive weeks through July 26 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.


 Session 1. Overview of program, getting to know each other, heritage tourism overview

Session 2. The People of Tompkins County

Session 3. The Land of Tompkins County

Session 4. The Architecture of Tompkins County

Session 5. The Cultures of Tompkins County

Session 6. The Enterprises of Tompkins County and graduation


Contact Rod Howe at director@thehistorycenter.net if you are interested in learning more.