Cultural Resources in the United States: What Messages Are We Sending

Date of Graduation

Fall 1998


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist


Television, movies, education and even highway markers point the general public to the cultural resources of the United States. The present study used Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory and social marketing theory to better understand the level of support for archaeological, historic and cultural preservation. Current messages and message channels were explored through a series of focus groups. The focus groups defined the sources of perceptions about preservation, the appeal of certain messages, the types of cultural materials that should be preserved and who should be responsible for preservation. The research found that media plays the largest role in providing information on and provoking interest in culture, history and archaeology. The types of messages that are more compelling are short, concise and capture the receiver's attention. Motivations for preservation included a personal connection, or interest in an object or site, the threat of loss of a building or landmark, or financial and culture profit. The responses led to a series of suggestions identifying opinion leaders, change agents and methods for creating interest in cultural preservation.

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© Rachelle D Brown