We partnered with Main Street, our Historic Preservation Office, and the Collin County History Museum to offer daytime walking tours and a weekend historic talk free of charge. The CVB set up the three tours which left from the visitors center (Tuesday morning, Wednesday lunchtime, and Thursday afternoon) and the Saturday talk held at the McKinney Performing Arts Center (historic courthouse) using free listings on Eventbrite. We had three full tours (a total of 70 people, about 80 percent who were residents) and about 20 for the Saturday talk (90% residents) which focused on the history of movie theaters and music halls in McKinney. Our GIS department had also just released an online/mobile-based historic walking tour that complemented the tours we had planned, so Guy Giersch (our historic preservation officer who did the tours) was able to promote that as well. We provided the tour guests with an instruction sheet for logging in and using the online/mobile map.
Because the theme of National Tourism Week was "Travel: Then & Now" AND because May was also National Historic Preservation Month, it was only natural to partner with others within the city to educate residents (and visitors, too) on the history and heritage of our downtown square. The architectural walking tours Guy gave at the TDA conference in 2017 were so popular, we decided to offer something similar during Tourism Week. While these during Tourism Week did focus some on the architecture, he also talked about the history of the buildings' resident businesses over the years and the way societal and economic trends in the country and tragedies (fires) had affected the businesses. Then at Saturday's brown bag lunch talk, Deborah Kilgore (the curator at the history museum) presented a fascinating talk about all the movie theaters and entertainment venues (such as the opera house) - where they were, what happened to them, etc. - complete with wonderful photos dating back to the late 1800s. Along with these, she showed maps and photos of where the buildings were/are on the square. The tours and talk were so well-received, plans are in the works to offer them again, perhaps monthly.The tours and talk were so well-received, plans are in the works to offer them again, perhaps monthly.
Free with minor cost to print the map instruction handouts (maybe $5).