Play 4 – Playbook for Morrisville
PLAY NUMBER FOUR: Leveraging History to Bolster Morrisville Tourism.
The Town of Morrisville’s distinctive history or cultural resources is an asset. I see an opportunity for the Town to leverage its history and culture to promote economic development.
Through our Civil War programming in 2015, folks got a small taste of history and how it can be used to entertain and draw tourists to Town. Morrisville has so much more to offer in terms of historical richness. There is a great African American history (Shiloh Community), technology, innovation history, religious history, colonial history, and several other themes, which need to be identified and introduced to citizens and tourists.
Let’s turn the Pugh House into gallery space or art center. Mabel Pugh is Morrisville’s best known artist. She taught at Peace College and had some notoriety in the 1920s and 1930s. Many small communities have made big business out of the arts. If you look at Wilson, Carrboro, and Hillsboro, arts have become big business. We could develop Morrisville into a destination for artists, and also could host more art festivals. Town hall has historic displays and the infrastructure to show videos. Could this become a visitors/community center for town? Perhaps the Christian Church could service this purpose too.
Town’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources department must do more historic (or cultural) programming. I propose spinning off a new Cultural Resources Department or Division, which would focus all efforts in these areas. There are a number of historic artisans, interpreters, and collectors in the region to put on a meaningful program about life in the past or teach historic craft classes. Even for the town’s Indian community, is there anyone teaching traditional dances, crafts, or storytelling? We have an opportunity our share our rich Morrisville history with North Carolina and develop a vision for the Town that encompasses the new shared history embodied by citizens.
We need to look at the Greater Raleigh Visitors and Convention Bureau for stats of visitors to Wake County and the amount of money tourists bring into the area. The Town must develop a plan to increase historical tourism dollars to the Town and Region.
Morrisville is situated to take advantage of a tourism effort by its location along I-40 and the airport.