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Rural Culture Elements

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Rural Cultural Elements

Many rural communities squirm when asked, "What does your community have that a visitor would want to see?" The answer (given too often) is, "We don't have anything in this town." The truth is every town has a story to tell and offer visitors but it is sometimes hard to see what is right under your nose.

To help a community see their story, the Kansas Sampler Foundation recommends that they use the eight rural culture elements as a guide. Seeing your community with new eyes can spur a new interest and energy within the town and lead to new ideas and efforts in a manner that will help sustain a town.

The eight elements are:
Architecture
Art
Commerce
Cuisine
Customs
Geography
History
People


Assess your town using the eight Rural Culture Elements




Everything in a town fits into one of these elements and every town, even a ghost town, has a story to tell about each element.

The eight elements pages listed at the right provide suggestions on how to use the elements to assess your town.

If the assessment is done right, you will turn up all sorts of fascinating facts and unique places. You might find places, stores, or statues that people either couldn't see because they were right under their nose or were too far off-the-beaten track to remember.

After The Assessment


The information you gather will be useful in many ways. It will help you see how you are different or similar to neighboring towns and places around the state. For instance, the assessment may help you realize that you have a great number of historic churches in your town and that you could develop a brochure with the other towns in your county.
  1. Determine Your Goals:It might be helpful to wait until after the assessment to determine goals and a mission statement. The assessment may help you see your community in such a way that it will cause you to review original goals. What were the highlights and strong points of the assessment? Do you want to use the assessment to:
    • educate local citizens?
    • develop a strategy to bring visitors to your town?
    • develop economic and community development plans?

  2. Plan How You'll Tell Your Story
    1. Develop group itineraries.
    2. Develop a brochure for explorer-types.
    3. Develop a web site and a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
    4. Develop self-guided driving or walking tours.
    5. Erect plaques or signs that interpret a site.
    6. Write a play or compose a song about your town.
    7. Educate your own community through newspaper articles, window displays, and at civic group presentations.
    8. Create a booth to display at trade shows.
    9. Use your assessments to stimulate community project ideas.
    10. Collaborate with local or regional tourism groups, historical society's, art councils, schools, and chambers of commerce.
    11. Put together a power point or You Tube Video to educate locals and inform other groups about the story of your town and what it has to offer.
    12. Visit other towns to see what they have done.