By Helaine Silverman
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The southern Gulf Coast with the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán region. Map by Steven J. Holland. These events may contribute to an understanding of the problems and achievements surrounding the growth of community museums in the region. A proposal for the future joint protection of natural and archaeological assets in the region is also outlined. Brief Historical Background In the 1930s and 1940s, the feverishly booming petroleum industry in southern Veracruz and Tabasco promoted extensive exploration of regional oil deposits.
In addition, looting and trafficking in archaeological materials foil the full germination of the seeds of pride in the Olmec culture and hence of any type of sociocultural identity (albeit adopted) related to them. Is the development of a tourism industry the solution to this calamity? Tourism is a complex social phenomenon in which the national government usually plays the role of mediator between the tourist attraction and the local population. The government plans tourism in a unilateral fashion based on the cultural elements that it considers important.
Moreover, I observe above that the site museum is located intrusively and obtrusively in the ruins. In the best of all worlds, the existing site museum would be demolished and rebuilt outside the main protected Zones A and B, perhaps outside San Juan Teotihuacan (two kilometers away) to stimulate its economy by making townsfolk into stakeholders in the archaeological site through stimulation of local economic development, such as in restaurants and tourist souvenir shops and guided tours to the small colonial convent of Oxtotipac (founded in 1548), in addition to inducing tourists to enjoy its two spas and stay overnight at one of its two nice hotels.
Archaeological Site Museums in Latin America by Helaine Silverman