Beyond tourism and taxes: the ecomuseum and social development in the Ak-Chin tribal community

Mustafa Doğan, Dallen Timothy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Ecomuseums, which reflect the heritage of places, can be an important model for advancing the relationship between tourism, heritage, and local development. This paper examines the relationship between an ecomuseum and development in the context of the Ak-Chin Him-Dak Ecomuseum in Arizona, the only officially designated ecomuseum in the United States. Based on a case study approach, the study indicates that the Ak-Chin Him-Dak Ecomuseum has several features that differentiate it from many other ecomuseums around the world. Unlike some other examples, the Ak-Chin Him-Dak Ecomuseum’s primary aim is to ensure cultural revitalization and social development based on the native tribe’s unique needs. The relationship with tourism is limited, and utilizing the ecomuseum as an economic driver was not a consideration. In this case, the ecomuseum was conceived as an educational tool to aid residents in rediscovering their unique heritage, preserving elements of the past that are on the verge of disappearing, and advancing the social wellbeing of the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Arizona
  • Ecomuseum
  • Native Americans
  • USA
  • indigenous heritage
  • social development
  • tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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