Sites of Suffering: Dark Tourism and the National Park System; A Case Study of Kalaupapa National Historical Park
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This study examines solutions to interpretive challenges at dark tourism sites. The academic field of dark tourism explores travel to and the nature of heritage sites that have gained significance from a past of tragedy and suffering. Due to the sensitive nature of such sites there are a number of inherent interpretive challenges. Through research including interviews and site visits, interpretive methods which effectively confront these inherent challenges are identified. Gaining significance from its past as a place of exile for Hansen's disease (leprosy) patients, Kalaupapa National Historical Park remains the home of about 10 patients. Once there are no longer patients living on the peninsula the responsibility to interpret this story falls to land management agencies. Utilizing the methods identified to confront dark tourism challenges, interpretation at Kalaupapa and other dark tourism sites can be systematically approached to ensure an authentic and respectful interpretive program.