Accepted paper:

The tour guide's journey to authenticity: Temple Mount, Jerusalem

Author:

Yemima Cohen (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paper short abstract:

By using heritage sites around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which focus on the memory of the Temple I present three different methods by which the tour guide performance is used to construct authenticity despite of clear absence.

Paper long abstract:

How does one construct authenticity in the face of absence? By using heritage sites around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which focus on the memory of the Temple, I present three different methods by which the tour guide performance is used to construct authenticity despite of clear absence. The first method is exemplified by the Western Wall Heritage Tunnels; authenticity is built around experience and is based on emotions and the visitors' identity. The tour guides are trained to enhance their own emotional connection to the site and promote that feeling within visitors. Among the technique used, one may find body performance such as kissing the Western Wall and crying next to it. The second, exemplified by Davidson Center, is authenticity constructed around the use of objects; this method combines archaeological relics and academic jargon. Using computer-based virtual reality program the tour guides explain the archaeological findings from a scholarly perspective which is emotionally detached. The third method is authenticity of the future, manifested by The Temple Institute. The vessels on display are presented as authentic as they will be used in the Third Temple once it will be built. Achieving this future is based on the preservation of traditional knowledge. Therefore, the guided tour is based on memorizing and precise narrating of that knowledge. The tour is a confirmation ritual in which knowledge is transformed back and forth between the guide the group, giving it a symbolic existence in reality.

panel P088
The technologies and techniques of guiding: tour guides as cultural mediators