Connecting Visitors to People and Places: People's Perception of Authenticity at the National Museum, Calabar Calabar-Nigeria
This study examines the impact of visitors’ characteristics, motivations and sense of place attachment on perceptions of authenticity at a cultural heritage site-Nigeria National Museum and Monuments (Slave History Museum) Calabar – Nigeria. This investigation discovered that the most important motives for visiting the cultural heritage site are to ‘enjoy nature’ and to experience Cross River State culture as well as Nigerian slave history and culture. Also, visitors perceived a strong sense of place identity, but a weaker sense of place dependence. Research findings show that motivation to experience crossriverian cultural heritage, the place identity dimension of place attachment, educational attainment, age and past experience at the museum had significant effects on the perception of an authentic experience at the museum. Place identity emerged as the strongest predictor of perceptions of authenticity, suggests first that a strong emotional bond is an important factor in visitors perceiving a site to be authentic. As visitor motivations for learning about the crossriverian culture increased, so did perceptions of authenticity. Higher age also led to increased feelings of authenticity. As education levels and prior experience increased perceptions of authenticity decreased. This research adopted the library and survey methods of research for gathering information.
Keywords: Cultural tourism, Authenticity, slave History, Cultural Heritage