Shakespeare’s birthplace: one of the first examples of literary and cultural tourism
House museums are a focus of tourist attraction that was born in Spain in the 19th century and developed during the 20th century. These museums respond to a very specific type of tourist and cultural demand that wants to satisfy the visitor's interest and curiosity regarding the private life of a public figure. They also contribute to the conservation and dissemination of collective memory and cultural heritage. In Spain, the Marquis de Vega-Inclán is recognized as a visionary museologist for being the creator of the first house museum: the El Greco house-museum in Toledo at the end of the 19th century. However, if we move to the Anglo-Saxon world we find that this model already existed previously. This is the case of Abbotsford, residence of Sir Walter Scott and also that of Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, which becomes an international pilgrimage center after David Garrick's famous jubilee in 1769. The purpose of this article is to know the status of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as an international pilgrimage center at the end of the 19th century. For this we have the story that Benito Pérez Galdós made after his visit to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1889: Shakespeare's House. Galdós' narration informs us both of the visitors who frequented the birthplace of Shakespeare and the hotel industry that emerged around this museum, offering us his vision of how tourism transformed the economy of this English city.
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