Financial History Issue 125 (Spring 2018) | Page 37

THE BUSINESS OF HISTORY By Gregory DL Morris and Tara Patrick From the pages of this magazine and the galleries of the Museum, to the grand- est estates of the captains of industry, the history of business is often simultaneously the business of history. That is the vexing reality to those who value history for its own sake. Just because something is historical, or actually historic, does not automatically mean it can be monetized. The original Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan can be demolished to make way for ugly but profitable steel and glass boxes. But in many cases history can pay its own way, and then some. “As a meeting planner for 20 years, I want some enrichment to an event,” said Amy Talley, executive director of the Association of Meeting Profession- als, based in Falls Church, Virginia, near Washington, DC. “Of course the wi-fi has to be strong, and there has to be cell phone service in the basement if there are going to be activities there. And there cannot be a pillar in the middle of the ballroom. But historical properties can do so much to enhance a meeting, because in a well- planned meeting, we are not just trying to get through an agenda, we are trying to create an experience.” The legendary lobby of the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC. Built and expanded between 1816 and 1858, it quickly became a hub of unofficial political activity during the American Civil War. Advocates for a particular cause would hang about the common areas and came to be known as lobbyists. In 2017, Jim Hewes at The Willard was named Hotel Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America.  |  Spring 2018  |  FINANCIAL HISTORY  35