Hindered by the lack of research on child tourists generally and the virtual absence of studies of children at so-called dark tourism sites, we conduct research that engages youth in documenting their own travel experiences. This mobile ethnographic work takes place annually for several days, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, at sites throughout the Washington, DC area, and in Johnstown, PA. The project provides both undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines the opportunity to conduct field research alongside their young collaborators.
In 2020, 24 youth completed the first study of youth visitors to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, while 23 youth completed research projects at the Johnstown, PA Flood Museum and the Johnstown Flood National Memorial, These youth learned research methods through distance instruction provided by our interdisciplinary, undergraduate research team whom I directly supervise. Our work was highlighted in 2019 in the Washington Post and will be documented in an upcoming research handbook published by Routledge.