Theming versus authenticity

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Building a new barn at Green Gables, the house that inspired the Anne of Green Gables novels, now being renovated to resemble the novels more closely. On Prince Edward Island, Canada

"Authenticity" is often appealed to in condemnation of all themed places. I do not think that this is a useful criterion. It is not easy to decide just what authenticity is, nor to apply it to concrete places, as can be seen from discussions of tourism. Inauthenticity is not necessarily a bad thing.

The accusation of authenticity does, however, point up the need to resist the simplification of identity and life that is offered by themed places.