Tours in the Public Interest is a special series of lectures, site visits, workshops, and other programs that we put together for serious travelers. It runs all season long and features incredible opportunities for people who really love to travel and understand the places they’re traveling to. Because these kinds of adventures reduce the strain on big, popular monuments but are often commercially unviable, they are underwritten by the Context Foundation for Sustainable Travel and offered for a minimal charge of $1-$5 as a way of spreading knowledge about a city's unique heritage.
Critics have called the Tours in the Public Interest series one of the best ways to get off the beaten path. Pairing scholars from our network with topics in their fields, the series fits squarely with our mission of unfolding the complexity of these cities for the truly receptive visitor.
Some past examples include Walk with Thomas Jefferson in Paris (2011) and the Croton Aqueduct in New York City (2011). Both events brought travelers to hidden parts of those cities and for an in-depth exploration of unique themes.
In 2012, the program grew considerably. In Philadelphia, we ran a series of 6 tours for local schools that took students to places off the beaten path or explored such unusual themes as public art in the urban landscape or the history of medicine. The program was funded by a generous grant from the Aramark Charitable Foundation.