Skip Nav
The Bachelorette: Every Ridiculous Engagement Ring in the Show's History
Women's Health
This Woman Is "F*cking Furious" Over How Her HR Department Just Period Shamed Her
10 Things That Should Never Be Missing From Your Relationship

Should Tour Guides Be Required to Take a History Test?

Tour guides in Philadelphia think a new city law requiring history tests before they receive a license, violates their right to freedom of speech. This new rule will require guides to pass a written test, or pay a fine, the same requirements for guides in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Charleston, SC.

Opponents paint the law as making speech conditional on government permission.

If you're paying big bucks for a history lesson, it might be nice to know it's not the history of the guide's imagination. It's pleasant to picture Walt Whitman walking into Philly from New Jersey across the Ben Franklin Bridge (as one guide will assist you with) — but does it matter that the bridge wasn't built until 1926, 30 years after Whitman died?

Do you think Philadelphia is betraying its constitutional roots, or being responsible by making sure those roots are portrayed accurately? Either way, since the law only requires a one-time-test, neither censorship nor accuracy will be guaranteed.


Join The Conversation
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
I'm stuck on how this is possibly a freedom of speech issue. No one said you can't say that the Liberty Bell was delivered to Earth by aliens -- you just can't say it in this context. That is perfectly within the bounds of the First Amendment. People misrepresent that all the time and it drives me nuts.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
haha I promise I never made anything up!
janneth janneth 8 years
I went on a guided tour of the French Quarter last spring, and the guide spent 90% of the time talking about his personal issues with Katrina, damage to his house, problems with insurance, etc.
raciccarone raciccarone 8 years
When I was a tour guide, I just made stuff up. No one knew the difference and by the time they got off the bus, I had their tips. Win-Win.
em113 em113 8 years
I don't have a problem with what the law requires, I have a problem that philly actually wasted time passing this. There are a million more important things to legislate.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Me thinks you dost protest too much, Mr. Tour Guide. What are you afraid of? And besides, even if they don't pass, they pay a fine, and baboom, back on the job with faulty knowledge.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
I was a tour guide in college, which was a really fun job. I will admit that people ask you some off the wall questions, but I'd be honest with them and get them the information. People appreciated the honesty. I don't see anything wrong with these guides being required to be tested as it was said earlier, they are giving out information.
BeatBoxANNI BeatBoxANNI 8 years
Yes. They should know the history and what they're telling people about.
lovelie lovelie 8 years
Wow I can't believe this is even an issue..if they are guiding a tour, they should have an accurate description of what they are talking about. I certainly do not see how this could be a freedom of speech violation...because they are being asked to be accurate instead of making it up as they go along? I don't think that is what the framers intended on..
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Yeah, the more I think about this, the more upset it makes me (that these people are upset over the test). I have passed on things I learned on tours before as fact. If I learned something incorrect and told other people; it would make me look dumb. And, like Steph said, it's not like people plan multiple trips places.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
oh for goodness sake, of all the things to complain about. YES, if you are a history guide, you should pass a test to know what you're talking about. no one's saying you can't give your own interpretation of the events. but you should have a solid grasp of facts.
GigglyGirl GigglyGirl 8 years
Frankly, I can't believe they aren't tested already. Teachers are tested, and for the hour you are on a tour, they're supposed to be teaching you. Otherwise, you could just read a dang book, for flying figs!
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
The last time I was at Mount Rushmore, I stayed for the evening porgram. The park guide who "hosted" the lighting (Which is really cool!) gave a brief legacy of each of the Presidents. I had seen it before, so I thought I knew what he was going to say. Instead of giving a positive history of each one, he said he was going to give a positve and a negative. The positive was generally 4 or 5 sentences, and the negatives were 5-10 minutes each. I let that night wondering why we put those Presidents on the mountain.
stephley stephley 8 years
Tourists don't usually get too many shots at their tours - so someone could be totally misinformed on their one trip to Philadelphia. Or, tours could be totally wasted with people arguing with a tour guide over things the tour guide from yesterday said. I think as host, the city is fair to say paying guests should be treated with respect.
zeze zeze 8 years
Why not let the market decide it? Licensed tour guides would get the big bucks working for the high paying tour agencies, while those who refuse will get stuck being paid less. It is like secretaries, those with degrees get the better jobs, but those who only "know" the business get the no-so-great jobs. Tourists will get what they pay for.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Oh, never thought of that, kim....but what would happen if a tourist asks them a question that isn't part of the script? :? I can see it now "DUH...I dunno, that isn't part of the script"??
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I agree, Steph. I thought a lot of tour guides followed scripts anyway. :puzzled:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well let me tell you if I'm paying money for a tour of a city I want the cities history not its fantasy. At first I was against a mandate and now I'm kinda on the line. I do not however agree with their argument that the mandate imposes a restriction on free speech. Points of history are fact you can't change the points with out being dishonest, but they should be able to describe the points any way they like as long as their description is honest to the point of history. Now IMO what I would do is offer up the test as a point of competition. The companies who do opt to get certified under the test will have a very strong marketing tool at their disposal over the company's who chose not to take the test.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
This bodes well for my astronaut ambitions, though. And also my desire to become a swashbuckling pirate.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I agree Stephley. You don't hire someone based on what they think they know. You have to prove you're qualified. It's the same in every business.
stephley stephley 8 years
Following the protestor's logic, anyone who thinks they can do a job should be allowed to do the job without any test of their qualifications. I've read a couple of books on flying, therefore, I'm a 747 pilot. I don't think there's an inalienable right to be a make it up as you go along tour guide.
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
Think of it like this: would you ever send your kids to a school that has teachers without any kind of formal education to validate their knowledge?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well, it usually is a good thing when a tour guide can demonstrate some actual knowledge of the places they're presenting to tourists.
menthadict menthadict 8 years
I don't see why they would oppose it. If they're really qualified, they should ace those tests.
Is Tourism Down Under Donald Trump?
Transgender Texas Woman Posts About Bathroom Bill
JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Information
Megan Couto Becomes First Woman to Captain the Queen's Guard
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds