If preservationists were given the chance to choose one thing that would make the preservation world better, what would it be? The typical “world-peace” response seems unusually out of place in this context, although given some stretching, it would fit. Is there one identifiable factor that would make our lives easier, in the preservation sense?
In my subjective sense, no, there is not. Just as everything else, there is never one answer or one cure-all. Preservationists do not sign up to be preservationists because it’s an easy job or because it will someday be an easy job. It’s an uphill battle of reaching the masses and the higher-ups, hoping to influence their decisions and encourage respect of our cultural heritage: the environment, the buildings, and the intangibles. Preservationists are who we are because it’s a passion; something speaks to our souls. Whether it’s preservation planning, architectural history, archaeology, rehabilitation, cultural activities (museums), or another division of preservation, it’s an addiction that we cannot avoid.
In classrooms, in town halls, in your neighborhood, and here at Preservation in Pink, we want to educate ourselves so we can educate those who are not trained in historic preservation. We love the aspects of preservation that are our careers, hobbies, and studies; our hope and our goal is that the public cares enough to ask us to do what we love. In other words, we hope that towns will want to come up with adaptive reuse ideas and promote green space and historic character. We hope that people will be interested in their history and understand the fragile state of the future without its past. And, this list could go on and on.
Unfortunately, the rate at which we can engage and educate fellow citizens is far outpaced by the development of this country and the depletion of our resources. We need a larger, stronger network of people who care and who care enough to encourage others to do the same. Many organizations are now friendlier and more concerned with interesting the public. Even the National Trust is doing a better job at reaching local preservation issues. Hopefully, Preservation in Pink is bringing historic preservation to a greater crowd, demonstrating the far reaches of preservation related topics.
Maybe, if we could have just one wish granted, general interest would help the most: interest from everyone from every region and every social class. That is my own goal: to get everyone interested in preservation. For all preservationists out there: keep sharing what you know and love. For all who don’t know about preservation: ask us questions and keep asking. We guarantee you’ll find something you like.