Sustainable Demolition

…guesses anyone?

Happenings in Southern Pines...

Happenings in Southern Pines...

More to come.

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The Preservation Job Hunt

Recently, many people have found their way to Preservation in Pink while searching for historic preservation jobs or something to that effect.  They find their way to this post, Historic Preservation Job Search, which is my own experience and advice for job hunting, as well as some resources for job hunting.  Since it’s the time of year when students are intensifying their job and internship searches, I thought I’d include a few new sites for jobs.  A lot of these can be find through the academic department sites. And if you have any advice, please, feel free to share. Everyone has a different experience looking for jobs. With the state of economy, we can all use the advice.

Historic & Cultural Preservation Job Resource – a partner of PreservationDirectory.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Current Openings

Global Museums – there is a page for jobs in the USA, outside of the USA, and internships

Archaeology Fieldwork or ShovelBums

Higher Ed Jobs

Job Link: Historic Preservation & Public History Employment Site (its own collection of job sites)

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I’m not an expert on job hunting, but I tend to assume that people know about these sites and then I find out that they do not.  So hopefully have them collected will help anyone who needs it.

Book Club Update

Books are on my mind today.

So far, I have heard from Andrew D, Elyse G, Amy M, and Missy C regarding interest in the book club. We’ll give it a little while longer before “starting” so keep thinking!

Details still to follow.

Travels in Italy

Annie O’Shea is traveling through Europe this winter as part of the Intercontinental Cup Circuit for Skeleton. See older posts from Annie, 12.10.2008 and 12.17.2008. She sent me a few photographs from her travels, see below. Or you can check them out on her blog. Annie always mentions the charm of European cities for their narrow streets and shops, and historic buildings as the norm.  She may not be a preservationist by training (skeleton is her thing), but she always recognizes what people appreciate about historic preservation. And isn’t that what we hope for – that people appreciate what we do and what we value?  Thanks for sharing your photos, Annie. Go USA!
Venice, Italy.

Venice, Italy.

Road near Cortina, Italy.

Road near Cortina, Italy.

Cesana, Italy.  Location for races 5 and 6 of the Intercontinental Cup, Bobsled and Skeleton.

Cesana, Italy. Location for races 5 and 6 of the Intercontinental Cup, Bobsled and Skeleton.

Annie with more snow than she's ever seen! Cesana, Italy.

Annie with more snow than she's ever seen! Cesana, Italy.

Abstract Communities

As a preservationist I advocate that people know their surroundings, wherever it may be that they spend their time living, working, and having fun. After all, isn’t life just better if you enjoy those places? Whether you know your neighbors or the people where you shop, finding that sense of  place and community gives you a feeling of belonging, of being a part of that community. Consequently, that’s a positive step for quality of life and pride in your general environment.

Yet, being a part of a community can be hard for us transient types. And it’s hard for those of us with nonstop schedules. How do you belong in one place when you’re always in ten different places at once!?

Fortunately, community is a broad term. You are probably part of a community now, whether you realize it or not. Who do you see on a day to day basis? Where do you work? Where do you shop? Do you volunteer or coach a sports team or hang out with other parents at your kids’ soccer games? All of those may be different communities, altogether composing a larger community. Still, these are examples of typical communities.

Working in oral history has created a community for me, but one that is unbound by geography. Since there are only two of us working on the oral history project, my interaction within the confines of Fort Bragg has been very limited. There are few places I’ve traveled to on post, yet I know my way around Harnett County where most of the interviewees live. I know these people, their homes, who is friends with whom, and the back roads to their houses and where they attend church. They are the people I call and communicate with; very seldom do I have business reasons to interact with people in the same (large) compound at work. It’s a perplexing thought to have worked somewhere for over two years and to not know many people outside our own office and nearby offices.

However, I cannot imagine a reverse situation in which I am familiar more with Fort Bragg than with Harnett County’s back roads and the people who lived at Overhills. I may be based on Fort Bragg, but my work reaches far past the gates. They are my community. So, while a part of me feels as though I do work in my Overhills bubble in my office, I am grateful to have my work focused elsewhere and concerning people who live all over the country. My community gives me pride in my work and has introduced me to new surroundings, peoples, and lifestyles. I may not live here in North Carolina for much longer, but a part of me will always belong to this present community.

There are many more abstract communities, if you will, such as the internet. What is your community? Do you have more than one? Is it typical or abstract?

Overhills Author Event!

overhills

Join Jeff Irwin and me, Kaitlin O’Shea, for an “author event” at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines this Thursday afternoon. We’re going to talk a bit about Overhills history, the book writing inspiration and process, answer questions, sign books, mingle, etc. The Country Bookshop is wonderful and we’re so excited to be a part of their Author Series this January.  There will be bookmarks, stickers, and snacks if that helps persuade you!

Click here to read an article from the Southern Pines newspaper, The Pilot, for a brief history of Overhills and information about the book. And click here to see the Best Selling books in the Sandhills.  (Check out Paperback Nonfiction to see Overhills at #1!)

Obviously, Jeff and I are very excited to talk to everyone about the book, which we believe has uniquely preserved Overhills.

Preservation Book Club

Would anyone be interested in starting an informal preservation book club?  Or perhaps some people would prefer a preservation article club? Many of us love to read and enjoy it as a solitary activity, but sometimes it’s more enriching to discuss the book with other people.  And while it may sound like homework, it’s not, so have no fear. No quizzes or participation grades! Just lifelong entertainment and learning.

One example is the book, The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson.  Everyone I know (preservationist or not) who has read the book, loved it. But we’ve read it months or years apart from each other so there is little that we can talk about except that we liked it. If you’ve read it, you know that there are so many interesting details and plot twists, preservation elements and architectural history and planning elements, etc.  What did you catch that I didn’t and vice versa. The same can be said for many books.

Of course, we could choose a fiction book as well or historical fiction or something more academic.  The details of the book (readings, discussions, timeline) can be hashed out once we gather a few people, assuming there is interest. Are there preservation book clubs out there (that you know of)?

Think about it. Let me know. You can think I’m a preservation dork, it’s okay.

What Will Save the Suburbs?

It is not the practice on Preservation in Pink to post random news articles, but I think that “What Will Save the Suburbs?” by Allison Arieff from January 11, 2009 in the New York Times is worth posting and reading. Arieff discusses the fact that while urban development can often find new uses, suburban development simply sits abandoned without any hope for a new use. Thus, we are left with abandoned big-box stores, tracts of land cleared but undeveloped, and massive amounts of building material that no one knows how to use.

A quote from the article:

In urban areas, there’s rich precedent for the transformation or reuse of abandoned lots or buildings. Vacant lots have been converted into pocket parks, community gardens and pop-up stores (or they remain vacant, anxiously awaiting recovery and subsequent conversion into high-end office space condos). Old homes get divided into apartments, old factories into lofts, old warehouses into retail.

Projects like Manhattan’s High Line show that even derelict train tracks can be turned into something as valuable to citizens as a vibrant public park. A brownfield site in San Francisco has been cleaned up and will house an eco-literacy center for the city’s youth. Hey, even a dump (Fresh Kills, on Staten Island) is undergoing a remarkable metamorphosis into a recreation area.

But similar transformation within the carefully delineated form of a subdivision is not so simple. These insta-neighborhoods were not designed or built for flexibility or change.

So what to do with the abandoned houses, the houses that were never completed or the land that was razed for building and now sits empty?

Arieff goes on in her article to discuss literature about big box reuse and then switches to how President Obama’s new policies could affect suburban infrastructure and development.

It’s a good, thought provoking read and there are hundreds of comments posted by readers as well.  Enjoy! Share your comments, if you are so inclined.

Photographs, Sacred Spaces & Tourism

Over Christmas while in New York City I visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Many city visitors had the same idea, so much so that there was a line, albeit moving, in order to walk into the cathedral. Once inside, I saw the reason for the line: people were everywhere, whether in the aisles, sitting in the pews, marveling at the stained glass windows, gazing at the manger, behind the altar… just everywhere. And these people who were everywhere – they were taking pictures of everything. Flash after flash!

To me, all of those flashing cameras took away from the atmosphere of the cathedral. I visited for the peace and beauty of a cathedral, architecture and otherwise, not necessarily to pray; yet, the noise of the loud tourists and the sight of the flashing cameras were very distracting. All of this made me wonder – is there a time and a place for photographs? Do other people find this disturbing? And does the fact that we live in a digital society give people the right to photograph whatever they want, whenever they want? What do you think?

And what about the issue of visiting a place that is sacred to groups of people? If I were visiting the worship space of another religion, I would hope to be respectful and conduct myself in the proper manner. While in St. Patrick’s Cathedral I overhead a mother say to her son, “Don’t touch the holy water. It’s dirty.” And people were lighting candle after candle, despite the fact that it’s a common practice to donate at least one dollar for each candle lit. And so many people walked behind the altar and everywhere in the church. Regardless of your religion or my religion, it all seemed a bit disrespectful. If you don’t know the customs, perhaps you should ask or at least move through quietly.

Are these the issues that come with a sacred space also being a popular tourist stop? I cannot say that I’ve never taken pictures inside of a church before, but I’d like to bring up the idea for discussion. Historic house museums can say, “No photographs are allowed”, but can other sites? Or are other places too hard to control?

I do not want this to be an issue of church vs. state, secular vs. religious. I mean to bring up photographs and social behavior as a matter for any site. Should there be restrictions on photographs and more education on how to act? Does this apply to religious spaces and historic sites as well? Or should one or the other be considered an everyday space so as to not add to the stigma of dull, quiet museums?

As far as photographs are concerned, people also do not realize that their point-and-shoot automatic digital cameras will never be able to capture the true depth of the architecture and what they can actually see. Maybe we should take time to study with our eyes rather than photographs everything so quickly. Professional photographers can take care of those shots that we would want to gaze at for years to come.

What do you think? Is this another issue to ponder? Or is this something that should be left alone? Thoughts are much appreciated.

Inauguration Day 2009

What will President Obama’s four year term (possibly eight year term) bring for the United States of America and subsequently, the world? We do not know. But, let us hope that it continues the optimism and promise of change that inspired so many of us Americans to choose Barrack Obama as our 44th President. I am sure that we all wish him the very best.

What will his inaugural speech say? I’m sure many of you feel the same way as I feel: I cannot wait to hear it. In the meantime, read all of the inaugural speeches, if you’re so inclined, at Bartelby.com.  Before each President takes office, the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 8, Clause 1) he (she) is required to take the Executive Oath of Office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

For trivia, read the Presidents who were never inaugurated. Which of you had the great opportunity to attend the 2009 Inauguration in Washington D.C.? Please, let us know how it was. It’s probably an overused term by now, but it is probably true: we are witnessing history. We are a part of history. Enjoy the day. Be proud to be an American.