2008 Reflections & 2009 Resolutions, Preservation Style

Happy New Year preservationists! I wish everyone the healthiest, happiest, and most successful 2009. At the end of the year, it’s customary to evaluate the previous 12 months and consider our successes and failures and what could be better for the next year.

As a young preservationist I consider 2008 a good year for preservation. From learning what my friends and colleagues are doing and meeting new people who are active in the preservation field, it is amazing to hear how widespread the field is. I am most inspired by this broad spectrum of preservation jobs. It is refreshing and encouraging to know that people outside of the academic world fully understand and employ historic preservation. And maybe I have paid more addition to the reaches of preservation than I have in previous years, but it seems as though more and more people are becoming familiar with and less afraid of the term “historic preservation.” It reaches sustainability and archaeology and urban planning to our methods of research, documentation, and conservation.

Reflecting on 2008, I consider it a good year for my own efforts of historic preservation. This year I have paid more attention to preservation in every day life and what I can do to ultimately support the field. I do my best to practice what I recommend to others, whether it is such things as walking rather than driving, avoiding chain stores, taking the train, labeling my photographs with acid free markers, etc. However, I would like to improve on other things such as visiting historic sites and reading more preservation related material just for fun. Both of these are minimal lists, but a starting point. What do you consider your successes and failures in preservation for 2008? With our individual evaluations, perhaps we can apply them to the field and see how we collectively need to improve and which of our efforts have proved effective.

I don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions; I’d rather turn over a new leaf whenever the time calls. However, as an overall practice, it seems beneficial to outline plans for 2009. And our field-wide preservation goals need to start from our personal goals. Aside from the obvious of getting accepted into graduate school and doing well, I have other preservation goals. I would like to develop my own explanation for people who ask me about historic preservation, without any previous knowledge. I would like to have simple, engaging explanations for kids (like the track team I coach) who ask me what my job is about. I think that, while the field is growing in leaps and bounds, it is because people are drawn to through another field. In order for us to broaden our audience and participants, we need to engage people who have never before considered historic preservation. However, my problem is still having a sufficient explanation.

For my own education, I have a few shelves of books that I need to read before graduate school and also for my general preservation benefit. I’m looking forward to another year of preservation conversations amongst friends and colleagues, old, new, and those I’ve yet to meet. Preservation in Pink will continue enthusiastically, of course, newsletter and blog. Everyone is always encouraged to contribute in any way he/she can. Preservation in Pink will evolve with the contributors and audience, so send in suggestions.

As 2009 begins, I hope that everyone continues to believe in and support the mission of historic preservation, in all of its facets. It never ceases to be the field that can save the world, and I know many of you share the same sentiments.