Covered Bridge

Photographs of a covered bridge in Canada! Traveling with some classmates on Saturday, we turned to follow a sign that said (in French) covered bridge, 4km. We were in Notre-Dame de Stanbridge, a village in the province of Quebec. We got out to take pictures and walk on the bridge, which is still in use. There was a sign inside the bridge explaining the architecture and the history, but since I do not read French, I cannot be sure. See below.






translation, please?

The Lost Resort

So far, one of my favorite parts of living in a city (however small Burlington may be, it’s still a city) is that there is always something interesting to explore or observe, no matter if it’s Saturday at the farmers’ market, strolling around town, or running through parks and along the bike path. Burlington has many, many parks so it will take me a while to get to all of them, but I have already been drawn to the historic Oakledge Park.

I slowed to a stop one day as I passed an informational plaque on the side the of the trail that read “The Lost Resort.”  Within a few words I learned that the park was previously a manor, a farm, and a resort (1929-1961). Aside from the manor house and recreational facilities, there were six small cabins that overlooked Lake Champlain. All are long gone, but the six chimneys are still in the woods, free for the public to explore, discover, and ponder. I quickly veered off the paved trail to the small winding wooded trails and found a few chimneys. The hearths sit high above the ground, indicating that the cabins were built on a foundation.

A search on Google led me to the Oakledge Park History website, organized by the University of Vermont Geology Department and the Governor’s Institute of Vermont. The website has historic photographs, resort brochures, histories, and news articles, as well as now and then views of the park. Sadly, the news articles reveal that the main manor house was burned by the city fire department in a training exercise in the 1970s. People who remember Oakledge from their childhood express their sadness in the history and the articles.

Today the park seems very popular (at least in good weather) and it is a beautiful spot on Lake Champlain. The chimneys and the informational signs provide a quick, appreciative glimpse of the area throughout history. I hope everyone is intrigued by at least one of the signs. I’ll probably be pausing on my runs until I’ve read every sign along my way.

Mickey Mouse

Pop culture, academic or just for fun?

Or like most everything, does it depend on the context? And for the purpose of mass education, does it truly matter how academic a subject is portrayed, as long as the viewers/readers/listeners, of all ages, are learning? Pop culture is often considered the more “fun” subject, possibly because more people are familiar and therefore open to say, the hula hoops of the 1950s as opposed to pipe stems from the colonial era. Look at the Smithsonian exhibits.  Right now exhibits range from the Appalachian trail to transportation to electricity to instruments to illustrations to Julia Child’s kitchen to dresses of the First Ladies, and so much more. All of the exhibits, some ongoing, some temporary, give glimpses into the American past in more approachable ways than textbooks (for most people). Visuals, text, conversation, all of these can combine to offer a greater appreciation of American history. (Note: this is not to imply that the Smithsonian is not considered or should not be considered academic. It is meant to imply that subjects that seem “more fun” on the surface are just as educational and of academic, historical integrity. Discussions welcome.)

What does this have to do with Mickey Mouse?

Walt Disney, a brilliant cartoonist and a visionary, altered much of pop culture, everyday life, design, animation, and truly had a lasting impact on the country and the world. Walt Disney is part of our history. Walt Disney is “fun” history. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are standing testaments, albeit perhaps not exactly what Disney envisioned all along. Still, Disney World and Disneyland mean something to everyone. Cartoons, movies, family vacations, the ideal place to be, the happiest place on earth, romanticized nostalgia, everyone feels differently. Now, when discussing design and districts we sometimes compare a place to Disney World, however this often means it’s too neat and tidy and romanticized, not real.

Regardless of your feelings for Disneyland and World, it has captured the imaginations of many. Cartoons, live action movies, too, play a huge role in children’s games and adults’ memories. So, how about a Mickey Mouse museum? Where do all of those movie props, costumes, and other memorabilia go? Just as Disney has changed America, Disney has changed over time, even Mickey Mouse. An article in The New York Times, “Blowing the Pixie Dust off Disney’s Archives,” introduces readers to the Disney archives, where all of these magical elements of movies live, stored away carefully along with Walt Disney’s possessions and other things. For young and old alike, for all who love Disney, it would be quite the trip to see inside the archives.

Disney is hosting D23, an exposition featuring a fair portion of this memorabilia, however it is nothing permanent. Instead, Disney hopes to make it annual exposition, according to the New York Times. Disney lends objects to the Smithsonian and for research, but much remains unseen by the public. For some of these images, view the New York Times slideshow of Disney artifacts.

So, that’s not the museum. The museum is actually called the Walt Disney Family Museum. Located in San Fransisco, CA, it houses videos, sound, technology based exhibits, drawings of the first Mickey Mouse, and the history of the Disney Family. Visitors can attend lectures, participate in family programs, see many documentaries, and much more. See this New York Times slideshow for a sneak peek at the museum. After all, there is no reason why the study and viewing of Disney company memorabilia cannot offer incredibly insights to how America has changed since Walt Disney got his start in 1923. Attitudes about society, race, relations, entertainment, leisure, and the American family have all changed. Looking at Mickey Mouse can offer clues to our societal values. At the very least, the world is a much better place when people are continuously learning and opening their minds, deepening their knowledge, and making connections from one subject to another or from one person to another.

The museum opens October 1, 2009. Anyone going? Come back with a report!

Vermont Barn Census

Here in Vermont we love barns. Barns are symbols of the Vermont lifestyle that people live or at least envision. As my professor pointed out, barns are on the official highway road map. People picture big red barns amongst the rolling green hills.  However, agriculture is changing fast everywhere and that does not exclude Vermont. Ways of life are never immune to jumps and slips in technology and economy. Long winters wreak havoc on the historic structures and every year more are lost to the climate, to development, to lack of necessity, etc. How does one state go about documenting all of these barns and farm structures?

Meet the Vermont Barn Census, established by Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, Historic Windsor’s Preservation Education Institute, Save Vermont Barns, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Preservation Trust of Vermont with funding from Preserve America. The short version is this: volunteers across the state can visit the website, learn everything they need to start the survey, and then submit the information through the website. It’s an incredibly innovative way to involve the public’s help. Individuals, communities, historical societies, students, teachers, anyone is invited to assist on the census in hopes of, in the end, gathering a complete survey of Vermont barns in order to establish how many are standing, how many have fallen, and how the landscape has changed.

Insert the UVM’s Historic Preservation 206 class of Researching Historic Sites and Structures. As part of our class project, we are working on the census (and adding our own in class twist to research for other purposes). We’ll be out there photographing, recording, and later researching the barns and communities. Who doesn’t love a good barn? I’m psyched.

Across the country, my cousin Evan Robb, Project Manager of the Washington Rural Heritage project, informed me that Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation also has a Heritage Barns Project. I imagine many states have the same. Perhaps some could take a lesson from Vermont and enlist volunteers, if they do not already.

Do you live in Vermont? You can help! Join in the fun. The Vermont Barn Census “week” will be October 2 – October 12, which is supposed to be the peak of leaf season. (A good atmosphere always makes for good, fun work, but you can work on this project all year round.)

NPS – TPS Online Education

Historic preservation often serves as an umbrella term for related subjects such as restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. While the four are very similar, they are also very different. And, in actuality, they are not interchangeable terms. What’s the difference?

For an easy explanation read Telling Historic Preservation Time by Kay Weeks on the National Park Service (NPS) – Technical Preservation Series (TPS) Online Education. Weeks explains the difference between the four terms with an analogy to clocks and offers the following:

Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and retention of a property’s form as it has evolved over time. (Protection and Stabilization have now been consolidated under this treatment.)

Rehabilitation acknowledges the need to alter or add to a historic property to meet continuing or changing uses while retaining the property’s historic character as it has evolved over time.

Restoration depicts a property at a particular period of time in its history, while removing evidence of other periods.

Reconstruction re-creates vanished or non-surviving portions of a property for interpretive purposes.

Weeks’ article goes further and briefly discusses problems, benefits, and examples with each of the four treatments. Overall, it is a good introduction to the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Aside from this article the TPS Online Education section offers many useful guides including tutorials about historic preservation tax credits, identifying historic character, a discussion on rehabilitation, treatment guidelines and more. Theses sites are designed to be informative but useful to the average homeowner. You do not have to have a degree in preservation to understand them.

Graduate School

Welcome to Graduate School at the University of Vermont. Now, read. Well, okay, that’s not the sentiment exactly (it was much more welcoming and exciting) but I am already buried under books and books and books.

Textbooks and reference books.

Textbooks and reference books.

Architectural glossary, anyone?

Architectural glossary, anyone?

Heavy reading, well recommended books.

Heavy reading, well recommended books.

I mention this overload of books for a few reasons. 1) I love pictures of stacks or shelves of books. 2) I am not sure how to adjust the Preservation in Pink posting schedule (it’s only my first week of classes) so bear with me. If you’ve ever considered being a guest blogger on PiP, now would be the perfect time! Seriously! 3) Posts will continue, hopefully in a mixture of academic thoughts, current events, and grad school anecdotes. Suggestions are welcome, however. 4) All of these books would be great additions to your preservation library.

For those who have gone through grad school, you probably know how I feel this first week of school (aside from psyched for our projects and field work). Any advice for the rest of us? For those who are new to grad school like me, good luck! And for those who are not yet there, don’t worry – it’s an important, personal decision to decide on when (and if) to attend graduate school.

The University of Vermont (UVM) is great so far and at orientation we received “free” coffee mugs. This is my kind of place. Oh, it’s “UVM” for Universitas Viridis Montis, or University of the Green Mountains. On the seal the phrase is Universitas V. Montis, hence UVM.

Thanks to all of the readers for bearing with the change in schedule over the summer and now.