Take a Preservation Vacation

Preservation in Pink January 2010

Going somewhere or do you just want to go somewhere? A handful of articles in the latest PiP Newsletter mention great places to visit.

Visit Hildene in Manchester, Vermont with Meghan Bezio (page 12)

Visit Oklahoma City with Maria Gissendanner (page 4)

Travel to Maine with Andrew Deci (page 5)

or take an amazing preservation service trip with Jamie Donahoe and Adventures in Preservation (page 14)

Have fun!

The Importance of Preservation Education

Preservation in Pink January 2010

Heritage education as a concept has many definitions and is used to refer in a generalized way to integrating historic preservation aspects into lesson plans or activities. Heritage education is slowly finding its way into classrooms and museums all over the country. The built environment is one of the most accessible and familiar resources to students of all ages, and by formally educating students to its worth and societal contribution they will be more apt to protect and venerate historic elements.

To read more of “Foundations in Education: The Importance of Heritage Education” by Kerry Vautrot turn to pages 10-11 in the January 2010 issue. See also her recommended list of Historic Preservation books for kids

Cartoons & A Research Mystery

Preservation in Pink January 2010

How about beginning your reading with a story about historical research and a job that shows just how compelling historic preservation can be. Read “Discovering Dinah Mason White in Windsor, Vermont” by Heather Cox:

Dinah Mason White was thirty-two years old when she was sold as a slave to Judge Stephen Jacob of Windsor, Vermont in 1783 by Jotham White of Charleston, New Hampshire. She remained in the Jacob household—despite Vermont‘s anti- slavery Constitution—until 1800, when she was so sick, blind, and infirm that the judge allegedly threw her out of his house. With nowhere else to go and no other resources at her disposal, Dinah became a ward of the town…The story of Dinah and her troubles do not end there, unfortunately.

To continue reading, go to page 3 of the newsletter (link above).

Need something fun for a Monday? How about a preservation comic strip! Read The Amazing Adventures of Pip the Flamingo (page 19).

Latest PiP Newsletter – Hot Off the Press!

Presenting the long-awaited January 2010 edition of the Preservation in Pink newsletter!  Find the issue below, on the newsletter page, or through your email.  Click here to download and read: PreservationinPink_Jan2010. (It will open – a pdf – just give it a minute or email preservationinpink@gmail.com for your own copy.)

Thank you to all contributors. Readers, please share this newsletter with anyone you know who may enjoy it. Spread the preservation love. Once it’s open in your browser, you can feel free to save a copy to your computer.

Can’t read all 20 pages at once or don’t know where to start? Each blog post this week will feature a snippet from one or two articles with a link to the newsletter.

*Viewing tip: if you open it in Adobe Reader, choose  “View” — “Page Display” — “Two-up Continuous” for the best visual effect.

Enjoy! Please share thoughts, comments, and suggestions.

Creative Commons License: (click on the following for explanation) “Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States”

Newsletter Notes & Noteworthy Blogs

Newsletter Update: The January 2010 issue of Preservation in Pink will be posted here and emailed this Monday January 11.  It is filled with interesting, diverse articles, so be sure to check back for it. If you are not on the email list or for some reason cannot download the newsletter pdf, please email me at preservationinpink@gmail.com and I’ll gladly send it.

Noteworthy Blogs: Lucky for preservationists, there are new preservation related blogs popping up on the internet, all of which have their own style, interest, and flavor. Here are just a few that I read and perhaps may interest readers of Preservation in Pink:

My Own Time Machine: Buildings, Place, People & Things (an excellent, always interesting history, preservation-and-then-some blog by Philadelphia based preservationist Sabra Smith)

The Green Preservationist (sustainability, architecture, historic preservation & Chicago by Chicago based preservationist Carla Bruni)

The View From Here (loving historic houses, restorations, and the past by Linda Sunderland)

Looking Glass Antiques (finding antique treasures -often amazing photographs- and selling them to people who value them even more by fellow UVM student Brennan Gauthier)

Take a visit to these blogs and if you have others that you love, add them in the comments.

Anthropology, Archaeology, Space, Historic Preservation

Every once in a while, someone writes an extremely detailed and well thought out comment on PiP. Since I am unsure of how many people read comments I post, I like to share them with all readers by making it a separate post. Here is one such example.

First, read the Landmarks Shaping Me post. Now, to the comments. Kristin Landau is a PhD student at Northwestern University in Illinois; she studies anthropology and archaeology as reflected by her comments. Often Kristin draws connections between anthropology and historic preservation. See below and feel free to continue the conversation:

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I think what’s most interesting about space/place [space being a mathematical function and place being infused with meaning, cf. de Certeau] is exactly as you say: we shape and are shaped by space/place. Conceptions of space/place are thus recursive or dialogic and they are multiscalar. We influence and are influenced by, make and are made by, places at all levels – individual, familial, community, societal, regional, hemispherical, etc. So the group of us who spent a lot time in Mrs. Morahan’s room made that room what it was – gave it its meaning. The room, in turn, shaped our last few years of high school, on an individual and group level as you demonstrate, Kate.

More challenging is getting at notions of space/place in other cultures (e.g., Japanese mobile [shoji] screens, which act like dividers rather than walls in a house) and how they change (or not) over time and geography. In archaeological contexts for example, concepts of space/place are inferred by referential linguistics (when/if written language exists) or representations of space (i.e., murals and iconography) or settlement patterns and elements of city planning. I would argue that universally, notions of space/place are primarily structured by so-called astronomy as well as the geographic landscape. The movements of the sun, moon and stars from and with the Earth’s perspective is formative. This would do well to explain the similarities – and differences – among creation stories the world over.

Within archaeology, the subfields of landscape and cognitive archaeology (and more generally British social anthropology) assess critically notions of space/place. For a long term paper this year I am working on explicitly incorporating these two fields with archaeoastronomy – the study of the practice of astronomy in culture. I argue that studying another culture’s astronomy (or astronomIES) will lead us to a better understanding of how they thought about things, how they conceived their landscape and how they made sense of and ordered their universe (i.e., worldview and cosmology). And we would also approach a more refined understanding of concepts of space/place and place-making. This, in response to some who have stated the futility and irrelevancy of archaeoastronomy for anthropology.

Nevertheless, your points bode well Kate, and it seems like historic preservation and anthropology intersect and can be mutually informative in the realm of space/place.

Preservation Photos #14

View from Millenium Park in Chicago, which has made an excellent first impression. Talk about architectural eye candy.

2009 Reflections & 2010 Resolutions, Preservation Style

Happy New Year! May you and yours find health, happiness, and success in this new year. How was your 2009? Upon the conclusion of 2008 I looked back at my own preservation efforts throughout the year and looked ahead to 2009 with new goals and resolutions. Mostly I hoped to develop a better definition/explanation of historic preservation that I could easily share with people, something more cohesive and fluent than I previously used, which was always longer and more winding than necessary. I hoped to read important, landmark preservation books that sat on my bookshelves.

How did that go? Well, I have an explanation of historic preservation that suits me and my views on the field. Depending on our particular preservation professions, passions, and preferences, we may all have variations, but I will share mine:

Historic preservation can mean different things to different people. Collectively historic preservation is looking towards the future with respect for the past. It’s understanding communities, ways of life, the built environment, and heritage values in the sense that we need to remember the past in order to create a brighter future. And methods for doing that are the facets of historic preservation: architectural history, historical research, community and preservation planning, oral history & folklore, museum studies, economic revitalization, archaeology… the list goes on. Historic preservation provides the ability to shape and direct a world in which people are proud of where they live and who they are, even though that definition may be different for everyone. And when people have pride in their home, they are happier, and every action matters more and that is how we create a better world. That is how historic preservation can save the world. Granted, that’s simplified, but I will always believe in it.

I think in its basic understanding, this explanation will always be the core of what I love about historic preservation and what keeps me going, why I study the subject and think about it constantly and why it is never a chore; it’s my life. I truly believe in it and its great practices and continued unharnessed potential. I am happy to have finally developed this definition for myself (after being asked many, many times). What do you think?

As for books I have read, there are always more to read, but this year I particularly enjoyed How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built by Stewart Brand and A Richer Heritage edited by Robert E. Stipe. I look forward to a lifetime education fulfilled by the ever-increasing number of books available to read.

So, how was 2009? Unfortunately, the year ended on a sad note for many people with the demolition of the Lake Champlain Bridge in New York and Vermont. For all of the preservation success stories, this most recent preservation tragedy remains fresh in my mind. The upside is thinking that the story of the Lake Champlain Bridge can serve as a lesson and a reminder to all of us about just how fragile our built environment is and how we need to be proactive in identifying historic resources and educating in a cross-disciplinary manner.

In 2010 and this new decade, we are sure to see historic preservation grow and touch the lives and environment of many. That may sound obvious, but I mention it because historic preservation is certainly not a dying field; we are forever gaining momentum, knowledge, cooperation, and useful technology. Historic preservation continues to succeed because of its applicability from sociology to economics to science. All preservationists should be proud of the field.

More specifically, regarding a resolution for 2010, I could of course talk about education goals, but that’s a given considering that I am currently in graduate school. So, moving beyond academia: there are so many subjects that interest me (likewise many people find this) yet I know only snippets about, thus limiting my understanding and conversation on the topic. For example, I love the National Parks, and I am familiar with some, but really I cannot claim to know very much about them. Tonight I watched part of  the PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea with my family and found it fascinating. (I am likely behind the times in watching these; blame grad school.) The amount of information is immense and as one narrator said, the stories of the parks are more than just parks and conservation, they are about the people who became enamored with these places so much that they did everything they could to preserve them. It made me think of preservationists, since we often find ourselves in love with places and stories, which then fuels our missions. And I thought of how the National Parks are such an important part of the historic preservation field (history, stories, buildings, landscape, interpretation, culture, etc.) and how I wished more people had a yearning to travel to the National Parks. These are places that are best understood and respected when seen by individual eyes. Otherwise, they may seem irrelevant.

I talk about the National Parks to say that I want to know more about them and to learn more about the overall story of the parks and the connections to the field of historic preservation. As Theodore Roosevelt said of the National Parks, “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”  What a beautiful thought and what a thought-provoking statement.

So, whether you love the National Parks or your local history or that historic era, if you find yourself fascinated by something and you are known to say, “Oh I love [insert subject here]” but you only know tidbits, challenge yourself to go a step further and educate yourself. In turn you will likely be deepening your passion, your education, and the education of others. Historic preservation succeeds when everyday people like us understand the history and significance of a place or an event and teach others what we know. Without a community of education, informal or formal, and care, we will lose momentum. Luckily, preservationists and preservation friends will always persevere.

Cheers to a productive, proud 2010!