The Core of Preservation

What do you think is at the core of preservation? Do you think of houses, architectures, places, or something else? In my response post last week, I quoted Emily Koller from her blog post, which said that, “Historic preservation at its core is about possessing the emotional capacity to care about a place. Young people, as a whole, are not interested in preservation because we are mostly numb to the places in which we live.”  In the comments section, “kvl” mentioned that the idea of the core of preservation seemed interesting from an anthropological point of view. (Feel free to elaborate!)

I would say I agree with the first part of Koller’s statement — possessing the emotional capacity to care about a place. But, as I stated already, I certainly do not agree with the latter half of her statement, which is why I ask you, readers, how you define or identify the core of preservation.

Aside from caring about a loving a place, I see the core of preservation as quality of life (something else that I’ve often mentioned). A preservationist must understand that every place has a story and it is important to someone, even if the preservationist does not have an attachment to it. As preservationists we are working to give everyone the opportunity to honor their history and memories, while incorporating it into their daily lives with the end result of improving quality of life. Thus, the core of historic preservation for me reaches far beyond my own connections or lack thereof to a place.

Of course, you don’t have to agree with me or anyone else, but I’m interested in how preservationists identify their work — what drives you? You don’t have to define the entire field and its mission, but what makes up your preservation soul? Please share, I’m very interested!