Preservation ABCs: F is for Flamingo

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go. Enjoy! See previous letters.


F is for Flamingo

Historic preservation and the flamingo: an obvious connection to some, yet a puzzle to those new to the Preservation in Pink world. The beginning of the link between historic preservation and flamingos dates to Mary Washington College, ca. 2003-2006. You can read that story here. In brief, the flamingo has been the underlying bond between eight of us since graduation when we scattered across the country, and it became a way to tie each other together throughout studies, conversations and eventually across the world. Sending each other pink flamingos reminded us of our shared passion and the fact that there was a group of classmates and friends for support in any way. Admittedly, it has grown a bit out of control. (And it’s so easy now because flamingos are very much in vogue everywhere!)

The pink flamingo says to everyone that preservation is not all academics and only for professionals; it is a wide reaching field that applies to everyone. Preservation can be connected to folk art and material culture kitsch like the pink flamingo in addition to serious topics like national policies, building restoration, quality of life issues, transportation, local businesses and shaping the future of our communities. Preservation discussions can be held in the classroom, a board room, at a coffee shop, casually or seriously.

In the world of Preservation in Pink, the flamingo will always be a focus. Hopefully when you see a pink flamingo, you’ll think of the positive outlook and good effects that historic preservation has in your world, and you can teach others about it.

Keep sending flamingo links, thoughts, photos, etc.