Written by Priya Chhaya
Whew! How did the end of the year sneak up on us so fast?
This time last year, I was talking about writing my novel (I completed the first draft, though I got sidetracked by NaNoWriMo 2010 and started another book), traveling more (2010 brought me to India, Austin, San Francisco, Portland (Ore.), Miami, and New York City), and looking more closely at my eating habits as a means of connecting with my community and achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Looking back, I can say I was only partially successful with the third resolution. While everything I said in last year’s post still stands, making the change was a lot harder than I expected. I did become more conscious of the food I bought, trying for fresher vegetables at markets and making better choices about where I ate out. I also tried whenever possible to shop at local small businesses over national chains.
Clearly, this resolution is still a work-in-progress – an important one.
That being said, what a difference a year makes. I’ve seen some great artifacts and exhibitions – the real Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives, Written in the Bone at the National Museum of Natural History, and the Norman Rockwell paintings at the American Art Museum. I also toured Angel Island in San Francisco.
Here at work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it has been an exciting 2010 as well. Of course the biggest changes included saying farewell to Richard Moe and welcoming our new president, Stephanie Meeks. I'm psyched about a continued partnership with American Express and Partners in Preservation (they recently pledged another $10 million to extend the program to new cities), and loved this year’s National Preservation Conference in Texas. More personally, I'm proud of the work I did to launch our new Preservation Career Center.
2010 also brought a new appreciation for social media, some excellent new perspectives about my own personal heritage, and a growing awareness about public memory in the moment with the Civil War Sesquicentennial (are you following the Civil War on Twitter?).
So what about 2011? As a historian and a preservationist, what do I hope to accomplish by this time next year? In trying to stay away from lofty resolutions and focus on concrete, achievable goals, here are three things that I've come up with so far:
- Visit at least one new exhibition or historic site every month.
- Get my hands dirty. In my job, I don’t often have an opportunity to work with preservation in the field. So this year, I would like to work on a preservation project on the ground.
- Talk the talk and walk the walk. Continue to work towards a sustainable lifestyle, let everyone know the importance of preservation to the job market, and embrace new technologies to advance and change the perception of historic preservation within my own circle of friends, family, and colleagues.
The clock is ticking on 2010. What are your preservation resolutions?
Priya Chhaya is a program associate in the Center for Preservation Leadership at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She can be found on Twitter @PC_PresNation or on her personal blog, … and this is what comes next.