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The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, located across Beacon Street from the State House in Boston, serves as a reminder of the costs of the Civil War. Credit: Zemistor, Flickr.
The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, located across Beacon Street from the State House in Boston, serves as a reminder of the costs of the Civil War.

From where I stood the sun was bright, highlighting the perfect green of a lawn spotted with mingling groups of people, while sending slashes of light across the front of the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial. Located on a far corner of Boston Common, the faces brought into focus in the sculpture were individual, real, and determined.

As if on a loop, tour bus after tour bus whipped by and I caught snatches of voices talking about the “brave men of the 54th,” “Glory,” and “Denzel Washington.” But amid the cacophony one voice rose above the others -- a single park ranger animatedly describing the history of the first documented African-American regiment. He was speaking in front of the memorial to a group of visitors at what I realized later was the start of the Black Heritage Trail tour of Beacon Hill.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

 

Construction workers stand in the lighted scaffolding of the Washington Monument. Credit: Joe in DC, Flickr
Construction workers stand in the lighted scaffolding of the Washington Monument.

Earlier this summer a friend and I were driving home up I-395 when both of us stopped mid-sentence to gape at the skyline of our nation's capital. Looming before us was a spectacle of light, a familiar silhouette bathed in incandescence -- the Washington Monument brightening the night sky.

Enveloped in scaffolding for repairs following an earthquake in 2011, the monument was lit in early July by the National Park Service (much like it did for a previous restoration in 1998-2000), providing locals and visitors with a new view.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

How I Will Help My Niece Fall in Love With History

Posted on: July 17th, 2013 by Priya Chhaya 5 Comments

 

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A girl walks by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

In two weeks I am going to be an aunt for the first time. Needless to say my family is over the moon, and while the bulk of the awesome responsibility of raising my niece falls on my sister and her husband, I know that there is one thing that only I can do: get her to love history.

For many of us that passion and interest comes from our parents dragging our younger selves to various battlefields, museums, and historic houses -- field trips that in time allowed us to hone in on our love of the past. I also know that those same trips led others to avoid these places as adults, forever scarred by seemingly endless treks across cities and landscapes.

It’s a fine line between love and hate, but one that I am certain I can navigate. Here's how.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

 

Paris' Eiffel Tower from afar. Credit: Priya Chhaya
Paris' Eiffel Tower from afar

Stand at the edge of any city and close your eyes. Now open them. What do you see?... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

 

Wrought iron detail in Paris. Credit: Priya Chhaya
Wrought iron detail in Paris

For the first week of April I walked Paris.

My friend and I would greet the morning with a pan au chocolat, piecing together our agenda for the day before we strolled and meandered through this city of light, paying homage to monuments, memorials, museums, and memory. As hours chased the sun away, we would look back at our pictures and take notes, trying to capture the moments, ideas, and conversations we’d had just hours before.

Last month I wrote of the return, of re-visiting places you have already experienced and looking at them through the lens of life experience. In my case it involved two trips -- one to Paris and another to New Orleans, two cities rich in the tangible layers of the past.

Now that I have returned home I am left reflecting -- thinking how to document, preserve, and contain the taste, smell, and the feeling of being in two cities with so much character -- while understanding that no two visitors see a place in the same way.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.