Reflections

This Place Matters: A Reflection (and Gallery) on Humble Places We Love

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The pagoda in New Orleans in 2011.
The pagoda in New Orleans in 2011

With Preservation Month all wrapped up, Ariella Cohen of Next City shared a lovely personal reflection on a place that matters to her: a quirky pagoda in New Orleans that survived Hurricane Katrina, neglect, and abandonment to find new life as a bustling community cafe.

Here's an excerpt:

By the time I made it back to the pagoda last spring, it was loud and happy and overflowing with activity -- the way I’d always thought it should be. A young man I recognized from the neighborhood was working behind the counter. A friend was playing guitar on the deck. The greens on my breakfast taco came from an urban farm staffed by New Orleans youth. The pagoda was -- and is -- a place that matters.

Read the full story and see the cafe's terrific transformation here. Bonus: a cool gallery of some of Next City's favorite "This Place Matters" photos from Preservation Month!

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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Photo Essay: Why Do Old Places Matter?

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 by Priya Chhaya

 

Santa Sabina, Rome. Photo by Nick Thompson via Flickr
Santa Sabina in Rome is an example of how a place can inspire awe and reflection.

In 2013 Tom Mayes, deputy general counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was selected as a winner of the Rome Prize, which is awarded to about 30 emerging artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence.

When he isn’t working on legal complexities, Mayes has been considering the role historic places play in everyday life. This prestigious award sent him to Rome on a six-month tour of discovery where he sought to answer the question: Why do old places matter? This photo essay presents Mayes’ answers along with links to longer posts on the Preservation Leadership Forum blog that explore the answers in more depth.... 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.

Historic Sites Matter Because…

Posted on: April 27th, 2015 by Priya Chhaya 5 Comments

 

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"They connect me to my past and present." -- Stephanie Riley, Acoma Sky City

Over the past 15 months, National Trust deputy general counsel Tom Mayes has been asking preservationists to consider the question: Why do old places matter? While his answers include memory, community, and ancestry, his goal is to paint a more complete picture of why historic places, landscapes, and spaces are important.

We had this theme in mind when a group of National Trust staff members got together earlier this spring to talk about interpretation and education at our 27 historic sites. These individuals work every day with objects, land, and buildings. They are intimately connected with their site’s history and are filled with passion for its place in the broader community.

So, we asked each of them to complete the statement “Historic Sites Matter because…” Their answers inspired us -- we hope they’ll inspire you, too.... 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.

 


The Whitney Plantation uses art to honor slaves that toiled there and elsewhere across the United States. Video courtesy of The Whitney Plantation from UNISON LA on Vimeo.

When I visit a historic plantation or a city’s museum, I often see spaces -- such as slave cabins, outbuildings, or smaller exhibits -- that take on the task of interpreting slavery or free African-American communities. When I see this, I take a moment to appreciate the plantation or museum’s effort, and how far our nation has come in interpreting a narrative that, not too long ago, was invisible to the American public.

Though I appreciate these efforts, what intrigues and excites me is what the following five historic sites have done. They have flipped the traditional script and interpret their sites from the perspective of the enslaved or free African-American community. Moreover, they educate visitors about the struggles of African-Americans in both slavery and freedom and how this struggle influenced their culture.

Using different approaches, all of the five sites work to spark a dialogue that will lead to understanding and reconciliation. Take a look to see what I mean.... 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.

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

 

By Erin Carlson Mast, Executive Director of President Lincoln’s Cottage

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Milton Shinberg speaking at the Lincoln Ideas Forum on April 10, 2015.

In an essay about Abraham Lincoln’s daily, 3-mile commute from the Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home to the White House, poet Walt Whitman observed, “I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln’s dark brown face, with the deep-cut lines, the eyes, always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression.”

Whitman concluded that, “None of the artists or pictures has caught the deep, though subtle and indirect, expression of this man's face. There is something else there.”

There is still something else there -- the spirit of Lincoln’s ideas lives on. This April marks the 150th anniversary of his untimely death, and historic sites, museums, and affinity groups across the nation are commemorating Lincoln through a multitude of exhibits and events.

At President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C., we created an array of programs examining the enduring legacy of Lincoln’s life and ideas, including an exhibit, a live retracing of Lincoln’s horseback commute, a memorial tribute inspired by 19th-century mourning practices, and the first annual Lincoln Ideas Forum.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

It’s Time to Tell the Whole Story

Posted on: April 14th, 2015 by Stephanie Meeks

 

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta about the critical importance of our diversity outreach efforts at the National Trust. The op-ed below, which appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this past Saturday, explains why we are working so hard on this, and how you can get involved. If you know of an overlooked place that matters, please tell us in the comments!

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Stephanie K. Meeks speaks at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center about the importance of diversity outreach efforts in preservation.

“Before the Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before Jefferson etched across the pages of history the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence, we were here. Before the beautiful words of the Star Spangled Banner were written, we were here.” So said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last-ever Sunday sermon, 47 years ago. He’s right. For too long, our history wasn’t told in a way that embraced the contributions and struggles of black Americans. Nor did the places we preserve reflect the true diversity of our common American story.... 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.

Stephanie Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks is president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.