National Park Service Stimulus to Help Historic & Cultural Sites

Posted on: April 23rd, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Denise Ryan

The Department of the Interior has announced the National Park Service projects to receive funding from the stimulus bill, better known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. According to the Interior Department, all of the projects receiving funding have been long-standing projects based on its capital planning process.

We are delighted that historic and cultural sites have received funding throughout the park system including Florida’s Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, New York and New Jersey’s Ellis Island Baggage and Dormitory Building at Statue of Liberty National Park, Arizona’s Casa Grande Ruins. However, we are disappointed the National Park Service did not allocate a larger share of the stimulus funding to help address the deferred maintenance needs of their 27,000 plus historic structures listed on the National Register.

You can see how your favorite National Park unit fared in the stimulus at this web site.

Denise Ryan is the program manager for public lands policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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.

Preservation is for Kindergartners… and Other Students

Posted on: April 23rd, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Priya Chhaya

How do we talk about Historic Preservation to toddlers, tweens and teens? As usual my thoughts about the subject came up during a conversation on Forum-L, the email list for Forum. One of our members wanted to know how to build a 15-minute program for kindergartners, and I found myself spending the rest of the day trying to come up with ideas that look at preservation and history in different contexts.

I know on some level it has to do with creating an appreciation for the built (and un-built) environment, something that is easier said than done. Like much of historical education, integrating preservation through classroom-based learning requires connections to testable standards. On the other hand, we all insert historic preservation into our work with historic sites—bringing in school children and families to reflect and understand why we work so passionately to protect these spaces and places.

Many of the answers from our Forum members focused on architecture, shapes and hands-on learning activities. For tweens, the National Park Service’s Teaching with Historic Places program has a whole series of lesson plans centered around historic preservation, and I know from my own senior year Applied History course with Jim Percoco at West Springfield High School (from the myriad posts on this blog from the students in Paul LaRue’s Research History course show) that high schoolers can often become preservation's best proponents. Maybe in the end it’s all a matter of finding the right hook, the message and the narrative that will take root and usher in new advocates for saving historic places.

All this being said—lets talk. What are your best strategies for engaging younger audiences into Historic Preservation? Do you focus on architecture, or advocacy? Do you talk about the historical narrative and its connection to our perceptions and beliefs about where we came from? Tell us about your successes and failures by commenting below!

Priya Chhaya is the program assistant in the office of Training and Online Information Services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation where she helps run Forum, the National Trust’s professional membership program.

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.

 

I don't believe anything I see on TV.

When it comes to reclamation, Thomas Filiaggi made me a believer.

When it comes to reclamation, Thomas Filiaggi made me a believer.

I'd argue that there's nothing "real" about reality shows, and I've never fallen for a late-night infomercial (even in fits of insomnia when I'm most vulnerable). I'm always weary of fancy production, and I consistently roll my eyes when Hollywood A-listers tell daytime talk show hosts that they eat what they want and never work out. Oh, and don't even get me started on the weatherman. Where'd they find that guy, anyway?

Unfortunately, that same skepticism follows me to one of my biggest boob tube weaknesses - home improvement shows.

These days, reclaiming and reusing materials is all the rage. The other day, I saw a guy (who lives somewhere I can't even afford to vacation) rip out dashboard vinyl from cars in a junk yard and create the coolest outdoor flooring I've ever seen in my life. Once I got past the ohh-and-ahh factor of it all, I couldn't help but mentally tear the whole project down. Maybe it's because I'm the kind of person who still refers to screwdrivers as the "star one" and the "line one," but I just can't get my head around that stuff. Do normal people actually do that?

The answer is yes.

Something

Check out that church.

Meet 25-year-old Thomas Filiaggi of Lynchburg, Virginia. A couple of years ago, he did exactly what many young people his age do; he graduated from college (he comes from a proud family of Virginia Tech Hokies) and took his hard-earned degree (he's a computer whiz kid) straight to an office job. Mission accomplished, or so he thought. Filiaggi's mindset started to change after several months behind the desk, and that entrepreneurial restlessness lead to an atypical side job - restoring a 19th century gothic church in downtown Lynchburg with his dad, Larry. Sound like anything you've ever seen on TV?

According to Filiaggi, this get-in-and-get-your-hands-dirty project opened his eyes to the world of architectural salvage. It also prompted him to do something many young people his age would never, ever consider.

"I decided to drop the office job to focus on my reclamation projects because, well, I was bored to death," Filiaggi said. "I was working in a stuffy office in a paper plant where there was no real personal satisfaction in the projects I was completing. At the end of the day, the end result was still paper production."

Fast forward to today, and you'll find Filiaggi (usually accompanied by his dad) scouring old barns, schools and factories for the interesting cast-aways that fuel his successful start-up furniture business, Loft3F. The father-son work on the church also continues, and the duo hopes to soon reintroduce the city of Lynchburg to the building as first-class event space.

"Old lumber has a patina that just cannot be replicated," Filiaggi said. "I do what I do because I love turning what most people would consider trash into something functional, visually appealing and unique."

Need to see it to believe it? Now you're sounding like me.

Something

The antique heart pine ceiling for the loft at the church. This wood came out of an old high school in Pennsylvania.

A side table made out of steel, brass hardware and pine. The pine was the siding from an old tobacco barn.

Somerthing

Two ten-foot doors for the church made out of antique heart pine.

Something

Reclaimed industrial pallet. The pallet is made out of steel and maple. It came out of a warehouse located in downtown Lynchburg, and was most likely used in the tobacco or shoe industry.

Interested in more fun green reads? Visit PreservationNation.org to see how the National Trust for Historic Preservation is celebrating Earth Day.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

 

Written by Denise Ryan

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but getting a home energy audit has been on my to-do list for at least three years. So what got me moving? What got me to face the “inconvenient truth” that my house leaks like a sieve.

The answer: guilt, a growing concern about global warming, and my public policy co-worker, Patrice Frey.

Patrice leads the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Sustainability Initiative, which recently launched the Preservation Green Lab in Seattle to preserve (sustainably, of course) older and historic buildings. Now, it probably won’t surprise you that we do “talk shop” at work. Thanks to these water cooler conversations, it wasn’t long until I was sufficiently inspired to, as Mahatma Gandhi would say, “be the change [I] wish to see in the world.”

As a first step, I visited Angie’s List, an independent website that provides hundreds (maybe thousands) of reviews for service companies in D.C. and beyond. I’ve had great experiences with them looking for everything from plumbers to pet sitters, so I logged on and searched for an energy audit company. And that’s how I found Pascale Maslin with Energy Efficiency Experts, an expert/entrepreneur who conducts all of the audits herself. Much to my surprise, we were able to schedule an audit just one week later. No chance to backslide now; we were moving ahead.

Something

Pascale prepares my front door for the blower test, which helped us track down leaks and drafts.

Now for some background on my house. Built in 1956 and located in Cheverly, Maryland, it’s a detached, three-level Cape Cod with three bedrooms, two baths and a full basement. In addition to some high bills, I’ve got very little attic insulation, original windows, an old furnace, an old air conditioner, and an odd temperature discrepancy between the main floor and the upper level. I’ve done some starter improvements here and there (installed a programmable thermostat, replaced light bulbs, put a blanket around my hot water heater, etc.), but I knew that nothing would compare to the expertise of a professional home energy audit.

On audit day, the first thing Pascale did was conduct a blower door test, which sucks all of the air out of the house so that drafts, holes and cracks are easier to detect. She built a custom frame around my front door and inserted a shockingly powerful fan through an elasticized hole. Once she flipped the switch, we (very systematically) walked the entire house checking for air coming through any and everything. Among other things, we found a leak in my fireplace’s flue vent and a good size hole around the pipe under my kitchen sink. Oh, and the door to the basement was a veritable wind tunnel! What was that about?

... 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.

Wisconsin, Home to Earth Day Pioneers

Posted on: April 22nd, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Trent Margrif

With Earth Day, many pioneers in the land preservation and conservation movement are recognized throughout the state of Wisconsin. Gaylord Nelson, former state Governor and United States Senator is widely credited with the invention of the concept of Earth Day in 1970. This legacy and the history of Gaylord Nelson are well chronicled and shared with images, speeches, and overall great information.

John Muir, a pioneering advocate of natural preservation and founder of the Sierra Club, lived at Fountain Lake Farm near Montello, Wisconsin during his youth in the 1850s. The formation of his conservation philosophy can be traced to the years he spent here. The site is a National Historic Landmark, though no structures associated with Muir’s period of residence currently remain. The farm is part of a 125 acre park owned, operated, and open to the public by Marquette County.

The Leopold Shack, viewed from the back.

The Leopold Shack, viewed from the back.

More recently, Aldo Leopold is viewed as a pioneer in the modern land conservation movement. In the 1940s, his ideas represented a shift towards preservation and appreciation of nature in an early impetus for the modern environmental movement. It was during his time at the family cabin, “the Shack” that he formulated these thoughts in the groundbreaking Sand County Almanac, published a year after his death in 1948.

In 2003, the Aldo Leopold Foundation received a grant of $5,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation towards a Historic Structures Report for the Leopold Shack. This report assisted restoration efforts and it currently is utilized for public education tours. Visitors can now experience the property as Aldo Leopold did and gain perspective on his thoughts regarding land conservation. The green restoration of the shack will be featured in an upcoming presentation on May 29th, 2009. Also make sure to check out the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center. It is a newly constructed building, but for awhile was the greenest building in the world and makes an interesting comparison with the Shack.

... 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.

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.