Energy Candy, Electrolyte Water, and… Historic Preservation?

Posted on: April 24th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Written by Alissa Anderson

Northeast Office member, and official PiP cheerleader, Kate Pierce-McManamon manning the PiP booth.

Northeast Office staffer, and official PiP cheerleader, Kate Pierce-McManamon manning the PiP booth.

“Why, what’s that?” visitors to last weekend’s 2009 John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo asked themselves as they gazed toward the tall blue banners on the horizon, rounding the bend past Adidas and the VitaminShoppe. “Is it the new All-Natural Energy Candy I’ve been waiting for? Or perhaps a paraben-free backpack full of high-octane-electrolyte water that could keep astronauts hydrated for three weeks were they to land on Mars??”

Fortunately for these sharp-eyed visitors, the blue-bannered booth that awaited them was peddling something far more exciting: the chance to give away one million dollars in preservation funding! Yes, once again the Greater Boston Partners in Preservation (PiP) program was out among the public, spreading the word about the importance of preservation–this time in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center from April 17-19.

Sports Expo visitor casts her vote at www.PartnersinPreservation.com.

Sports Expo visitor casts her vote at www.PartnersinPreservation.com.

For a total of 23 hours during the Sports Expo’s three-day period, nine volunteers (three Northeast Office staff members and six intrepid others—including two who came from as far away as Walpole, MA) took turns staffing the Partners in Preservation booth, passing out PiP buckslips and helping Expo visitors vote for their favorite Greater Boston historic places on laptop computers. Though we initially felt a little out-of-place next to Timex Watches and across from Success Rice, the Expo quickly proved to be a great place to spread the word about PiP to those who might not hear about it otherwise.

In addition to the lean Boston Marathon runners and their families, many of whom were from other places in the U.S. and around the world, we also spoke to quite a few Greater Boston community members who hadn’t yet heard about the program. It was particularly fun when passers-by recognized one or more of the 25 PiP sites on our large poster and stopped to talk about their own memories of those places. One woman’s parents had been married in St. Peter’s Church and were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year; another woman, surprised to see St. Joseph’s High School in Lowell on the list, told us that she had been a member of the school’s last kindergarten class. Many people had ridden the Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach or had visited the New England Aquarium.

Northeast Office Director of Programs Alicia Leuba and family with volunteer Nick McDaniel.

Northeast Office Director of Programs Alicia Leuba and family with volunteer Nick McDaniel.

“The Aquarium is historic?” some asked us incredulously. “Why yes,” we told them, eager to explain the inclusion of Modernist architecture in preservation. “It set the standard for modern aquarium design. And it is 40 years old this year.” The clever response to this last comment we often received: “Well, if 40 is historic, what does that make me?” Clearly, a perfect candidate to vote online for your favorite Greater Boston historic places! we said with a smile, pressing another PiP buckslip into their hands.

To vote for your own favorite places, and to share your own stories about them, visit www.PartnersinPreservation.com today! It’s free, easy, and we guarantee the only side-effect is the joy and satisfaction that comes from preserving the historic places that matter most to you…

Alissa Anderson is intern at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office in Boston.

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.

Teaching Preservation: Lessons from the Field

Posted on: April 24th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

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Notes from the Teacher's Desk

Greetings, PreservationNation!

It’s been a few weeks since my last update (the move to our new digs has, of course, been fraught with technical difficulties), and man oh man do I have some exciting news to report.

First order of business: Potters Field.

Last week, Bryan R. blogged about his research of the families buried in this mysterious section of Good Hope. His piece solicited the following comment on the National Trust's Facebook page (where everything you read here gets fed):

This is wonderful. Not only are younger students getting an invaluable introduction to conducting historical research, they are also being introduced to one of the most neglected and often overlooked historical landscapes - the American cemetery. Potters Field in particular provides an especially complex set of issues. I think it's great to see them tackled like this.

I couldn’t agree more.
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Just a few of the old records my students have used to tell the story of Good Hope. Click for a larger view.

Our last two blogs on Potters Field (here and here) are what Research History is all about. The students got out of the classroom and experienced first hand what it means to put together a puzzle and tell history. In doing so, they learned that things are not always as they appear, and they used a variety of sources (from interviews to old ledgers like the one you see here) to figure it all out.

Another lesson from Potters Field has been a simple one about people. The word “pauper” (the bulk of those buried in Potters Field) is definitely not a part of teen lexicon these days, so that was a conversation in itself. The students were a little shocked to learn that certain people were actually buried without headstones. It was an interesting day in the classroom that day.

So, did we fully solve the mystery of Potters Field? Maybe not. Did the students get a learning experience unlike anything they would ever have in a classroom? Absolutely.

And now for the big news…

A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy M. blogged about our work to secure funding for a historical marker for Good Hope. I’m very pleased to inform you that we received word this week that we won a $2,000 grant to make this happen. Definitely more to come on that front, so please stay tuned!

- Paul LaRue

Paul LaRue teaches Research History at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. The ultimate “hands-on” classroom experience, his course takes students into the field to learn about preservation and community service. Stay tuned for what's left of this academic semester as Paul and his students document their project at Good Hope Cemetery here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream. Also, keep an eye out for future “Notes from the Teacher’s Desk” columns from Paul himself.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.