Why (Teaching) Preservation is Cool

Posted on: February 4th, 2009 by Guest Writer 1 Comment



Our roving reporter in action.

As preservationists, we all have our short list of what makes us tick. It’s the historic home we live in, or that old drug store around the corner, or those stunning petroglyphs in Utah, or the newly-conserved Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian, or…

You get the point, but what about younger generations? What about “those kids today?” Is appreciating the past cool enough to cut through all the clutter and distractions hurled at them by MTV, MySpace and their Nintendo Wiis?

Well, according to the seniors in Paul LaRue’s Research History class, the answer is a resounding yes. To prove it, student Tyler K. set off as our roving reporter today, asking his classmates what they really think about their many preservation-focused class projects. Not only are they doing field work in Good Hope Cemetery (which we'll be documenting here all semester), they're also transcribing the stories of veterans who severed in all of our country's wars through the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

(And for the record, “Lash” is their nickname for their esteemed teacher, Mr. LaRue. If you’re suddenly reminded of old western movies, you’re dead on.)

Dennis A. – "Through the Vietnam transcripts that I’ve worked on, I’ve become accustomed to preserving the stories of those people who risked their lives for our freedom. Listening to stories about the era during which my father risked his life has given me a new outlook on life. It has also introduced me to some wonderful people in the process."

Jeremy M. – "Preserving things today is cool because I’m not only benefiting my generation’s education and knowledge, I’m benefiting all the generations to come after me."

Alyssa D. – "Preservation is good because it saves the valuable history of our town. I have the opportunity to write an article about a Civil War veteran in Fayette County. I also enjoy typing up all the transcripts that my fellow classmates work on."

Shannon M. – "Through our class, my respect for veterans has grown. I have enjoyed listening to their honest, first-person accounts of what they experienced. Each day, I am surprised at how much more I learn through the projects we work on, whether it’s researching and writing articles – like how Thomas Edison might have worked in our own town – or listening to transcripts. I’m definitely going to miss this class and listening to the amusing discussions the freshman have with Lash over economics."

Jon A. – "Listening and writing down transcripts is a major part of my day. It has been very interesting hearing first-hand experiences from World War II veterans. It has been especially rewarding since I had the chance to transcribe my own grandfather’s tape."

Matt M. – "Preservation is important because you have a chance to not only save something forever, but to learn about the stories that you are making immortal. When you research, you obtain information from primary sources that will not only live with you forever, but with all of those who wish to see your preserved work."

Jackie P. – "Preservation gives you an opportunity to get your nose of out the textbooks and into the past. You gain knowledge from first-hand accounts of historic events that happened in the world, your country and even your hometown. Preservation gives you the ability to capture a moment in history instead of reading someone else’s efforts to describe those events."

... 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.

The Stimulus Plan Straight Up

Posted on: February 3rd, 2009 by Jason Clement 1 Comment



Want someone to tell it like it is? Check out our new webpage dedicated to tracking the stimulus plan.

If you turn on the TV right now, you're likely to hear about one of three things: 1) Former Senator Tom Daschle withdrawing his nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services, 2) House Republicans and their laundry list of complaints over the Senate's stimulus package, or 3) President Barack Obama commenting on Jessica Simpson's weight during a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Matt Lauer.

Tomorrow, the graphics and the story lineups will change, but one thing will remain certain: the freight train of news generated by President Obama and the many people and ideas that he has brought to Washington won't be slowing down anytime soon.

If you're like me though, you really don't care about who snubbed whom on the Hill or who didn't pay their taxes. What matters are those sick-to-your-stomach headlines about who got laid off where today. Forget the he-said-she-said game; when are we going to see real relief?

If you feel the same way, you'll be happy to know that the National Trust has launched a new tracking and analysis webpage dedicated to the stimulus plan and the many hurdles it must clear before landing with thud on the Oval Office desk.

This is your resource for tracking the plan through the wiles of Washington, as well as monitoring how it will impact historic preservation in your neighborhood and across the country. You'll also find a special section for your feedback and ideas, which we hope you'll all use.

So join (and bookmark) us today as we continue to track what matters most. We promise it'll be Jessica Simpson-free.

Check it Out: The Stimulus Plan Straight Up

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.

Teaching Preservation: Digging Out & Catching Up

Posted on: February 2nd, 2009 by Guest Writer 3 Comments



Pink: The Official Color of Data Entry

On Tuesday, January 27, we received five inches of snow. On Wednesday, January 28, we received one inch of ice. And then later on Wednesday, we received another five inches of snow.

Sound fun? Welcome to winter in Ohio.

Unlike many across the country who were hammered by last week’s massive snow storm, we never lost power. What we did lose, however, was four consecutive days in the classroom. Oh darn.

Today, we’re back in school after digging out from our supersized weekend, which means that it’s time to pick up where we left off with our ongoing database project for the Good Hope Cemetery.

When we started, we were given 2,180 names, birth dates, and death dates for those buried at Good Hope. Between the two of us, it has taken about 13 hours to enter them into a spreadsheet document. To fight the boredom factor, we split the names up and turned the whole process into a contest. (One of us is winning by ten pages.)

Overall, it has been tedious, but the community will benefit from having a clearer picture of those who rests at the cemetery.

Oh, and if we disappear again for a few days at a time, check our weather forecast. Tuesday and Wednesday are already lookin’ a little iffy…

- Alyssa S. & Lynne M.

Alyssa S. and Lynne M. are seniors at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. This semester, they'll be working with their Research History classmates to document and preserve Good Hope Cemetery. Stay tuned as they share their experiences here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream.

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.


Cardiopulmonary Spatialization: Can architecture affect one's medical condition? "The sensorial experience of architecture could play a role in healing" or, as the project's owner explains, "spaces themselves should act as experiential platforms that provide a broader spectrum of environmental qualities, so that we may better understand their effects on our psychology – and ultimately, on our physiology." [BLDGBLOG]

DC and the Height of Power: "As other American fiefdoms fade, Washington looms larger than ever." [Washington Post]

Forney House Falls: A sad day for New Jerseyans who value the landmarks and neighborhoods that give our communities character:  the Forney House, the stately 19th century house and clinic on Milltown’s (Middlesex County) Main Street, was demolished over the weekend, to be replaced with a drive-through facility for Valley National Bank. [PreserveNJ]

We Built This City...: Architect Teddy Cruz tracks a new kind of urban ecology: Across the border from San Diego in Tijuana, a spontaneous urban space is taking shape off the radar of city planners, as an affluent city sheds its aging houses and its pieces are reassembled into creative dwellings for the poor. [The Nation]

Historic Equals Safe: "Transportation researchers Wesley Marshall and Norman Garrick fed the facts from more than 130,000 vehicular crashes into their computers in recent months, hoping for a systematic answer to a life-and-death question: How can America’s streets and roads be made safer?" This study shows that older streets are safer than those in newly developed areas. [New Urban News]

Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island:
Zira Island is a 1,000,000 sq meter island In the Caspian Sea that will soon be developed into an incredible eco-community and sustainably built resort. [Inhabitat]

And It's Groundhog 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.

Green Transformations (or: Back in the Blogging Saddle)

Posted on: January 30th, 2009 by Barbara Campagna


The Washington Monument on inauguration day.

The Washington Monument on inauguration day.

Happy New Year everyone! My apologies to regular readers who have been asking me if I fell off the blogging radar. (Yes, I did!) I took an extended blog time-out (two months) –- I seemed to need a rest after my heavy blogging months of October and November reporting from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Greenbuild conferences. (And no snickering from my friends who will remark that my blog time-out also exactly coincides with when my new beau entered my life… so, yes, new love and blog rants seem to be mutually exclusive!).

So, what’s happened in the green preservation world since November? Need I ask such a silly rhetorical question? Our world has begun to transform significantly with the seminal change in administration last week (yes, I was on the Mall with the other two million and despite the cold, loved every minute of it). My colleague Rebecca Williams posted a really thoughtful blog on windows. My other colleagues have prepared an intriguing “green your house” survey. (Take it now!) Many of my colleagues are busy at work promoting various preservation and sustainability policies for the potential stimulus packages that our new President is suggesting. We have new cabinet members who have been working to better our environment for many years –- such as Dr. Steven Chu from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California who is our new Secretary of Energy. And many of my fellow bloggers in partner organizations have been busier than usual.

One of my favorite blogs is Kaid Benfield’s blog, “Switchboard: The Environment is Now Open. Plug in.”  Kaid is the director of the Smart Growth Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of our Smart Growth partners and the smart growth part of the new LEED ND rating system. Kaid often looks at the big neighborhood picture of sustainable development and preservation, and always presents insightful viewpoints. I don’t always agree with him, but I always respect his thorough, enjoyable and flexible thinking and writing. I look forward to his postings, which are at the top of my blogroll and he writes more than just about anyone I know.

Last week his blog introduced a new feature sponsored by Urban Advantage. I encourage you to take a look at a new tool that will “help bring 'America the Beautiful' to the communities where we live, work, and shop” in an environmentally sensitive and preservation-worthy approach. As per Kaid:

“With generous assistance from our friends at Urban Advantage, NRDC has created a map of the United States featuring 70 locations across the country that are ripe for transformative change. Open the map, zoom in on a location and, without leaving our web site, you will be shown a Google Maps satellite view of the existing site, given some context about the metro area, and be treated to a brief slide show demonstrating how each can be converted, step-by-step, from sprawl, vacant property or disinvestment into a lively, beautiful neighborhood . . .”

So, I encourage you to start this new year, our greenest ever, by completing our “green your house” survey and then take a look at a metropolitan region you care about on NDRC’s new map. These tools may not stop greenhouse gas emissions but they will help frame the conversation

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.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.