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.

[Historic Real Estate] Preservation Personals: The Old Jail Museum

Posted on: April 24th, 2015 by Jamesha Gibson

 

Today we are beginning a new installment of Historic Real Estate called “Preservation Personals.” Instead of our usual For Sale-style ads, we're letting the historic properties speak for themselves. First up ...

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The Old Jail Museum

Gothic Revival Gem Seeks to Lock Down a Daring, Savvy Investor

The Old Jail Museum -- Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Seeking a bold and unusual venture? Like a little bit of the strange and spooky? Then you and I will make the perfect team.

I’m not like the other quaint little shops and houses in Jim Thorpe. To the contrary, I sit on a hill above the town, telling it like it is since 1871. If I seem a little rough around the edges, it’s because I have a hand-hewed stone exterior. (That's how Gothic Revival architecture rolls.)

I’m as exciting on the inside as I am tough on the outside. The tours that I host take guests into the two-level cell block, guided by the oak railing on the cast-iron staircase. Here, I tell them about the scandalous Molly Maguire trials during Jim Thorpe’s coal mining days. And I’ve been known to send chills up more than a few spines during the after-hours ghost tours.

But don’t limit my charms to my Shawshank Redemption-meets-Green Mile flair. I also have a sweet spot in the Warden’s Quarters. Picture this: After a long day of running the museum -- leading tour groups, selling informational booklets at the gift shop, keeping spouses from locking their partners in the cells -- you can kick back in the living room’s recliner, sip on a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and soak in the success of the day. Sounds cozy, doesn’t it?

See yourself here? Find out more about me.

Curious about buying a historic property, but not sure where to start? Read our toolkit series The Buyer’s Guide to Historic Homes and The ‘New Old House Starter Kit’ for Older and Historic Homes.

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.

 

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Atalaya Castle is a unique example of Moorish architecture infused with American craftsmanship.

In the Spring 2015 issue of Preservation magazine, Logan Ward takes readers on a road trip down South Carolina' s Grand Strand, where Myrtle Beach is located. Along the way he visits the ruins of Atalaya in Murrells Inlet, an 80-year-old castle part of Huntington State Park with a vibrant history of art and culture.

Today, Atalaya hosts an annual arts festival in September, drawing fine artisans and aficionados from around the country. Here, we take a fresh look at the estate with more photos by Jody Horton from our feature 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.

Geoff Montes

Geoff Montes

Geoff Montes is the Editorial Assistant for Preservation magazine. He enjoys Art Deco architecture, any activity that can be done at the beach, and cotton candy.

 

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.

[Preservation Glossary] Today’s Word: Mothball

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by Jamesha Gibson 3 Comments

 

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The city of Detroit mothballed the Ransom Gillis House in the early 2000s.

When I was a little girl, my parents and I would often visit our hometown near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, during the summer. I remember how, at the conclusion of our visit, my mom would scatter mothballs all over the couches and beds in the house to keep the mold and moth larvae at bay until our next visit.

I remember being glad to leave because the smell of the mothballs was unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, I was all for coming back to intact furniture, but I was also relieved that I didn’t have to live with the strong stench when I returned to Virginia.

This was my unpleasant sensory image of mothballs and mothballing. So when I came across the term “mothball” in a preservation context, I was pleasantly surprised.... 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.