preservationSTORY: A Technology and Interpretation Reading List

By Forum Online posted 10-03-2014 14:51

Editor's Note 11/7/2014: Last week preservation lost a giant in the field. Dr. Clement Price was a friend to preservation and a Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He will be missed.

PastForward_LOGO_RGBPreservationSTORY is the third track offered at the PastForward conference in Savannah. Taking place on Thursday, November 13, this track will focus on how preservationists can use modern technology, including geographic information systems and spatial data, to tell our stories about historic places. Attendees will also learn how historic sites are employing innovative practices and policies to engage new audiences. The track is sponsored by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri). This track is filled with excellent speakers and content, so to help you get the most of these presentations and Learning Labs, we have prepared an annotated reading list to get you up to speed on current research and practices. (Also read the lists for preservationVENTURE and preservationCRISIS.)

David Gadsden, administrator for the Esri Nonprofit Organization Program, will be the keynote speaker at TrustLive: preservationSTORY. Esri, a geographic information system software and services firm, equips nonprofits, educational organizations, governments, and NGOs around the world with GIS technology.

Esri’s Conservation Program,  for example, has helped hundreds of cultural resources organizations use GIS to document and preserve their heritage digitally. In September, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Esri, in partnership with Wilderness50, released a list of the 10 most inspirational wilderness conservation maps by federal and nonprofit agencies whose mission is to protect and preserve wilderness. You will also want to read this 2012 ArchNews article about the Hopi Landscape Portal, a University of Redlands project that mapped Hopi Tribe ancestral villages.
 A screen shot of the Friends Of San Diego Architecture’s residential architecture map created using Esri technology.| Credit: Screenshot captured by Melita Juresa-McDonald
A screen shot of the Friends Of San Diego Architecture’s residential architecture map created using Esri technology.| Credit: Screenshot captured by Melita Juresa-McDonald
The National Trust’s president, Stephanie Meeks, will moderate TrustLive: preservationSTORY. At the National Main Street Conference in Detroit, Meeks urged participants to take an innovative approach to revitalizing cities by renewing and promoting historic buildings and districts. She introduced new research--Older, Smaller, Better: Measuring how the character of buildings and blocks influences urban vitality--from the Preservation Green Lab (PGL), which demonstrates how cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C, experienced neighborhood economic revitalization through the renovation and use of older commercial districts and corridors. Her speech “Urban CPR: Community. Preservation. Resurgence” is available on the Preservation Leadership Forum Blog.

Mike Powe, the PGL principal researcher for the “Older, Smaller, Better” report, will be one of the responders at TrustLive: preservationSTORY. His March blog post “Big Data: A New Frontier in Historic Preservation?” provided an introduction to big data and how it can be used by preservation professionals to make the case to a broader audience that historic preservation and urban revitalization are compatible. In another post, “Older, Smaller, Better – Exploring Sources of Character and Urban Vitality Data,” Powe explained how the PGL collected and explored building character and vitality data from a variety of public and private sources.  In the post “Jane Jacobs and 21st-Century Preservation,” Powe discusses how Jane Jacobs’ activism and theories of neighborhood vitality are applicable to the modern historic preservation movement as a tool for neighborhood revitalization. His post “Older, Smaller, Better: New Research from the Preservation Green Lab” highlights the report’s primary findings such as: Older, mixed-use neighborhoods are more walkable and attractive to young people, making them more economically competitive than neighborhoods with larger, newer structures.

Joanna Ogburn, director of Programs for the Chesapeake Conservancy, will also join Gadsden, Meeks, and Powe at TrustLive: preservationSTORY. Ogburn will discuss the James River geo-mapping project and its use as a tool for conserving and surveying cultural resources. In 2011, in partnership with the Chesapeake Conservancy, the James River Association and National Geographic Maps launched a collaborative initiative entitled Envision the James: A Vision for the James River Watershed. This report presents the partnership’s vision for the future of the James River.

Clement Alexander Price, a history professor at Rutgers University, will be one of the speakers at a Learning Lab in the preservationStory track called “Breathing Life into Legacy Cities.” Price recently gave an interview to RADIUS magazine, in which he talks about Newark as a Legacy City and its renaissance and preparation for its 350th anniversary. Price spearheaded and narrated “The Once and Future Newark” documentary available on YouTube, which highlights many hidden treasures and diverse historic sites in Newark. You may also hear Price talk  about the changing Black experience in the state of New Jersey in a separate interview with “NJ Today” given during Black History Month in 2012. In his blog post “When Historic Sites Reveal the New American Past: Reflections on History, Memory and the Unknown” Price examines how historic sites provide opportunities to build on our country’s increasing understanding of the complexities of our historical stories, particularly in relation to Emancipation and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Learning Lab “Changing the Story: The Process, Potential, and Pitfalls of Telling New Stories at Historic Sites” will explore how telling stories in new ways to audiences is an integral part of re-imagining historic sites. In “Students Opposing Slavery: Continuing Lincoln’s Fight for Freedom,” Callie Hawkins, the associate director for Programs at President Lincoln’s Cottage, discusses Student Opposing Slavery (SOS), a student-led organization raising awareness against human trafficking and modern-day slavery, which holds its annual summit at President Lincoln’s Cottage. In “Living History Offers a Sense of “Beingness” at Cliveden,” David Young, executive director of Cliveden, explains how Cliveden opened the site to high school playwrights who prepared a “day in the life” performance based on the history of the site.

We also suggest you read/watch the following posts by Deborah Ryan and Frank Vagnone of the Historic House Trust of New York City:

...and finally for some cutting-edge engagement and interpretive tools take a look at  Nina Simon's blog Museum 2.0--especially her tag Technology Tools Worth Checking Out. Simon is the executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History and author of The Participatory Museum.

We hope you find this reading list informative! If there are any more resources that you think would be useful be sure to include it in the comments section and come back next week when we will post a reading list for the preservationTOMORROW track.

More From the Preservation Leadership Forum Blog

Forum Members Only

#Education #Savannah2014 #PastForward

Get Connected

Discuss this blog post and more on Forum’s new online community. Sign up now.