Winter 2015 Forum Journal: Strategies for Saving National Treasures

By Forum Online posted 02-05-2015 15:54


In the past, editorial cartoonists routinely depicted determined preservationists having a last-minute face-off with looming bulldozers to protest the demolition of a grand old courthouse or historic theater. While that approach may have grabbed the headlines 50 years ago, today the preservation community has become much more strategic when it comes to protecting historic resources. It has an array of tools available, such as federal designation and Section 106 consultation, to protect sites. Preservationists have also become increasingly creative and sophisticated in finding innovative ways to reach new audiences and partner with new allies.

Four years ago, the National Trust began its National Treasures program by developing a revolving portfolio of historic sites to which the National Trust and its partners would give special attention and support. The chosen sites (and/or the strategies being used to save them) each have national significance, and each place contributes in some way to providing a fuller understanding of the American experience. Together, these National Treasures encompass a range of sites that allow us to focus on the national implications of preservation and tell a more diverse American story. From our efforts we have learned what strategies work well—and, in some cases, what strategies don’t work—when advocating for the preservation of historic resources.

In this issue of Forum Journal our contributors identify a variety of strategies that the National Trust and its partners have used to save National Treasures. You will read about innovative partnerships, creative social media campaigns, imaginative programming at historic sites, successful Section 106 consultations, and the pros and cons of federal designation.

We hope that the strategies and case studies shared here will inform, guide and inspire you in your own work to save the treasures in your communities.

This issue is available for Preservation Leadership Forum members only. If you are a Forum member, you should have received an e-mail from us about accessing the journal. If you download this issue of the Forum Journal to your Kindle, Nook, Android or Apple device, the enhanced features are best viewed using the Adobe reader app.

Not a Forum member? Questions? E-mail

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