Enhanced Content: Preserving Difficult Histories

By Priya Chhaya posted 08-17-2017 16:40


The Preservation Leadership Forum recently released the newest issue of its Forum Journal: “Preserving Difficult Histories.” This issue, published in partnership with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, focuses on the interpretation and preservation efforts at places associated with difficult, and often untold or underrepresented, histories. The articles present a wide array of tactics and strategies that emphasize the importance of place in interpreting some of our nation’s most painful periods.

Spring 2017 Cover

In addition to articles, every issue of the Forum Journal includes additional content meant to elevate the discussion and further engage readers on the theme. These pieces of enhanced content take the form of blog posts, videos, audio clips, reports, or guides—all meant to complement and reinforce the articles with which they are paired. These are the enhanced content pieces for the “Preserving Difficult Histories” issue, broken down by article.

Introduction: Reframing the Historical Narrative at Sites of Conscience 

Both pieces presented with the introduction are Forum Blog posts.

The Stories We Collect: Promoting Housing as a Human Right at the National Public Housing Museum 

We paired this article with a video of Jamie Kalven, writer and human rights activist at the Invisible Institute, discussing the relationship between public memory and public policy at PastForward 2015. Kalven elaborated on his thoughts in a fall 2015 Forum Journal article, which is now available in the Forum Library.

Angola Prison: Collecting and Interpreting the Afterlives of Slavery in a National Museum

To support this article about building collections from Angola Prison at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we linked to a toolkit from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and several resources related to Eastern State Penitentiary: a Forum Blog post and a clip from PastForward 2016.

The Community Proposal to Save Shockoe Bottom 

To accompany this interview with representatives from three organizations that supported a community to proposal to save Shockoe Bottom, the site of the slave trade in Richmond, Virginia, we included three videos featuring voices from the community explaining the importance of the site. Watch the second and third videos on YouTube.

Tule Lake: Learning from Places of Exception in a Climate of Fear 

The resources we paired with this article about one of the many WWII–era Japanese internment camps include readings from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience and the National Park Service, as well as a Forum Blog post and a previous Forum Journal article.

The Fight to Save Blair Mountain 

The enhanced content accompanying this piece—a Forum Blog post and a Forum News article—focuses on the National Trust’s work with Blair Mountain.

Turbulent Water: The Dakota Access Pipeline and Traditional Cultural Landscapes 

The final piece in this issue, which looks at the challenges that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faces as it opposes the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is paired with a booklet about preserving Native American places from the National Trust law department and a recent Forum Webinar on the subject.

Want to read the full Forum Journal?

The four most recent issues of the Forum Journal are available exclusively to Preservation Leadership Forum members. Not a member? Join Forum today to enjoy this content and join a network of preservation professionals! 

Members can access this issue by logging in using the blue button at the top right corner of this page. First time logging in? Follow these steps to set up your account:

 Any problems with access? Contact us at

Priya Chhaya is a public historian and the manager for online content and products at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Follow her on Twitter @priyastoric.

#ForumJournal #ForumBenefit #JournalEnhancedContent #Interpretation

Get Connected

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