Activating historic spaces hinges on engaging audiences, existing and new, in the reimagination of a site. Successfully activating places requires a dual connection: the contemporary reanimation of a place must both credibly incorporate its past and authentically resonate with its present-day visitors. There are many ways to achieve this effect—commercial or nonprofit, utilitarian or aesthetic, ephemeral or permanent. But whether using art installations to awaken a dormant industrial site, drawing the forgotten narratives out of a riverside landscape, or incorporating the story of a minority-owned restaurant into a site's revival, it is the buy-in from patrons and customers that truly determines the resurgent relevance of a historic space.
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The Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a network of preservation leaders — professionals, students, volunteers, activists, experts — who share the latest ideas, information, and advice, and have access to in-depth preservation resources and training.
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