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Home arrowInclusiveness arrowJoyce Barrett Interview

Interview with Joyce Barrett: Executive Director, Heritage Ohio

Joyce BarrettWhat led you to the preservation field?

An affinity to historic buildings. My career had been with a historical society; then when my husband and I were restoring an 1881 Victorian listed in the National Register and local historic district I was asked to sit on the local Certified Local Government (CLG) design review board, next thing I knew I was working for a cultural resources consultant, and more opportunities followed from that point on. What fun, to work in a field that is also your passion.

Do you think preservation education matters? If so, why?

Yes. Living your best life has a lot to do with the community you live in and the way you engage with the community yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I think it makes a stronger community when one has as much respect for the past as they have hope for the future. So the quality of the community we inherit depends on people understanding that preserving the places that matter is about our collective future.

What courses do you recommend for students interested in this field?

The course work of real life. I think engaging in community activities is more important than course work. Being able to communicate and interest others in your passion is both a gift and a developed skill. [yes, of course I respect the courses and degrees, but they are meaningless if not used to involve people]

Can you tell us what you are working on right now?

In the preservation field we all do a lot of multi-tasking and I always have lots of projects on my desk. My most immediate concern has been advocacy for the federal historic tax credit. Historic preservationists are a very small constituency, so it really takes all of us to participate if we are going to save the single most important tool we have to rehabilitate historic buildings. Anyone who reads this interview, have you taken action?

Do you have advice for novice preservationists?

Get involved as a volunteer, your help is needed, develop new practical skills. Diversify your skill set so you have more options to grow professionally.  No task or job is too small to deserve detailed attention. Develop diverse partnerships to help the rest of the world understand how historic preservation is a basic need to our communities.

The ACHP's motto is "preserving America's heritage;" how is your community preserving their heritage?

Our most important tool for preserving Ohio's heritage is through the use of the Ohio Main Street Program, a grassroots approach involving a broad range of historic preservation minded people.

How do you think the national historic preservation programs help your community?

I think we depend on national programs to raise awareness and profile of preservation issues, and they also help provide the coordination between state organizations, so that we don't have to re-invent the wheel….we can network and find solutions that worked other places, and implement those here.

Have you worked on projects that bring education and awareness about preservation to your community?

We run several education programs, we have monthly webinars on a variety of revitalization and preservation topics, we hold building rehabilitation workshops to share tools such as the historic tax credits in locations around the state, and our largest workshop series is our Revitalization Series, which presents a variety of subjects that communities can use, as the umbrella to our more specialized Main Street Program.


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