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Home Working Together to Build a More Inclusive Preservation Program
The changing demographics of America pose opportunities as well as challenges for the national historic preservation program. The diversity of cultures in our country shape and enrich the American experience, and the federal government can continue to encourage wider involvement and representation in determining what historic sites are worthy of recognition and preservation; how history and cultural heritage should be valued, interpreted, and preserved; and how we can ensure the American public as a whole can take advantage of the programs and tools created under the National Historic Preservation Act. The ACHP is pursuing efforts in all aspects of its work to build a more inclusive preservation program. This Web site will become a portal and resource for the American public as well as our partners to see all the opportunities available to fully engage in historic preservation.
These are the Preservationists in Your Neighborhood-New Feature!
The ACHP is presenting a series of articles to showcase different professions that make up the whole of historic preservation work.
Building a preservation ethic is an important lesson for today’s young people. We hope to encourage youth of all backgrounds to care for the places that are important to them. Our Facebook page is aimed at reaching youth, teachers, parents, and anyone interested in preservation for “the next generation.” You can “like” us at Preservation-The Next Generation on Facebook.
As well, a variety of service learning opportunities exist to get youth involved in historic preservation:
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership has provided exceptional immersion projects for students throughout its National Heritage Area from Gettysburg to Monticello.
Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student:
The ACHP partners with organizations and federal agencies to support youth summits to engage young people in civic duty, appreciation of historic places, and community involvement. Together with Colorado Preservation, Inc. students in Colorado have had many opportunities to care for their special state sites.
The National Park Service has an extensive array of Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans that incorporate historic sites into K-12 learning, aiming to excite students to the wonder of diverse historic places across the country.
Designated Preserve America Communities number 892 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. They have as their hallmark a dedication to preserving the unique cultural heritage of their towns and neighborhoods. Use of the Preserve America program promotes the recognition, preservation, and appreciation of the full range of the nation’s cultural heritage. A sizable percentage of Preserve America Communities recognize and celebrate cultural and ethnic heritage including Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, CA; Ironbound Community, Newark, NJ (“Little Portugal”); Mt. Pleasant, SC; Lancaster County, PA; Little Italy, San Diego, CA; and Boise, ID.
Preserve America Stewards, totaling 39, have as their core a demonstrated and successful use of volunteer time and commitment in order to help care for our historic heritage. Ongoing recognition of Preserve America Stewards' volunteer efforts from a cultural and ethnic heritage perspective include Friends of Iolani Palace, Honolulu, HI; Grand Ltd. Order of Odd Fellows, Sandy Spring Lodge, MD; Oberlin Heritage Center, Oberlin, OH; New Bedford Heritage Society, New Bedford, MA; Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, Kutztown, PA; German Texan Heritage Society, TX; Museum at Eldridge Street, New York.
One could make the argument there’s a “historic renaissance” of sorts happening in Cleveland, Ohio, pushing the city’s history to the forefront is the progressive app: Cleveland Historical. Born out of the Euclid Corridor History Project in 2005, Cleveland Historical was created by two Cleveland State University (CSU) professors, Mark Souther and Mark Tebeau, as a way to put Cleveland’s vast history at people’s fingertips - literally. Available for both iPhone and Android users, this app takes users through the city of Cleveland’s history through the use of text, photos, and audio/visual content.
When the app was developed in 2008, it was the first of its kind, and was publishing content that had previously been unavailable and inaccessible to the everyday person curious about their community. While Cleveland Historical is a great tool for learning about the general history of Cleveland and its diverse neighborhoods, the huge perk of this app is that it provides several untold and “lost” stories of specific communities throughout the city. Both staff and students at the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at CSU contribute stories and history to the project, and oftentimes receive insight and direction from residents of the community. Souther says he pushes his students to discover stories even if there is no landmark or historic registry in place. “The story is there and important regardless of a physical place,” he said. Another added bonus to the digital platform is the ability for interaction and engagement from readers, especially members of the community who can offer up more information or generate leads for new stories.
The app runs on a platform called Curatescape, which was developed by the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities, along with Epstein Design Partners, DXY Solutions and operates on the Omeka content management system. Curatescape is specifically designed to “curate your landscape” with multimedia content based on where you are geographically located. Easily accessible for non-profits, museums, and preservation agencies, Curatescape was developed because of the rapid shift toward mobile use. The “mobile revolution” as the Pew Internet & American Life Survey calls it, is transforming the way people access information. According to this survey, “[b]y 2015, more than 75 percent of people will use mobile devices to access information on the Internet and as much as 15 percent of all the Internet’s traffic will go through mobile devices.” It was with this mindset that Curatescape was created, and multiple historical societies, preservation agencies, as well as museums have already adapted the framework for their own mobile apps. Baltimore Heritage, Virginia African American Historic Sites Database, and Smithsonian Community of Gardens are just a few of the groups currently using Curatescape.
For further information on Curatescape, Cleveland Historical, or the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University please click here.
East at Main Street Focuses on Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage
As part of the ACHP's mission of building a more inclusive preservation program, we love finding new resources and projects that represent communities throughout the country. One of our newest finds is a great new mapping project created by Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP). The project, developed by Donna Graves and Michelle Magalong, began as a way to connect technology with preservation, and also create a helpful tool for the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community to discover and share their own history. With the help of HistoryPin, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, East at Main Street is an impressive resource for the APIA community.
Needham Castle is Found-Thanks to Historic App
Stemming from our recent story about the Cleveland Historical app, we’d like to highlight some specific stories they make mention of. Where a grocery store currently stands, there once was a grand Cleveland mansion that locals called Needham Castle. Full of stories that range from “brilliant evening parties” before the Civil War, to a possible stint as a stop on the Underground Railroad, this home is certainly worth noting as an interesting piece of Cleveland history. However, Needham Castle or Castle Needham as it was originally called, was unfortunately another casualty of the 1950s bulldozer mentality. This home, not unlike many others in the area, was torn down in 1954 and replaced by a Kroger grocery store.
The story of Needham Castle, while particularly interesting as a lost piece of Cleveland history, is exemplary also of the positive effect technology can have on these stories. This is where the beauty of this historic home’s history being featured online comes in. While there is plenty of written information on this home, which was a neighborhood icon during its time, finding any type of image proved to be rather difficult. After copious amounts of searching through public records for images of the home, the researcher and author, Jim Dubelko determined there were not any to be found. That is until the story was published on Cleveland Historical and a certain member of the community was able to offer up something special.
Upon seeing the story on the Web site, a descendant of Herman and Ida Stuhr (residents of Needham Castle during the late 19th century) offered up something previously thought to be lost to time: images of the stately home. This descendant had in her personal collection sketches and photographs of Needham Castle that, if not for the Internet, never could have been shared with the public. Read the story.
Travel Itineraries provided by the National Park Service offer plans for amazing vacations involving historic places. Many of them involve National Register-listed properties as well as Preserve America Communities.
The ACHP’s Office of Native American Affairs has as its mission the quest to make sure American Indian and Native Hawaiian interests are considered in historic preservation work across the country. This is enhanced by a presidentially appointed Indian tribe/Native Hawaiian organization member of the ACHP as well as the addition of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers as an ACHP observer.
The ACHP and partners are working together to collaborate on ways to build a more inclusive preservation program where all American citizens feel that they can and should preserve their heritage and promote it proudly. Agency Web sites direct you to their own projects. Participation in Section 106 reviews to encourage effective outreach to diverse constituencies and ensure that their interests and concerns about historic properties are addressed.
MODEL INCLUSIVENESS PROGRAMS
Preserve America Communities include historic resources significant to the many cultures which contribute to our American experience. They have developed numerous programs which enhance information about, and public access to, these resources, in some cases with the support of Preserve America Grants. A series of model programs, some of which also help build a preservation ethic among youth, will be shared here periodically. These case studies provide ideas and approaches you may be able to apply in your own community.
The ACHP has provided numerous outreach materials on working with underrepresented groups for years. This includes working with federal agencies and community members in the Section 106 process, providing for citizen involvement, and showcasing important historic preservation work across the country:
The ACHP is presenting a series of articles to showcase different professions that make up the whole of historic preservation work. We want the public to see the diverse people and careers that are historic preservation-related. By choosing professions, regions of the country, and people, we are helping to expand the constituency of historic preservation and focus on Building a More Inclusive Preservation Program.
The participants were asked questions about their own backgrounds and professional endeavors and what they are currently working on. Also, they answered what they feel is important for preserving heritage in their community. Stay tuned for a new interview frequently here.
Read about Kyle Smitley, Entrepreneur, Detroit, Michigan.
Read about Chris Pattillo, landscape architect, Oakland, CA.
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