Within history, there are many things that historians do to turn back time. In many cases, historian strive to preserve and restore artifacts that are important in history. Many preservationists look towards historical houses and landmarks to preserve history. In this week’s reading, Wallace and Cauvin talk about preservation and activist that supported their effort. In addition, the reading also notes on the different kinds of activists and their origins.
What is preservation? Preservation, is the stabilization or preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and rehabilitation all belong to historic site, structure of landscape. Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice (p. 57). Many historical artifacts can range from preserving the houses of the founding father or, simply saving a famous historical building from deconstruction from elite real estate agencies. According to Public History, “Historic preservation aims at preserving the past for future generations”, Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice (p. 55). The preservation of historical artifacts and buildings started about 70 years after the American Revolution when the United States realized that they had not historical heritage in North America. As a result, this kick-started preservationist all across the United States, Wallace, Mike Mickey Mouse History, (p. 179).
Signing of the Declaration of Independence
The between 1880’s and 1940’s there were four groups of activist that protested the deconstruction of the past. First was a group of “merchant and textile magnates of Antebellum New England. Sequentially the next group, were the decadence of the “Antebellum planter class that lived in the backwater river and seaport towns”. Next to follow were multimillionaire industrialists, which were mentioned in my very first post “Museums Hanging in The Balance”. These millionaire industrialists include people like. Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. Who created colonial Williamsburg. Nevertheless, last group of preservationists “came from the professional and managerial strata, Wallace (p 181-183).
Many of these activists made major stride in the pursuit of preservation law. Places like the national Park Service and Historical American Building Survey (HABS), struggled for the doctrine idea of “adaptive reuse” and to establish the National Register of Historical Places, Wallace (P 189-190). The National Register “criteria are the basis of historic preservation policy nationwide. Listing in the Register qualifies a property for federal grants, loans, and tax incentives,” Cauvin, (p. 60).
In any regard, Preservation is very controversial when it comes to the specific individual ownership of a historical site or structure. On one hand, it is the right of each and every individual to do whatever they desire with their personal property. However, this ideas changes through the course of time. Due to cultural, political, and economic changes through the ages. Cities and towns people need room in capitalize so to speak. Or in other words, investor in real estate need room to expand their ever-growing empire. It topic becomes controversial when large corporate companies and agencies get their hand on historical site that are under their name. As a result, activists fight for legislation to preserve and honor these magnificent site and structure.
In the case of historical preservation, historians must take into consideration the historical value of the structure/site and its location. With every historical site, there is a back story that can be left open to interpretation. In addition, it is the responsibility for historians and the public alike to preserve as much history as possible.