About this course
Topic for Spring 2024: Memory, Storytelling, and Equity in Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has made “telling the full story” of American history a central goal for the practice of historic preservation in the United States. While preservation has traditionally focused on beautiful, significant buildings, most often associated with the “great men” of American political history (for example, Mt. Vernon & the Lincoln Home in Springfield), the “full story” of America depends on recognizing and preserving a much broader array of seemingly everyday places that are important to people for the memories they hold and the ways they allow immersion in experiential place-based learning. Memory and storytelling are essential for the commemoration of these places, shaping both community and individual relationships to the built and natural environment. Designers, historians, and professional consultants involved in historic preservation and heritage documentation, however, often engage in extractive or distortive practices in their attempts to formally list and protect historic sites, privileging the language of regulation and bureaucracy.
This course explores questions of voice and authenticity while also introducing students to the regulatory policies of the US National Park Service and UNESCO's world heritage programs. It will give students hands-on experience with a real world heritage project - we will work throughout Spring 2024 with the New Philadelphia Association, a stewardship group that has successfully advocated for the creation of the New Philadelphia National Historic Site in western Illinois. As the site transfers to the ownership of the National Park Service in January 2024, important questions about the interpretation of the site's history remain. Students will interview NPA members and other stakeholders and create materials to support training the site's future docents, focused on the history of abolition and the African American experience. Funds are available to support student travel to the site and to an end of semester presentation to the NPA, as well as to support student participation in the Freedom Corridor Conference, Feb. 2-3, 2024.
Same as ANTH 594.
4 credit hours