Every American can help to protect and preserve buildings and sites that matter to us all. So what is Historic Preservation Month all about and what can you do to preserve these places that are not only important to us today but also to our ancestors of yesteryear. After all if we lose them then we have lost a piece of our history. We will have left nothing for our children to help remember the people that came before us.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) is an organization that as the name suggests preserves historical sites all across the United States. The organization was founded way back in 1949 and is currently based in Washington, D.C.
The aims of the NTHP are to provide leadership for local preservationists who want to save and revitalize America’s historic buildings and places. Their initiative to create a month, which has been chosen as May, to help raise awareness and help save our heritage.
This initiative all started when the National Trust created Preservation Week back in 1971. Then two years later in 1973 this was extended to an entire month. With this initiative it is hoped that the public are aware of preserving our historical past and also enhance our historic communities.
Historic Preservation Month – May
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Not only do the National Trust provide leadership but they are also educators as well. They provide articles, case studies, and journals as well as organizing conferences and training. There is even a quarterly magazine entitled Preservation, and also there is a blog where people can showcase their stories.
So why preserve our past?
After the Civil War, that lasted from 1861 to 1865, America wanted to rebuild. There was a sense of national identity and history and America wanted to preserve important sites and objects that were deemed to be significant to the country’s history.
The Historic Sites Act was passed by Congress in 1935. This Act identified historic sites of importance and areas of research as well. Historic districts were also popping up all over the States. The first being the old city in the state of South Carolina, Charletson.
Despite there being a push to preserve and restore sites this initiative was only at that time being supported by local citizens and groups. There was obviously a need for a national organization to help support the local community reach its aims. And that is where the National Trust for Historic Preservation stepped in.
Let me ask you something!
Do you have a special place of interest? Is this place of significance to you today, your ancestors, or maybe both? And is there a threat of it being lost forever due to decay or for any other reason?
We all have a place that is important and sentimental to us. Actually maybe more than one for that matter. What really matters though is that we show our support and protect them now before it is too late! And that is the ultimate goal of Historic Preservation Month. To get that message across.
The Programs of the National Trust
The National Trust was responsible for initiating the National Treasures program back in 2011. This program identified historically significant landmarks that were on the verge of being lost forever. Through fundraising as well as coalition building and legal advocacy this program has helped to restore America’s past.
The National Trust currently lists 11 historic places that are the most endangered. The original list was created back in 1988 and is updated annually. People can nominate places of interest each year whereby the National Trust will add it to this list based on a number of factors.
For example, factors that will be considered are whether the place is deemed to be significant; if there is a local group that can help to preserve the site; its’ urgency and what possible solutions are there to protect a site.
What Can You Do During Historic Preservation Month?
There are many activities and events that are held over the entire country. So why not get involved in the month of May and see what you can do to protect America’s past for the future? Not only will you be doing your bit and helping protect something that is important to you, but also you will be helping others keep their memories alive by protecting these places.
Activities and events that you can expect:
- Award ceremonies
- Building craft demonstrations
- Community projects
- Festive parties
- Public exhibitions
- Special tours
So why not get involved in protecting the past and preserving an important site for generations to come. The Saving Places website is a great place to for you to start. From this site you can download a toolkit that you can use which will include signs, social media shareables and a campaign toolkit as well.
You can also show your support for Historic Preservation Month by taking photos and sharing them using the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters. To keep up to date with this initiative check out @SavingPlaces on Instagram and Twitter.
You maybe wondering to yourself why have I written a post about preserving historic sites on a genealogy site. Well the answer to this question is quite simple.
Within the Guides & Tips section of this site I have included posts that highlight ways that you can preserve your family heirlooms. Heirlooms such as medals and coins, jewellery, photos and any other possession that you may have in your home that has some sentimental value to you.
A building or site is in a way no different. Just like with any object that we own these places are a link to our past. It has memories and stories that remind us of our ancestors. All of these heirlooms and places of significance we can pass on to our children and our children’s children.
I hope that you do your bit to preserve America’s heritage and also pass on a legacy to your descendants.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what Historic Preservation Month is all about. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.
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