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Sharing Best Practices and Finding Common Ground
Over the past twenty years, there has been a fundamental shift in the institutional organization of historic preservation education. Historic preservation is the most recent arrival in the collection of built environment disciplines and therefore lacks the pedagogical depth and breadth found in allied endeavors such as architecture and planning. As the first degree programs in preservation only date to the 1970s and the first doctoral programs to the 1990s, new faculty are confronted with pedagogical challenges that are unique to this relatively nascent field. Based on a conference that included educators from around the world, Barry L. Stiefel and Jeremy C. Wells now present a collection that seeks to address fundamental issues of preservation pedagogy, outcome-based education and assessment, and global issues of authenticity and significance in historic preservation. The editors argue that the subject of the analysis has shifted from, “What is the best way to fix a historic building?” to, “What are the best ways for teaching people how to preserve historic properties (and why) according to the various standards that have been established?”
This important reconsideration of the state of the field in historic preservation education will appeal to a broad audience across numerous disciplines.
The Struggle to Save the Historic Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, articulated a vision of a community that embraced sacrifice over the needs of the individual; the result was one of the most successful utopian experiments of nineteenth-century America. The Shakers, an idealistic offshoot of the ascetic Quaker religion, grew to as many as six thousand members in nineteen communities reaching from New England to the Midwest. Lee’s experiment, focused mainly on simplicity, celibate communal living, and sexual equality, provided a model of prosperity for more than one hundred years. Founded in 1806, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, was a thriving community located in the center of the bluegrass region. After the Civil War, a steadily shrinking membership resulted in the gradual decline of this remarkable community, and the last remaining Shaker to reside at Pleasant Hill died in 1923. In the years immediately following, it appeared as though the village would fall prey to neglect and a lack of historic preservation. In 1961, however, local citizens formed a private not-for-profit organization to preserve and restore the village and to interpret the rich heritage of the Pleasant Hill Shakers for future generations. Over several years, and against incredible odds, this group succeeded in raising the funds necessary for the restoration projects. By 1968, eight buildings at Shakertown, carefully adapted for modern use while retaining their historical and architectural significance, had been opened to the public. Thomas Parrish’s Restoring Shakertown masterfully explains how the Shaker settlement was saved from the ravages of time and transformed into a nationally renowned landmark of historic preservation. In chronicling how the hopes of the early fund-raisers quickly were challenged by the harsh reality of economic hardships, the book serves as a valuable study in modern philanthropy. Parrish also details the village’s negotiation of legal challenges and how its final plans for creating awareness of the Shakers’ legacy set the standard for later museum developments around the country. In addition to recounting the remarkable history of the formation and eventual demise of the “Shaking Quakers,” Parrish presents a dramatic chronicle of the village’s evolving fortunes. From describing the challenges of financing the restoration to finding preservation experts to achieve the highest standards of authenticity, Restoring Shakertown reveals the complexities and rewards of the preservation of one of Kentucky’s most significant historical and architectural sites.
The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps