Tag Archives: architecture

Carla Bruni provides levity, and rich preservation content for broad audiences

SAIC Alumni Profiles: Carla Bruni (MS 2008) from SAIC on Vimeo.

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An inclusive approach to historic preservation outreach, coming up on this edition of Voices of the Past. #00:00:50.7#

Welcome to Voices of the Past. The show that helps you connect to — and advocate for — heritage. I’m Jeff Guin.

I want to start this show with an invitation to share your questions and success stories on the website. Connect by visiting us at voicesofthepast.org and comment there, or look for your favorite social network at the top of the page. Or you can click the “send voicemail” tab on the right side to share your thoughts and questions directly from your browser .

Speaking of heritage success stories, I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with Carla Bruni. Carla is a historic preservationist who is author of two blogs. She’s also a good friend and supporter of Voices of the Past. We’re going to talk about her latest blog, BuildingRevival.com, which explores ways to make historic preservation more accessible to the public. I know of few people who articulate the challenges and opportunities in that arena more effectively. Here’s that interview …

[INTERVIEW] #00:01:45.1#

Guin: Carla, you’ve been on Voices of the Past before, featured in a blog post. What are you up to these days? #00:02:07.7#

Bruni: Last time I was talking about my blog “The Green Preservationist,” which I’ve had going on for a few years now. There’s a few things I learned writing that blog that made me want to create a new website called BuildingRevival.com [site dep. I talk a lot about sustainability in preservation. I’ve been concerned for a long time about those topics and wanted to focus on growing a preservation audience. Preservation is kind of a dirty word in some circles. I wanted to change that and not necessarily call it preservation but at the same time encourage preservationist thinking by simply talking about vintage buildings and how things used to be done and making them more fun and positive. Think of it as being “sneaky preservation” in the way that we’re targeting an audience that doesn’t realize they’re preservationists but they are compelled to preserve regardless. #00:03:11.1#

Guin: What kind of content can people find on your site? #00:03:13.5#

Bruni: We have things like a fun style guide so you can figure out what different parts of your building are called. We want to talk about what the general styles of buildings are in the first place so people can get interested and understand better where they are living and connect more to it. We have a series called “Barn Porn” that people seem to think is fun. We take or find pictures of beautiful barns in all different parts of the country from different time periods. We come up with sort of playmates profiles that we call “HayMates.” This is to help people look at architecture and not just see rotting buildings, but something that can be fun and sexy from a certain point of view. We just want people to care about buildings again. #00:04:12.6#

Guin: Sounds like a great educational tool, and possibly even a heritage education model. #00:04:25.4#

Bruni: It’s kind of like when you hear people say, “when you’re walking down the street, just look up.” Nobody does, but the cornice tends to be the most beautiful part of the building. We just don’t pay attention. We want to do that with kids as well, who don’t notice buildings that much and don’t really have an opportunity to learn about them or understand the materials. It kind of like “Preservation Lite” in that way. It’s introductory, but at the same time we have hundreds of resources on the site. Technical and otherwise. I’ve heard there are people from the National Trust reading it now. And I’ve heard lots of stories of the content cracking people up at work, which makes me really happy because preservation offices can sometimes be kind of sad places. Things go wrong a lot. So it provides levity while providing rich resources. If you want to know how landmark your house or know how to properly repoint a building, that’s also on the website. #00:05:50.2#

Guin: You have a collaborator on this website … #00:05:50.2#

Bruni: Elisabeth Logman is my collaborator. She’s done a lot of landmarking. She’s also a masonry and mortar expert. We went through the same graduate program a couple of years apart but became friends through our common need to proselytize preservation and still smile. #00:06:12.2#

Guin: Where are you taking the site? #00:06:15.3#

Bruni: Elisabeth designed the site and it’s the first website she’s done with this kind of depth. We’re always tweaking it–always trying to get feedback on the content–what’s working, what’s not. Looking at our stats and figuring out what stories people are responding to. We’re on Facebook and tweeting now with the “building revival” brand. I’m playing around with the social media part of it, trying to figure out what to post where. Am I posting the same things on Facebook as I am Twitter? Is there a point of doing that? We’re trying to study who our audience really is and how to grow it. #00:07:23.5#

Guin: Do you have any particular kinds of partnerships you are looking for with the site? #00:07:26.8#

Bruni: We want preservation organizations to participate. We also have a lot of stuff about green building and sustainability. We even have content about canning and composting in your home, so we have a really broad scope. That’s something I wanted to change after Green Preservationist because I had some people from green building interacting, but it was mostly preservationists. We’re willing to partner with anyone who cares about old buildings and has anything to do with them and the space in and around them–that we don’t find unethical or frustrating. Probably not window salesmen! #00:08:26.9#

Guin: Does this replace the Green Preservationist blog? #00:08:29.6#

Bruni: Green Preservationist is more technical and specifically geared toward green building people, preservation, and people working specifically in the field. For Building Revival, we’re targeting a really general audience. People like my friends who have nothing to do with architecture and normally bore them to tears over beer talking about these things. I find them liking these stories online and engaged with the content of the site. #00:09:11.3#

Guin: I love how you integrate topics of vice into your blog posts–porn is a very popular term, and the key to one of your most popular posts on Green Preservationist. #00:09:25.4#

Bruni: Absolutely! To be clear, it was about “ruin porn”–architecture. But I swear we got most of those hits from people searching porn online. I’m aware of that and I’m fine with exploiting that as long as it gets people reading things that I think are important. #00:09:50.6#

Guin: Did you coin that term? #00:09:50.6#

Bruni: No. Ruin porn as been around for a few years. “Barn Porn” was Elisabeth’s brainchild. Barn porn sounds good to the ear–the vowels hit right, it’s fun and everyone giggles when we say it. That’s what it’s about. We work in a pretty tough field where we tend to be on the defensive about what we do. Everyone needs to laugh a little more and have fun with it. #00:10:22.8#

Guin: You can defuse some of the spirited debate or at least give it a more positive spin when you apply humor. #00:10:31.3#

Bruni: It terms of sustainability, it’s not just growing an audience. I know a lot of people who were in the preservation field and are now librarians. One person I know is a yoga teacher. People can burn out in this field. It makes me happy to hear people are enjoying the content. #00:11:20.4#

Guin: You do a lot of consulting, correct? #00:11:20.4#

Bruni: I do a lot of educational programming. I do a lot of work with the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association. I’m working on another project with the U.S. EPA. I’ve done a lot of work with the Chicago Department of Environment, working on their green rating system trying to make it more preservation friendly. I do landmarking as well. I consult homeowners privately sometimes to help them make their homes more sustainable. I help them put a plan together to prioritize what they’re doing to make sure they don’t throw their money out the window. My focus in graduate school was greening historic properties. At the time it was a challenge, but now it’s everywhere. It got me on the right path working with environmental groups–some really smart, innovative people. I’ve been working on the environmental side to help push the preservation agenda through that way. I find that seems to work better than pushing the environmental agenda through on the preservation side sometimes. Things have changed a lot over the past few years. We’re learning more about passive houses now to use historic homes and implement more of those practices. #00:13:02.2#

Guin: What’s your grand vision for making preservation tangible and practical to everyone? #00:13:07.5#

Bruni: I think its just about collaboration. We’ve been a bit of an island. First I saw it in terms of we need to be friends with the green building advocates and professionals. But it goes beyond that. One key we can take from the green building movement is they are very adamant about involving engineers and landscape architects and designers–everyone on the ground level when they’re planning something. I think we need to be more mindful of that too. Planting trees around that historic house is extremely important. How can we reach out to different groups and be really integrated with that instead of our own specialty field? I know we can make more money specializing but I think the effect is that we come off as inaccessible and sometimes a little elitist. It’s a stigma that we need to continue to combat. #00:14:12.1#

Guin: The fact is that everyday folks can do as well for their historic homes even if they can’t necessarily afford a professional. #00:14:24.1#

Bruni: Just showing how easy it is to fix your boiler and tune things up–little easy fixes so things aren’t so intimidating that we want to rip them out and replace them with things that are supposed to be easier to maintain but often are not. They’re just newer looking. Breaking down a lot of that lore that surrounds old things that are “just so hard to deal with.” They’re generally not; they’re usually a lot easier to maintain because they were built to last for a much longer period of time. #00:15:09.1#

Guin: Tell us again how people can connect with you. #00:15:09.9#

Bruni: The website is BuildingRevival.com. Folks are still welcome to check out greenpreservationist.org. Twitter account is “buildingrevival.” Facebook is also “buildingrevival.” #00:15:37.5#

Guin: There’s branding for you! So if we google “building revival” we’ll probably run across you.” #00:15:49.5#

Bruni: I sure hope so! #00:16:01.1#

 

Related Links:

Building Green Bridges and Fostering Pride

Carla on Twitter

 

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Results of our survey on how heritage professionals use the web

At the end of 2009, we opened up a survey about social media usage among professionals in the heritage fields. The purpose of this is to see where folks are in social media, learn how to reach them and see where they want to go.

Basic Demographics

326 people responded from all over the globe. Most participants came from the United States (50.1 percent) and Europe (40 percent). The ages averaged evenly between 20-65 years of age.

Location:

Location Demographics

Age:

38.6%            22-35

34.6%            36-50

20.8%           51-65

3%                  18-21

2.4%              over 60

<1%               No response

Heritage-related occupation:

39.2%          Archeologist

7%                 Conservator

5.2%             Heritage Communicator

5.2%             Enthusiast

4.6%             Educator

2.4%             Landscape Architect

2.4%             Architect

1.5%             Caretaker

<1%              Scientist

<1%              Engineer

30.3%          Other

<1%              No response

Breakdown by Profession

Archeologist

The majority of the archeologists who participated lived in Europe and were in the 22-35 year-old age bracket. They mainly used the Internet for email and research, with about half of them using the Internet for networking and casual browsing. Most of the participants considered themselves “joiners” in social media, with about 20 percent of them creating content. They saw social media helping increase awareness of important issues and topics and to help with networking. They were least interested in the project journaling aspect of social media. Among what they would like to learn in regard to social media, they were most interested in optimizing heritage content for the web and tracking multiple sources of online content.

Location:

79.6%         Europe

3.9%           US Southwest

3.9%           US Northwest

3.1%           North America (Not in the US)

2.3%           US Southeast

2.3%           US Northeast

2.3%           US Midwest

1.5%           Australia

<1%            Africa

Age:

53.9%         22-35

27.3%         36-50

12.5%         51-65

5.4%           18-21

<1%             over 65

Primary Internet Use:

89%             Email

72.6%          Research

54.6%          Networking

45.3%          Casual Browsing

38.2%          News

7%                Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40.6%          Joiner

26.5%          Spectator

19.5%          Creator

7%                Collector

2.3%            Critic

2.3%            Inactive

1.5%            No Response

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

32.8%         Joiners

28.1%         Spectators

7%               Critics

5.4%           Creators

5.4%           Collectors

3.1%           Inactive

16.4%         Unsure

1.5%           No Response

Access heritage-related news:

51.5%       Online News Feed

11.7%       Google

8.5%        Newspaper

4.6%        Television

4.6%        RSS Feed

16.4%      Other

2.3%        No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

3.3            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Networking

3.8            Advance Research

4.4            Career Opportunities

4.6            Promote Organization

4.9            Easy Web Publishing

5.6            Inexpensive or Free Tools

6.0            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training

The most prominent training was learning how to optimize heritage content for the web, followed by managing and tracking multiple sources for online content. Archeologists were least interested in learning how to use social media or manage their online reputation.
The most prominent training was learning how to optimize heritage content for the web, followed by managing and tracking multiple sources for online content. Archeologists were least interested in learning how to use social media or manage their online reputation.

Architect

The majority of architects who participated were from the northwest United States and were in the 51-65 age bracket. They mainly used the Internet for email and to read the news. Many of the architects participate with social media as spectators, but 25 percent create content and join the conversation. They see social media as a way to advance research and increase awareness of important issues/topics. They see the most beneficial social media training to be optimizing heritage content for the web.

Location:

37.5%       US Northwest

25%           US Midwest

12.5%        US Southeast

12.5%        US Northeast

12.5%        North America (Not in the US)

Age:

50%             51-65

25%             36-50

12.5%          18-21

12.5%          22-35

Primary Internet Use:

87.5%       Email

75%           News

62.5%       Casual Browsing

62.5%       Networking

62.5%       Research

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

37.5%      Spectator

25%          Creator

25%          Joiner

12.5%       Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

37.5%       Joiners

25%           Critics

12.5%        Spectators

25%           Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

37.5%           Online News

12.5%           Television

375%            Other

12.5%           No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.6            Advance Research

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Networking

3.7            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

5.6            Easy Publishing to the Web

6.0            Project Journaling

6.7            Inexpensive or Free Tools

Beneficial Social Media Training

75%                How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

37.5%            Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

37.5%            Introduction to Social Media

37.5%            How to Create a Community Around Your Content

37.5%            Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

12.5%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

Conservator

The majority of the conservators came from the northeast United States and were in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, but more than half of the participants research on the Internet. More than half of the conservators consider themselves to be a creator of social media content. The conservators think social media is best used to help them increase the awareness of important issues/topics and to aid with networking. They are most interested in training that helps them optimize heritage content for the web, and use open access and Creative Commons to advance research.

Location:

21.7%            US Northeast

17.3%            US Southwest

13%                Australia

8.6%              US Northwest

8.6%              US Midwest

8.6%              North America (Not in the US)

8.6%              Europe

8.6%              Asia

4.3%              US Southeast

Age:

39.1%            36-50

34.7%           22.35

26%               51-65

Primary Internet Use:

78.2%           Email

56.5%           Research

39.1%           News

39.1%           Networking

30.4%          Casual Browsing

8.6%            Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

52.1%           Creator

13%               Joiner

8.6%             Spectator

4.3%             Collector

13%               Inactive

8.6%             No Response

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

39.1%          Spectators

17.3%          Creators

13%              Joiners

4.3%            Collectors

8.6%            Inactive

8.6%            Unsure

8.6%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

30.4%          RSS Feed

26%              Online News Site

13%              Google

4.3%            Television

17.3%          Other

8.6%            No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.8            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.2            Networking

3.5            Advance Research

4.1            Promote Organization

4.3            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.7            Career Opportunities

5.9            Inexpensive or Free Tools

6.5            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training:

39.1%          How to Use Open Access and Creative Commons to Advance Research

39.1%          How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

34.7%          Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

30.4%         Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

30.4%         How to Create a Community Around Your Content

26%             Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

13%             Introduction to Social Media

13%             Blogging Research Projects

Enthusiast

The majority of enthusiasts who participated live in the northwest United States and are in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, and more than half of them use it to access the news. They consider themselves to  be joiners in social media, but about 30 percent of the enthusiasts are content creators. They find social media to be best adventitious for networking, increasing awareness and advancing research. The enthusiasts are most interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web.

Location:

23.5%         US Northwest

17.6%         US Southeast

11.7%          US Southwest

11.7%          US Northeast

11.7%          North America (Not in the US)

11.7%          Europe

5.8%           South America

5.8%           Australia

Age:

29.4%          36-50

23.5%          over 65

23.5%          22-35

17.6%          51-65

5.8%            18-21

Primary Internet Use:

82.3%          Email

58.8%          News

47%              Research

47%              Networking

47%              Casual Browsing

11.7%           Web Development

Approximate Social Media Level Participation:

35.2%          Joiner

29.4%          Creator

17.6%          Spectator

11.7%          Collector

5.8%           Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Level Participation:

35.2%          Joiners

23.5%          Spectators

5.8%            Creators

5.8%            Critics

5.8%            Inactive

17.6%          Unsure

5.8%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

35.2%           Online News Site

11.7%            Newspaper

23.5%           RSS Feed

29.4%           Other

How Social Media Can Achieve Professional Goals:

3.2            Networking

3.5            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.6            Advance Research

4.0            Promote Organization

4.7            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.1            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.7            Project Journaling

6.2            Career Opportunities

Beneficial Social Media Training:

The majority of enthusiasts were interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web. They were the least interested in learning about reputation management and producing heritage videos for online sharing.
The majority of enthusiasts were interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web. They were the least interested in learning about reputation management and producing heritage videos for online sharing.

Caretaker

The majority of caretakers are from Europe r the northeast United States and are in th 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email, research and networking. They consider themselves to be joiners or spectators of social media. They consider the most beneficial training to be in learning to manage and track multiple sources of online content.

Location:

40%            Europe

40%            US Northeast

20%            US Southwest

Age:

80%            36-50

20%            22-35

Primary Internet Use:

100%            Email

80%              Research

80%              Networking

60%              News

60%              Casual Browsing

40%              Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%            Joiner

40%            Spectator

20%            Creator

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%            Joiner

40%            Spectator

20%            Creator

Access Heritage-Related News:

40%            Online News Site

40%            RSS Feed

20%            Google

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.0            Increase Awareness of Important Issues

3.5            Networking

4.0            Advance Research

4.2            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

5.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.2            Inexpensive or Free Tools

7.0            Project Journaling

Beneficial Training

40%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

20%            How to Create a Community Around Your Content

20%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

20%            Producing Heritage Videos for Online Sharing

20%            Blogging Research Projects

20%            Best Practices in Online Photo Sharing

Heritage Communicators

The majority of heritage communicators that participated are from the northwest United States and Europe, and about half of them are in the 22-35 year-old age bracket. They primarily use the Internet to access their email, but they also use it for research and networking. More than 30 percent of the heritage communicators consider themselves to be social media creators, and many see themselves as joiners and spectators. They see social media as a way to increase awareness of important issues/topics and a means to promote their organizations. They are most interested in learning how to create a community around their content and learning to optimize heritage content for the web.

Location:

35.2%          US Northwestern State University

35.2%          Europe

11.7%           North America (not in the US)

5.8%            US Southwest

5.8%            US Southeast

5.8%            US Midwest

Age:

41.1%            22-35

35.2%            51-65

23.5%            35-50

Primary Internet Use:

94.1%       Email

64.7%       Research

47%           Networking

35%           News

29.4%        Casual Browsing

17.6%        Web Development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

35.2%            Creator

29.4%            Joiner

23.5%            Spectator

5.8%              Critic

5.8%              Collector

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

41.1%            Spectators

35.2%           Joiners

11.7%            Inactive

5.8%             Creators

5.8%             Critics

Access Heritage-Related News:

29.4%            Online News Site

23.5%            RSS Feed

17.6%            Google

5.8%              Newspaper

23.5%            Other

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.8            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.1            Promote Organization

3.9            Networking

4.2            Advance Research

4.8            Easy Publishing to the Web

4.9            Inexpensive or free tools

6.1            Career Opportunities

6.3            Project Journaling

Most Beneficial Social Media Training:

Heritage Communicators are most interested in learning to create a community around their content, and they are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.
Heritage Communicators are most interested in learning to create a community around their content, and they are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.

Landscape Architect

Most of the participating landscape architects came from parts of North America not in the United States and were in the 51-65 year-old age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for research and email, and they consider themselves to be social media joiners. They see social media as a way to network and increase awareness of important issues or topics. They are most interested in learning how to manage and track multiple sources of online content, how to use open access and Creative Commons, and how to create a community around their content.

Location:

50%            North America (Not in the US)

25%            US Northeast

12.5%         US Southwest

12.5%         US Northwest

Age:

75%            51-65

12.5%         22-35

12.5%         36-50

Primary Internet Use:

100%         Research

100%         Email

50%           Networking

37%           Casual Browsing

25%           News

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

25%            Collector

12.5%         Spectator

12.5%         Critic

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiners

25%            Spectators

25%            Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

50%               Google

25%               Television

12.5%            Online News Site

12.5%            RSS Feed

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.0            Networking

2.9            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

3.4            Promote Organization

4.2            Advance Research

5.5            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.6            Easy Publishing to the Web

5.8            Career Opportunities

6.6            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training

The majority of architects are interested in training to help them optimize their heritage content for the web.
The majority of landscape architects are interested in learning to manage and track multiple sources of online content, how to use open access and Creative Commons, and how to create a community around their content. They are least interested in learning to blog research projects, introduction to social media and reputation management.

Engineer

The engineers who participated were from the northeast and midwest United States and were in the 22-50 age brackets. They use the Internet for email, gather news and research. They primarily consider themselves joiners to social media. They think social media can help advance research and aide with networking. They are interested in learning about optimizing heritage content for the web, reputation management and blogging research projects.

Location:

50%            US Northeast

50%            US Midwest

Age:

50%            22-35

50%            36-50

Primary Internet Use:

50%            Email

50%            News

50%            Research

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

50%            No Response

Colleagues’ Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Spectators

50%            No Response

Access Heritage-Related News:

50%            Other

50%            No Response

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

1.0            Advance Research

2.0            Networking

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues/Topics

4.0            Promote Organization

5.0            Career Opportunities

6.0            Inexpensive or Free Tools

7.0            Project Journaling

8.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

Beneficial Social Media Training:

50%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

50%            Reputation Management

50%            Blogging Research Projects

Scientist

The scientists that participated are from the southeast and northwest United states and are in the 18-21 and the 51-65 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email and research. They consider themselves to be joiners to social media. They think social media can help them network and advance research. They are most interested in learning a basic introduction to social media.

Location:

50%            US Southeast

50%            US Northwest

Age:

50%            18-21

50%            51-65

Primary Internet Use:

100%            Email

100%            Research

50%              Casual Browsing

50%              News

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiner

50%            Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

50%            Joiners

50%            Spectators

Access Heritage-Related News:

100%            Online News Site

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

1.0            Networking

2.0            Advance Research

3.0            Increasing Awareness of Important Issues

4.0            Inexpensive or Free Tools

5.0            Project Journaling

6.0            Easy Publishing to the Web

7.0            Promote Organization

8.0            Career Opportunities

Beneficial Social Media Training:

100%            Introduction to Social Media

50%            How to Optimize Heritage Content for the Web

50%            Managing and Tracking Multiple Sources of Online Content

Educator

The educators primarily are from the southeast United States and Europe, and are in the 36-50 age bracket. They primarily use the Internet for email and research. The majority of educators are social media spectators, but about 20 percent join the conversations and 20 percent create the content. They think social media can hep increase awareness of important issues and aide in networking. They are most interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and learn to blog research projects.

Location:

20%            US Southeast

20%            Europe

13.3%         US Southwest

13.3%         US Northwest

13.3%         US Northeast

6.6%           US Midwest

6.6%           North America (Not in the US)

6.6%           Australia

Age Range:

53.3%            36-50

26.6%            51-65

13.3%            22-35

6.6%              over 65

Primary Internet Use:

93.3%            Email

86.6%            Research

40%               Networking

40%               News

26.6%            Casual Browsing

6.6%              Web development

Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%           Spectator

20%           Joiner

20%           Creator

13.3%        Collector

6.6%          Inactive

Colleagues’ Approximate Social Media Participation Level:

40%             Spectators

33.3%          Joiners

13.3%          Inactive

6.6%            Creators

6.6%            Unsure

Access Heritage-Related News:

40%            Online News Site

20%            Google

6.6%           Newspaper

6.6%           RSS Feed

26.6%         Other

How Social Media Can Help Achieve Professional Goals:

2.3            Increase awareness of important issues/topics

2.6            Networking

3.5            Promote Organization

4.5            Advance Research

5.1            Easy publishing to the web

5.2            Career Opportunities

5.5            Inexpensive or free tools

7.3            Project Journaling

Beneficial Social Media Training:

Educators are mostly interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and how to blog research projects. They are least interested in learning reputation management and a basic introduction to social media.
Educators are mostly interested in learning how to optimize heritage content for the web and how to blog research projects. They are least interested in learning reputation management and a basic introduction to social media.

Meet the Blogger: Carla Bruni of “The Green Preservationist”

Carla Bruni is an historic preservationist, architectural historian, soon-to-be energy rater, and neurotic volunteer, and in this Heritage Blogger profile, she discusses how she combines her passions to create a hospitable environment to discuss preservation-related ideas in her blog, The Green Preservationist. Carla hopes to bridge the gap between historic preservationists and green building advocates…one post at a time.

Carla Bruni (2)

How do you try to bridge the gap between historic preservationists and green building advocates? What role does your blog play in your mission?

Well, if I were to sum up how these two groups often view each other via “light bulb jokes,” it might go something like this:

Q: How many historic preservationists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Change? We should just go back to candles and forget this light bulb nonsense!

Q: How many green building advocates does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Well, that old fixture isn’t terribly efficient so we’re going to go ahead and tear your old house down and design a better one.

Obviously this might be a wee bit exaggerated, but I’ve been in meetings where the tension was so thick that I thought the cornice would explode off of the building, and as a result, nothing is accomplished. I think we need more people working with, and listening to, both green building advocates and historic preservationists with an open and creative mind. I like to think that me being active on both sides of this coin gives me a unique angle, and honestly, I’m still learning all the time, so having a blog is a great way to throw my questions and opinions out there and see what I get back.

I also give lectures and workshops for universities, preservation and green building organizations throughout the city; this gives me the opportunity to introduce “greenies” to preservation issues and vice-versa. I have recently been working with an organization to administer grant funds for green retrofits on historic homes, and the homeowners get really into it, which is super fun. On the flip side of that, I worked as a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Environment while getting my Masters in Historic Preservation, so I would always weave my preservation agenda into my environmental tours, when most of the time they expected the answer to be “buy solar panels” or “replace your windows with triple-pane low-e fiberglass sashes.”

So, after two light-bulb jokes and a couple paragraphs, I guess the answer is simply “educate people through whatever means possible.”

Why do you think historic preservationists and green building advocates need each other?

Well, it’s completely unrealistic to think that we can build ourselves out of an environmental crisis. Any new building takes a whole lot of energy and creates a whole lot of waste—from the manufacturing and mining of building materials (also depleting our resources), to transportation, to creating new infrastructures, to demolition—there is simply no way around it. Of course, it is also unrealistic to think that human beings will never build new, so we need to be much smarter about building materials, sustainability, design, density and walk-ability than we have been for the past 50 years. What I spend the majority of my time doing is working on projects that involve making older buildings more energy efficient.

Of course, beyond energy, we also need to remember our history and culture and honor much of the existing architecture around us, which typically has incredible detailing, craftsmanship and materials, not to mention that our country is so young that this stuff is literally some of the oldest architecture in the history of the United States. It’s a tough balance right now for preservationists. I think that both groups are starting to come around a bit, however, and finding ways to work together. Preservationists are realizing that due to the current state of the environment, we need to worry less about the thickness of mullions during restoration projects, and begin focusing more energy on HVAC systems and weather stripping if we want to be socially responsible and actually save more buildings. Conversely, there has been more focus on energy efficient retrofits at green conferences lately. Both of these changes are likely encouraged by the current economic recession, but hey, at least some good is coming of it.

Carla Bruni (4)

How did you get interested in preservation and architecture?

Ah, well, I stumbled upon the Robie House as a child and have dedicated my life to architecture since then. Ha, yeah, that’s totally not true. I was an English Literature major in my undergrad with a poetry focus, and thought I might go back to school for a Master’s in either Comparative Theology or Medieval Literature. In the meantime, I did public relations for the City of Chicago, worked in an orthopedic office promoting a knee replacement device, was a shipping and receiving manager at a software company, and then worked in a custom metal welding studio, among other things. Fortunately, a coworker friend introduced me to his future wife, who was a preservationist, and I was like “people can actually save buildings for a living? Whoa.”

Once the greystones started coming down around me, or being turned into unrecognizable monstrosities, I decided to volunteer with a local preservation group called Preservation Chicago, and was inspired by their chutzpah much more than I was by the work I was currently doing. I started studying architecture on my own and soon after applied to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Historic Preservation Master’s program. I began paying more attention to environmental issues at around the same time and managed to snap up an internship with the for Green Technology, where I was able to help the public on a regular basis and gather information for a manual that I was writing to help historic homeowners “green” their homes. It was both a challenging and seriously cool experience. I’m currently in the process of becoming a certified energy rater and am thinking of also getting my LEED Green Associate certification just because I can’t seem to learn enough about how these issues impact each other. I figure if I’m going to write about these things and express my opinions, I had better have an intimate knowledge of what they are all about.

Carla Bruni

Tell us about your blog “About” photo. Is there a reason you are “Superwoman?”

Oh, I’m just mostly poking fun at myself for taking on huge, seemingly insurmountable projects because I just get so obsessed and excited about things. A recent “To Do” list on my desktop actually reads: 1) Get three new certifications by the end of the month, 2) Clean apartment until it sparkles and get rid of 50 percent of my total belongings, and 3) Change the general public’s perception of architecture throughout the United States.

I realize, of course, that #2 will never happen.

Why did you decide to begin blogging?

I think it was a combination of reasons. First, I realized I was really skirting both careers and thought that perspective could be useful. There are a lot of preservationists who know about environmental issues and vice-versa, but I think that it is easy to maintain a (strong) bias when you come much later to one field than the other. While I started off with preservation, I very quickly saw the connection between the two fields in light of recent trends, so I don’t think I even know how to separate the two most of the time. Also, I think that preservationists really need to change their image, and we seem to be struggling with that. We live in a very different time than we did even 10 years ago, and now preservation is constantly measured up against exciting, innovative technologies and a sort of environmental morality that didn’t exist before. To top it off, there are a zillion new (supposedly) “eco-friendly” products and homes out there that are being marketed like mad, and it’s a lot easier to market new things than old things. It is also difficult to make the argument that some things should not change when we are constantly told that anything that isn’t new and “green” is responsible for killing baby seals.

Beyond making people understand how crucial it is environmentally to preserve, maintain and perform energy efficient retrofits on existing buildings (somewhere along the line we lost sight of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”), Historic Preservation needs a more energetic, creative and fun side to it. You can certainly debate whether I have these qualities or not, but I can at least point out the fact that we need more of this if we are going to win over the masses and save more buildings.

And also, I think my friends and family would have thrown me to the wind turbines if I didn’t start talking about something other than architecture and the environment, so I figured I’d ease their burden a bit and find a more, er, tolerant audience.

What is your dream for your blog?

That’s a really good question. I suppose I want it to be a touchstone for students, preservationists, green building advocates, planners, landscape designers and architects, etc. when they have some downtime, and ideally a way to generate more discussion on the timely and important topics. I have also been using my friends as lab rats to see if the content is accessible for people who do not already work in the field. It’s a difficult balance to strike because I try to keep the posts relatively short—an almost impossible feat for a notorious rambler—so I can’t spend too much time explaining concepts and then also get down to the nitty gritty. I suppose it would be great if a more general public could at least start thinking more about these concepts and then possibly even get more involved in their free time.

Carla Bruni (3)

Your blog has a fascinating combination of “personality” and fact throughout your posts …

I think that having a more casual and accessible tone makes more people want to listen to the issues and better able to grasp them. And as I’ve mentioned before, accessibility is really key. It is also important, in my humble opinion, to not take oneself too seriously or be so self-righteous that you ostracize people vs. bring them into the fold. I am certainly not infallible and always have more to learn, and want the blog to be casual enough that friendly and useful discussions can bubble up from posts. Of course, I also come from a rather large and loud Italian family—if you want to be heard you have to be either really, really loud or funny enough to at least warrant a pause.

I can’t yell on a blog…

You have some interesting guest bloggers. How do you go about finding them and getting them engaged?

I realized from the beginning that I needed to get some perspectives on these issues from places other than Chicago and beyond my own experiences. Whenever I meet an enthusiastic soul—either through my blog or various events—who have a different experience either nationally or internationally, I find it to be incredibly valuable. I’ve been fortunate to do preservation work in Louisiana, Washington and Idaho, and realized pretty quickly that different places have different battles and feelings regarding preservation. I’d like to keep growing the blog readership around the country, so including these voices is really important. And heck, they’re interesting!

How do you develop and maintain a relationship with your viewers?

I always to respond to people who contact me through my blog. I’m curious about what they do and ask them to come back and express their opinions. I also try to keep the tone playful enough that it is engaging and people want to check back periodically. Fortunately, some local advocates and organizations have also put me on their blog roll and this bumps up my readership. I think I’m really lucky to be involved in two fields that are brimming with feisty advocates and like to keep stoking those coals to keep the dialogue between groups alive.

Are you engaged anywhere else online? If so, where and why?

There are so many great places to read about what is going on in these areas. Vince Michael’s incredibly insightful blog on preservation issues is an excellent source for preservation info and great fun to read. I often to jump over to Matt Cole’s Twitter page, which covers a variety of issues, often involving planning, preservation, and sustainability issues—he updates it obsessively, so there is always something new and fun to look up. I also work with the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association on a variety of projects, and we’ve recently been discussing a series of video podcasts that cover discussions with contractors, architects and energy raters, as well as filming how to properly weatherize and insulate single-family homes. It is somewhat similar to the This Old House website links that I like to check out when I cant wrap my brain around how something works—really practical, budget-conscious and effective projects for homeowners. Check in at http://www.chicagobungalow.org in the near future for that. Beyond that, there are a variety of online research sources that I can access for free by logging into the Chicago Public Library site, and Ancestry.com is perfect for digging up historic census information.

What is your advice for anyone wanting to start a blog? Or get involved with preservation?

My favorite thing to do is convert unsuspecting citizens into preservationists, and when they are within my clutches, I can’t help but rattle off a variety of volunteer organizations or free field trips that I know will ensnare them. I occasionally even undergo covert operations with design school students to try and convince them to weave creative adaptive reuse ideas into their projects. It is always rewarding to fight for something that you are passionate about. In my experience, looking up and noticing the architecture around you, and having someone explain that many of these buildings are, or likely will be threatened for demolition is a startling discovery—call it a preservation baptism or bar mitzvah or whatever you like. Once people start really seeing the built world, the whole city becomes alive and more engaging, and once that relationship is there a person will fight to keep it because there is a connection and respect.

As for blogging, well, I think that we are incredibly lucky to have these forums where we can talk about whatever it is that we want to talk about and share it to a much wider audience than ever before. Some will argue that “tweeting” is the best way to do this, others just don’t like writing all that much, but if you have a hankering to express yourself, why on earth would you stay silent? Restorations may cost a lot of money, green retrofits can add up sometimes, but our ability to rave and educate and change a collective mentality for the better is free, and ultimately, what is more exciting than changing people’s minds? It’s simply the cheapest, most effective way to take over the world.

A facelift, an auction and an award for most likely to survive a fire

By Kevin Clarkston

A facelift, an auction and an award for most likely to survive a fire are in order for three buildings featuring historic architecture.

Michigan’s historic Howell building, currently home to a Dairy Queen and Skater’s Advocate, was recently purchased by three investors seeking to renovate the site. The building, a shining example of Victorian Era-style architecture, is currently in disarray with three upstairs apartments in serious need of updating, according to Rencsak.

In addition the upstairs windows will be replaced to meet the Downtown Development Authority’s standards, and the State Street portico will also be repaired, with the side and the back areas also being restored. Rencsak said completing the project may take severals, as the new owners want to be careful in maintaining the building’s true architecture.

“The thing is with an old building like that you kind of have to take time to see what’s where and figure out how you can maximize what the building was but still make it suitable for modern uses.”

While the Howell building’s new owners are giving their estate a makeover, Jerraine Long is selling hers. The estate, a two story, three bedroom, four and a half bathroom house nestled in New Orlean’s historic French Quarter will go on sale at a real estate auction Thursday, November 13 at 2 p.m. The sale will be managed by J.P. King Auction Company, a leading national firm that specializes in luxury properties.

The estate, built in 1817, is certainly full of both luxury and historical architecture:

  • In the mid-1900’s, it served as a Gallery Circle Theatre
  • The estate’s centerpiece is a private courtyard with a pool tailor made for entertaining
  • The courtyard’s garden section contains both a sprinkler system and fertilizer
  • The estate boasts hand painted murals, two kitchens, beautiful copper ceilings, cypress flooring, exposed brick, granite countertops, a spiral staircase, theatre room, and an antique bar area

The house is also ideal for those who want to experience the excitement of Mardi Gras firsthand. Long sums up the estate’s appeal:

“This is the type of house you never get tired of, a home that makes you love it even more over time. “It’s truly un-describable. It has a personality all of its own, where each room has its own theme.”

However, the future of the McLauchlan building, a 130-year-old historic structure, is uncertain. The Italianate building, built in New Brunswick’s historic Woodstock downtown area, was designated a Historic Local Place on July 7, 2006. It was chosen partly for its Italianate architecture.

Built after a horrendous fire in 1877, the building’s history has been marked by brushes with fire. The building was nearly destroyed twice in the 1960s, with two separate incidents in 1960 and 1968 that demolished many surrounding structures. However the McLauchlan building’s luck may have run out, with an Oct. 29 fire that left severe damage.

While numerous renovations, such as the covering of the original brick storefront with grey plaster, have taken place over the years, it is unclear if the building will survive or meet its demise at the hands of the wrecking ball. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Related Links:

Faubourgs Tremé and Marigny Are French Quarter Neighbors Rich in History and Architecture

French Quarter Architecture Photo Gallery

Downtown Howell History Tour

Featured photo on Flickr by Luke Robinson

Judge urges Nov. 7 resolution in Gettysburg Cyclorama dispute

According to the Gettysburg Times, Judge Alan Kay has told the Recent Past Preservation Network and National Park Service officials to discuss a possible relocation agreement for the old Gettysburg Clyclorama. The park plans to demolish the building in mid-December.

Attorneys for Recent Past Preservation will seek an injunction if an agreement is not reached with the Park Service on relocating the building. The group maintains the significance of the building based on its status as a rare East Coast project by Richard Neutra. Neutra is considered one of modernism‘s most important architects.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama reopened on Sept. 26, 2008 at the new visitor center, which includes a 24,000 square foot Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. After an introductory film, visitors proceed into a room containing the cyclorama, which surrounds the viewers and puts them in the middle of the battle.

The panorama oil painting by Paul Dominique Phillippoteaux depicts Pickett’s Charge, at which the Union army stood against Lee’s Confederate troops in 1863. The painting was first shown in Boston in 1884 until it was moved it Gettysburg from 1910-13. After this initial movement, it was overpainted to hide the flaws or breaks. More overpaint repairs were made in the 1940’s and 1959-62.

The most recent restoration efforts by Olin Conservation Inc. of Great Falls, Virginia, and Perry Huston & Associates, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas began in 2003 by removing dirt from the canvas and consolidating to secure loose or flaking paint. Olin and Huston have removed layers of repair paint from previous projects which had altered the original scene. The goal was to restore the painting as closely as possible to it’s original state, as it was when Phillippoteaux painted it.

Blogger Leslie Johnston recently discussed her visit to the newly restored Cyclorama, describing the way that the three-dimensional diorama at the base of the cyclorama “leads seamlessly into the painting.” Johnston praises the sound and light show which recreates Pickett’s Charge, putting the visitor in the middle of the battle. Of the Cyclorama, she writes, “It’s still an amazing illusion and it takes your breath away.”

Photo Slideshow

View the Clyclorama Photo Slideshow by miss_leslie on Flickr

Additional Links 

Two offered to take old Cyclorama building

Judge hears arguments to save Cyclorama

1884 Gettysburg painting restored, back on display

ALL FIRED UP

John Leeke Preservation Trades V-log: Timber Repair

A hearty welcome to John Leeke of Historic HomeWorks as he joins Voices of the Past’s “staff” of video bloggers. John’s main interest is “helping people understand and maintain their older and historic buildings.” In this entry, he speaks to Paul Marlowe of Marlowe Restorations in Connecticut about proper repair methods. Then, we’re treated to a demonstration of a timber repair.

Preservation Today Netcast: Iowa Floods, Blogging Museums, Safety on the Net

August 2008 Contents include:

Archeologists confirmed that Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia is the site of President George Washington’s boyhood home. The site was found after a seven year search and more than 500,000 artifacts from 11 time periods have been found.
National Geographic

Fox News

New York Times

RMJM Hiller has been hired to complete an independent evaluation of Charity Hospital in New Orleans. The report should play a major role in decisions concerning the construction of new hospitals in the area. Charity Hospital is the most prominent example of art deco architecture in in New Orleans and it has a history that goes back more than 250 years.

The Foundation for Historical Louisiana

Building Design and Construction

Next American City Magazine

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation has acquired 189 acres of one of the nation’s most endangered battlefields. The acquisition will protect Cedar Creek Battlefield for the controversial expansion of a nearby limestone quarry.

Shenandoah Stories

Washington Times

National Park Service Digest

Record-breaking floods across the Midwest have destroyed or damaged numerous cultural institutions, public buildings, rural landscapes and historic districts. Brucemore, a site owned by the National Trust, has become a hub for recovery efforts. Several organizations are heading up recovery efforts including Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area and The American Institute of Conservation.

Iowa Floods

The National Trust Weblog

The 9th annual VAST International Symposium on virtual reality, archeology and cultural heritage will take place in Portugal this December. The symposium will present a dialogue on the present and future of archeology in the 21st century.

VAST Symposium

Only 1,800 gingerbread houses remain in Russia as the country struggles to balance preservation with the demands of development. In Tomsk, Russia, $3 million from the city treasury is being used to restore these buildings.

International Herald Tribune

The New York Times

More than $165,000 have been awarded to fund research projects that use technology to advance preservation. Four projects were funded as part of a grants program administered by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. Those receiving funding include The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Tulane University.

David Morgan, Chief of Archeology and Collections at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, gives information on what the center looks for in a grant proposal and how to apply.

Morgan also speaks about the upcoming “Prospection in Depth” workshop in San Francisco.

Prospection in Depth Archaeology Workshop

Museum 2.0 is a blog by Nina Simon on heritage issues. The site explores how museums can apply social media principles to become more engaging, community-based and vital to society.

Museum 2.0

Jonathon Bailey, creator of Plagiarism Today, one of the web’s top resources for content and privacy issues, talks about how to protect your content online. Bailey discusses the importance of monitoring your content and how to license your work under Creative Commons.

Jonathan Bailey on the web:

Site: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/plagiarismtoday

Podcast: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/

Email: jonathan@plagiarismtoday.com

Online content and Identity protection resources

http://creativecommons.org

http://www.copyscape.com/

http://www.bitscan.com and http://www.copyalerts.com

http://www.copyright.gov

http://www.domaintools.com

http://sciencecommons.org/

http://www.wikipedia.org/

http://www.archive.org

Cast and Crew:
Jeffery K. Guin, executive producer

Brittany Byrd, producer

David Antilley, director

Adam Caldwell, assistant director

Farrah Reyna, anchor

Lane Luckie, anchor

Partners in this production:

City of Natchitoches, La.

Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

National Center for Preservation Technology & Training

Northwestern State University of Louisiana