Tag Archives: preservationtoday

Video Netcast: Past Horizons Magazine, Heritage Travel Community, Smithsonian 2.0

(Note: Preservation Today was a previous iteration of “Voices of the Past”)

Stories this time:

The March edition of Past Horizons Magazine is now out. The magazine features articles on field school opportunities and how to make archeology accessible to the disabled. According to its publishers, the goal of Past Horizons is to give everyone a voice in heritage.  In addition to the magazine, Past Horizons Heritage Media features a blog on archeological discovery and a YouTube-style video sharing service. Past Horizons is based in Scotland.

The U.S.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation is developing a new online community (now defunct).  According to the Trust, this new community is designed to ignite interest in places rich with heritage, history and culture. The site will allow participants to interact around the heritage of town’s and cities, allowing vacationers to quote Travel With Purpose. The Trust is now holding a pre-launch recognition program that offers special benefits to those who sign up for the site now. Participants will have the opportunity to share travel experiences through reviews and ratings and photographs. The community will be a part of the National Trust’s subsidiary, Heritage Travel Incorporated.

The Trust is also using Facebook to raise funds for its rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast. Facebook’s new marketplace feature is launching an initiative called “Celebrities Selling for a Cause.” Actress Jennifer Coolidge is selling a custom-made dress she wore when starring in the film Legally Blonde 2 and donating the proceeds to benefit the National Trust’s “Rebuilding New Orleans” project. You don’t have to be a celebrity to participate. Anyone can buy an item or sell one on behalf of the National Trust and all the proceeds will go toward our efforts along the Gulf Coast.

The Smithsonian Institution recently held a two-day gathering exploring how to make the organization’s collections, educational resources, and staff more accessible, engaging, and useful in the digital age. The event, called Smithsonian 2.0, brought together professionals from the web and new media world to meet with Smithsonian staff members. Together, they worked to envision generate what a digital Smithsonian might be like in the years ahead. Speakers included representatives from Facebook, Myspace and Microsoft. Professionals in the museum field are welcoming the Smithsonian’s interest in social media. The event was the brianchild of G. Wayne Clough, who became the Smithsonian’s new secretary in July. According to Clough, the Smithsonian intends to aggressively pursue a participatory web-based presence following the conference.

The UNESCO office in Lima, Peru is seeking international specialists to aid in the development of heritage site management plans for the Pachacamac archeological complex and the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana. The heritage plans would include establishing priorities for halting site deterioration, reviving building and land use techniques, and raising community awareness about the historical and cultural meaning and importance of both sites. The project is being conducted in agreement with the National Institute of Culture of Peru.

The Obama administration recently unveiled the new Whitehouse.gov website. According to Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House, the new site is being built on the social media principles of communication, transparency and participation. Among the site features so far are a blog, a comment form and a briefing room. Obama, who currently has four and a half million Facebook friends, used social media extensively during his campaign for the presidency.

And finally, Preservation Today now has its own Friendfeed room. The room will allow fast-paced discussions on the latest in heritage preservation. Sign-up is quick, easy and free.

 

All you have to do is visit our shownotes site at preservation today dot com and click the “News Stream” link at the top of the page.

Kate Chopin House: Taking a look at a heritage recovery operation

By Jeff Guin

A lot has happened in the three months since the U.S. National Historic Landmark Kate Chopin House was destroyed by fire. Much goes into a salvage effort of this scale, and you may be surprised that how much care has been taken with the remains of the building and of its surviving contents. Voices of the Past recently spoke with Dustin Fuqua of the heritage research organization Cultural Lore about his experience leading the rescue operation. Here are some of his insights on the topic.

Any salvage operation is stressful, but cases where the structure defines the community are especially difficult. Rescue workers are faced with the challenges of limiting access to the site while being sensitive to the grief of the community. All the while, they must also be mindful that the structure and the heritage resources it contains are degrading by the minute.

The situation is inherently unsafe from the get-go and will likely remain that way until the structure is taken down completely. Fires can reignite days after the initial event. Charred walls of brick or bousillage may crumble at any time. Rescuers use personal safety equipment like masks and gloves–and good sense as well–when approaching any salvage operation.

The case of the Kate Chopin House was especially dire, with perhaps only 10 to 15 percent of the Bayou Folk Museum contents surviving in any recognizable condition. For those precious few objects that survive the fire, other environmental threats immediately arise.

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For paper objects soaked with water from fire trucks and lying amid the smoldering warmth of embers, mold blooms immediately and degrades the fibers. As the home of a famous writer, this structure had some very valuable paper items. So what to do? Believe it or not, rescuers wrapped the books in acid-free paper and put them in a freezer until they can be properly conserved. Freezing the items inhibits the growth of mold and prevents further environmental damage to the paper.

Metal objects are affected by the warm, wet environment of a fire scene as well. Oxidation starts immediately, resulting in rust on metal objects that may have already been weakened by extreme heat. A quick, but careful removal operation is necessary to keep these objects from becoming further casualties of the disaster.

As with many disasters, the path of destruction can take unexpected turns. For example, Dusty reports finding a stack of Confederate currency in good condition while huge pieces of 19th century furnishings were incinerated without a trace. The wooden objects that survive are also cared for, potentially for reintegration into a rebuilt structure or as a memorial.

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Thanks to the first response efforts of the Cultural Lore team, the NSU Masters of Heritage Resources program and the National Park Service, we will have some remnant by which to remember the Kate Chopin House and Bayou Folk Museum. But what’s happening now? I’ll tell you next week. In the meantime, you can read more about this project or contact Dusty through the Natchitoches Preservation Network website.

Related images:

Kate Chopin House Ruins

Kate Chopin House - Fire

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National Landmark "Kate Chopin House" is lost to fire

By Jeff Guin

CLOUTIERVILLE, LA–The Kate Chopin House, named for the legendary feminist writer who lived there during the 1880s, burned to the ground in an early morning fire today. The structure had been named a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of Interior in 1993.

According to Vickie Parrish, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), the structure’s loss will be felt far beyond the Coutierville community.

“Countless people have invested their time and hearts into the restoration of this structure,” Parrish said. “So much had been done. But the real tragedy lies in how much more could–and would– have been done to make the Kate Chopin house a preservation showcase for the country. So many people loved it.”

The house was in a serious state of disrepair before APHN became steward of the property in 1979. The organization invested in several restoration efforts, including the installation of central air and heat in 1999.

The Creole-style home was built between 1805 and 1809 by Alexis Cloutier using slave labor and exemplifies the building style of that time. Creole architecture is characterized by its spacious galleries, gallery roofs supported by light wooden colonnettes and a form of construction utilizing a heavy timber frame combined with an infill made of brick.

Officials from the National Park Service’s Cane River Creole National Historical Park were on hand this morning to help salvage the few artifacts that survived the fire. The head archivist from the Cammie G. Henry archives at Northwestern State University of Louisiana was also assisting in the recovery.

The contents of the Bayou Folk Museum, which was housed in the Kate Chopin House, were also lost. Local resident Doris Roge’ says the loss is being especially felt in the Cloutierville community because so many citizens had contributed to the museum.

“A lot of people in the community donated or sold pieces for the museum,” she said. “Many pieces belonged to my grandfather. We’ve all lost a part of our heritage.”

Kate Chopin came to Cloutierville  with her husband Oscar, a New Orleans businessman who bought the house in 1879 at a sheriff’s sale. Kate was pregnant with their sixth child and quickly made enemies in the town.

According to Roge’, her grandfather often told stories of Chopin’s then-scandalous public smoking and flirtations with men other than her husband.

Many of Kate Chopin’s most important works, including Bayou Folk and The Awakening are set in Louisiana.

Dr. Lisa Abney is a Chopin scholar and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She believes the burning of the Chopin House is a loss to the literary community as well.

“Kate Chopin’s work is important both nationally and regionally; Chopin’s creative and innovative fiction changed the face of American literature,” she said. “The loss of the Kate Chopin House and Bayou Folk Museum is a tremendous loss to fans of Chopin’s literature and to preservation. This is, indeed, a tragedy to no longer have this important treasure.”

The Kate Chopin House/Bayou Folk Museum is another significant blow to the history of the Cloutierville Community. Several important structures have been lost there over the years including the Carnahan Store, a National Register for Historic Places structure, which burned in 2004.

What caused the fire at the Kate Chopin House is still under investigation.

Photos from the scene of the fire can be seen at the NCPTT Flickr stream.

View more about the salvage operation in the video below:

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