|Future Bing Crosby Theater, host to Conversation Starters|
It turned out that "Richer Stories of Place" meant including more non-white actors in our stories of place--which is a worthy goal. We heard a lot of interesting stories about oral histories, working with some very dilapidated properties, and trying to bridge the chasms between developers, community groups and preservationists. My favorite line from the session was when Richardson recounted how she would urge community organizations to participate in planning by telling them: "If you are not at the table, you are on the menu."
For my mid-morning session I checked out Indigenous Cultural Landscapes: New Ideas on Place. The presenters were from a variety of organizations around the Chesapeake Bay, working together on the Piscataway Cultural Landscape Initiative, which seeks to become a national model for working with native cultural landscapes. It was a fascinating and wide-ranging session. I especially appreciated Deanna Beacham's obwervations on the Park Service's 1963 Leopold Report, which advocated caring restoring public lands "to primeval wilderness." Beacham noted that "wilderness" is not even a word in native vocabularies, and called the Leopold report "profoundly ignorant" on native shaping of the North American landscape.
|1968 dedication of Piscataway Park|
The other great thing about the Cultural Landscapes sessions was this--they left time for and solicited audience interaction. About half the session was set aside as a conversation, and session facilitator guided what was absolutely the best audience-panel interaction I have ever seen at a conference. Well done.
At noon I checked into one of the 25 minute power sessions at the exhibit hall, this one a demonstration of the National Public Housing Museum's 3D laser scanning project. The YouTube we watched is here. The short version is that the museum, which hope to renovate an abandoned Chicago public housing project into a museum, partnered with the Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA) at the University of Birmingham to create an extraordinarily detailed 3D scan of the building, used in planning and fundraising and to give remote visitors a 3D immersive experience.
My first afternoon session was Washington's Maritime Heritage, which described the work that has gone into a proposed Washington State Maritime Heritage Area. You can read the report here. I cannot do justice to this rich session in a few sessions. The high point was seeing the blending of historic sources and GPS and other technologies that went into identifying and mapping the 2300 miles of shoreline and 500 historic properties in the initial survey.
I have been thinking about a northwest National Heritage area for some time, so I took a lot of notes. Watch this space for a future plan.
|Dare the Bubbleator!|
Honestly I was blown away by the interest and quality of the sessions today. This is my first National Trust conference, but already I am making plans for next year, in Indianapolis.