A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century

A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century

A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century

A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century


Surveying the past, present, and future of historic preservation in America, this book features fifteen essays by some of the most important voices in the field. "A Richer Heritage will be an essential, thought-provoking guide for professionals as well as administrators, volunteers, and policy makers involved in preservation efforts. An introduction traces the evolution of historic preservation in America, highlighting the principle ideas and events that have shaped and continue to shape the movement. The book also describes the workings--legal, administrative, and fiscal--of the layered federal, state, and local government partnership put in place by Congress in 1966. Individual chapters explore the preservation of designed and vernacular landscapes, the relationship between historic preservation and the larger environmental and land-trust movements, the role of new private and nonprofit players, racial and ethnic interests in historic preservation, and preservation of our intangible cultural values. A concluding chapter analyzes the present state of the historic preservation movement and suggests future directions for the field in the twenty-first century. Contributors include preservationists, local-government citizen activists, architects, landscape architects, environmentalists, an archaeologist, a real-estate developer, historians, a Native American tribal leader, an ethologist, and lawyers.


This book has its origins in a number of informal conversations between the editor and various college and university educators and other professionals over a period of several years. All of them agreed on the need for a new textbook on historic preservation in America. As these conversations took place, it became increasingly clear that such a text should not only describe the whodoes-what-and-how of preservation at the beginning of the new century, but should also provide a larger, long-term perspective that would trace important changes that have taken place in American preservation in recent decades. This volume is the result. I hope that it will be not only a useful text for those who intend to enter the field of historic preservation as professionals, but also a source of ideas for administrators, volunteers, and preservation policymakers at all levels of government and in the private sector.

In a very real sense, the progenitor of this work is an earlier volume entitled With Heritage So Rich, the book most often credited with the passage by Congress of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which catapulted the movement forward and gave us the unified national system that has been in effect ever since.

This book does not pretend to have the political clout or prestige of that earlier volume. It is not sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, nor will it be distributed to every member of Congress. It does not advocate a comprehensive, top-to-bottom remake of the American preservation system then considered urgent, although the passage of time mandates some changes. The historic preservation scene, the people and institutions that make it work, and, indeed, its underlying values have changed significantly since that earlier time. A reappraisal is in order.

The machinery of historic preservation has now come mostly into the hands of a younger generation that brings to the movement new and different—and sometimes controversial—visions of what is important. These new preservationists add many more strands to the preservation rope, but it is not yet woven . . .

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