Monday, January 28, 2013

Jan. 28

Let's start with the little video clip of Eastern Stated Penitentiary as an historic site is it right that they should degrade themselves by opening up a seasonal "haunted" house? I say yes for two reasons the first being that they probably make more money in that month then the rest of the year and that money is used to preserve the site as a whole. Secondly some of the visitors might get interested in the building from their haunted visit and go back on a regular day. Plus i kinda want to go now.

Cebulas Open Letter and the response. It.s either very brave or very misguided to tell a southern woman museum coordinator that her history is wrong. That wasn't going to end well. While i agreed with the points made, it's hard to sway minds when it comes local history.

In Gardner and LaPaglia the first essay by Antoinette J. Lee tells us what it is to be an historical preservationist, the training needed and the difference between preservation and academia. Preservation historians are tasked with documenting, preserving and sharing the cultural significance.  Historical preservation is the crazy uncle of the history world looked down upon by the academics but more interesting to the outside world.
Mark Howell's essay on museum interpreters went over and effective exhibit and how one goes about setting it up. The need to reach your whole audience without alienating some. In that he talks about generational differences that need to be accounted for but I think it more then generational it's regional, spiritual and political differences that can be the major pitfalls.

Wallace's A History od Historic Preservation in the United States. Starts off by telling us that our forefathers didn't really care about saving their history, just a way of life. But by the 1880's onward there was growing interest for various reasons. The first two groups started for largely the same reason one in the Nirth and one in the South. To preserve their own personal identities as the ruling elite. Theses two movements had two different outcomes however the northerners needed to show that they were still important and so the NPS was born of there work. While the southerners wanted to save homes and surroundings that they new so historic districts were created and protected somewhat. The third group were the Fords and Rockefellers of the the world who were preserving their ideal America in the quaint rebuilt villages their money paid for. What struck me most was the movement in the 60's and 70's a re-urbanization of the middle class who had left the cites in the 40's and 50's. They came in under a guise of preserving historic places of bettering neighborhoods, but were in actuality displacing the original inhabitants of these buildings whose families may have lived there for generations. I was reminded of Indian relocation, to a much less violent and depressing extant, forcing less desirable out. Also the African Americans revolt against having their land made historic, because it wasn't in their history but in the white history.



  1. I agree that what Eastern State Penitentiary is doing to raise money is a great idea. By holding a seasonal "haunted house" they are able to make enough money to keep the museum and create interest, I would love to visit both the haunted house and the museum. In Wallace's essays it was interesting to learn what length people went through to save sights they deem historic.

  2. I think Eastern State Penitentiary came up with a good idea with the haunted house, as long as there is no residual damage from the activities and the events that happen at night are not construed as the actual history of the site. Every site is different, and I’m not sure if this example could be used elsewhere to raise money; it’s more of a case by case event. Wallace really brought up some good points by mentioning the downfalls of historic preservation, like the dislocation of those in lower economic standing or native inhabitants.