PlacePromo logo

    Home     Preservation Daily     Projects     Blog     Connect

Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Historic Preservation Stories from 2012

We're getting nostalgic here for 2012, with a New Year right on the horizon. Having said that, here are a few of the stories we can't forget from this past year.

10. Spinning off of National Main Street Center as a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. After a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years, preparations are far advanced and well underway to spin off the National Main Street Center as a subsidiary of the National Trust. A new Director is being sought and a Board being assembled as we speak. Expect announcements very early in the New Year. Maintaining this highly successful economic development program should be a high-priority for anyone with an interest in historic preservation.

9. Anticipating the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. While the 50th anniversary of NHPA won't fall until October 15, 2016, preparations have already begun to mark this monumental advancement in the preservation movement. There would not be a National Register or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation without this important Act. Get informed, and, more importantly, prepare to recognize this milestone in your community in 2016.

8. Threats to the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. Despite creating billions of dollars of new investment for communities throughout the U.S., both the Federal preservation tax credit and numerous State credits are under siege. The Michigan Preservation Tax Credit was ended on December 31, 2011, and we're still waiting to see the full results. In the near-term the Federal credit appears to be safe, though as austerity measures set in a hard fight to retain the credits is likely to follow.

7. End of the Save America's Treasures grant program. The U.S. Congress did not continue funding for the Clinton-era Save America's Treasures grant program in 2011 and 2012. This year the National Trust for Historic Preservation quietly closed their grant office. Absent SAT there are few other programs to provide bricks-and-mortar support for historic preservation. With this grant program also went the staff who so ably managed this program for so many years. This loss in institutional memory was equal to or greater than the actual loss of funding.

6. Saving the David Wright House in Phoenix. This was a slowly evolving crisis played out in the national media. At issue was one of the surviving works of Frank Lloyd Wright without any protections in place. The tendency of the then owner to taunt and tease preservation advocates in public raised the stakes and added to the drama. Ultimately a preservation-minded buyer was found. Serious minded preservationists and especially FLW fans should prepare themselves to never let such a travesty of good judgment ever happen again.

5. Renaming venerable preservation organizations. We've noticed a trend in recent years of preservation organizations bringing focus to their efforts by changing their names. Longer names with "Society" and "Heritage" have been shed, in favor of organizations starting with either Preservation or Preserve, followed by the geographic area the organizations represent. We welcome Preservation Detroit though mourn the passage of Preservation Wayne. In a related matter we mourn the early and unfortunate death of Katherine Clarkson, the past Executive Director of Preservation Wayne.

4. Waiting for the 15 million Local Preservationists to get involved. The National Trust performed ground-breaking market research to identify over 15 million people in the U.S. who shared preservation values though whom did not necessarily consider themselves "preservationists." Despite a refresh of Preservation magazine and increasingly proactive efforts to attract new members, we are still waiting to see the results. When preservation exceeds 1 million active members we will be able to get the attention of policymakers, corporate leaders and others. Until then, more work remains to be done.

3. Disastrous Superstorm Sandy hits the Northeast. We all watched in horror as Superstorm Sandy barreled down. The devastation that it cut is broad and vast. Thankfully the coordinated response by Federal, State, and local officials made a far worse situation more manageable. Our hearts swelled with pride  to see the bi-partisan unity in hard-hit New Jersey with President Obama and Governor Christie walking side-by-side. Recovery will not be immediate and may take years. We hope for places that are stronger, better, and more prepared for future disasters that will inevitably come.

2. Cesar Chavez National Monument established. "¡Si, Se Puede!" We were mildly in awe seeing President Obama welcome this new National Monument in October 2012. People had to be turned away when the initially expected 4,000 people swelled to over 7,000 who showed up for the dedication. This marks a refreshing awareness among leaders in the Federal government of the need and importance to recognize the full spectrum of historic sites that celebrate the diversity of our nation. We still have a long way to go though this represents an important step.

1. Detroit emerging as a center of innovation. New businesses are getting started up, people are moving downtown, and for the first time in many years festive Christmas lights went up along Woodward Avenue. This is thanks to the sustained investment of longstanding leaders joined by new players such as Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans. A great American city is coming back to life again. Follow this story in the New Year for we suspect as Robert Browning once said, "the best is yet to be."

Have a different take on the Top 10 Historic Preservation events of 2012? Share with us on Twitter @PlacePromo. Thank you, and please accept our wishes for a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Los Angeles Conservancy End of Year Appeal

There is so much to admire when it comes to the work of the Los Angeles Conservancy. Among preservation organizations they are rare in the sense that they keep and maintain an active public list of ongoing preservation issues in the L.A. area. This list is posted to their website where anyone is able to see it. Keeping this list in turn provides a powerful incentive for people to become members and/or to donate to their Preservation Advocacy Fund. I was particularly impressed by this end of year appeal from their Executive Director Linda Dishman. This appeal and the programs of the Conservancy are an excellent model for other organizations to follow.

On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM, Los Angeles Conservancy <mtorresgil@laconservancy.org> wrote:
Los Angeles Conservancy
Dear Isaac,
I Heart Garden Apartments Day 2012
I Heart Garden Apartments Day attendees tour The Village Gre
In October, we held "I Heart Garden Apartments Day" to bring awareness to Greater Los Angeles' nearly forty garden apartment communities and the various threats they face. Photos by Shannon Ryan/L.A. Conservancy. 
As 2012 comes to a close, the Los Angeles Conservancy is actively involved in nearly 50 preservation issues throughout Los Angeles County. We’re working to save historic places from demolition as well as pursuing proactive outreach to help more cities establish and improve preservation laws and incentives.
We expect our number of active issues to increase in 2013, which is why we ask you to help strengthen our efforts by becoming a member or donating to the Preservation Advocacy Fund by December 31.
Your support matters:  two-thirds of the Conservancy’s revenue comes from membership and fundraising, and most of this revenue directly supports our dual mission of advocacy and education.
Thank you – and all of our best wishes for the holidays!

Signature of Linda Dishman
Linda Dishman
Executive Director
P.S. Join or donate by December 31 and you will be entered into our year-end giveaway to win a new Kindle Fire or two other great prizes!
 Forward to a Friend  |  Visit Our Website  |  Contact Us  |  Unsubscribe  Trouble managing preferences/unsubscribing? E-mail Cindy Olnick © 2012 Los Angeles Conservancy. All rights reserved.
 Los Angeles Conservancy  |  523 W. Sixth St. Suite 826  |  Los Angeles, CA 90014
213-623-2489  |  laconservancy.org
Powered by Convio

Sunday, November 11, 2012

U.S. Presidential Libraries and Museums

The methods for preserving the memory of U.S. Presidents are as diverse as they are unique. Here are just a few of the different types of sites and memorials that have been established:
  • Presidential library
  • Museum
  • Residence
    • Birthplace
    • Home before becoming president
    • Home during presidency
    • Home after presidency
  • Burial site

The responsibility for maintaining these different sites also broadly varies. Some are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration of the U.S. Federal Government. Others are managed by other public and private organizations.

Presidential Libraries
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center was officially the first to break ground. in 1912. The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum opened in 1916.The museum was located near the Spiegel Grove house and grounds that were also donated and eventually opened to the public. Later the Hayes museum served as an example for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Library & Museum, also situated near President Roosevelt's house in Hyde Park, New York.

In 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt donated his papers to the Federal government. At that time Roosevelt also formed a non-profit to raise funds to build a library and museum on his Hyde Park, New York estate. Eventually this program of Presidential libraries expanded and grew so that every President since Herbert Hoover now has a Presidential library officially administered by the National Archives. These libraries today maintain vast archives available for scholarly research. There are now 13 such libraries in operation.

31. Herbert Hoover, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch, Iowa
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York
33. Harry S. Truman, Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library, Independence, Missouri
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, Kansas
35. John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Dorchester, Massachusetts
36. Lyndon B. Johnson, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas
37. Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Yorba Linda, California
38. Gerald R. Ford, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan
38. Gerald R. Ford, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
39. Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
40. Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California
41. George H. W. Bush, George Bush Presidential Library & Museum, College Station, Texas
42. Bill Clinton, William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Little Rock, Arkansas
43. George W. Bush, George W. Bush Presidential Center, Dallas, Texas

Of the remaining 31 presidents without a Presidential library run by the National Archives (including President Obama), there are nine other Presidential libraries either privately or publicly owned and operated. Of these, the Fred W. Smith National Library at Mount Vernon (that has yet to be constructed), will be the only one to be built and maintained without any government funding.

1. George Washington, Fred W. Smith National Library at Mount Vernon (Under Construction), Mount Vernon, Virginia, run by Mount Vernon Ladies Association  
6. John Quincy Adams, Stone Library at Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, Massachusetts, run by National Park Service  
16. Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois, run by State of Illinois 
17. Andrew Johnson, President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, Tusculum, Tennessee. 
18. Ulysses S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Starkville, Mississippi, run by Mississippi State University & Ulysses S. Grant Association
19. Rutherford Hayes, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio, run by Ohio Historical Society & Hayes Presidential Center, Inc.  
25. William McKinley, William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton, Ohio, run by Stark County Historical Society  
28. Woodrow Wilson, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia, run by Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation  
30. Calvin Coolidge, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum, Northampton, Massachusetts, run by State of Massachusetts
The process of establishing a Presidential library for those without one has proven to be a difficult affair. An effort is underway to create a Grover Cleveland Library in Buffalo, New York. The organization Free New York, Inc. has applied for tax-exempt status. Their website describes: "If and when we are approved, we will begin to accept donations of Grover Cleveland books and memorabilia and look for a suitable location for this museum."

An increasingly common practice has been to associate presidential libraries with major research universities.
  • James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library / University of Mary Washington
  • Andrew Johnson Museum and Library / Tusculum College
  • Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library / Mississippi State University
  • Theodore Roosevelt Collection / Harvard University
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum / Marist College
  • John F. Kennedy Library and Museum / University of Massachusetts, Boston Campus
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum / University of Texas at Austin
  • Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library / University of Michigan
  • George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum / Texas A&M University
  • George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum / Southern Methodist University
Speculation is that when President Obama designates a location for his library, that both the University of Hawaii and University of Chicago will contend for that honor. Building on the example of President Ford before him who has his library and museum in two separate cities - both in Michigan - perhaps President Obama could be the first President to have libraries in two separate states.

Presidential Museums
Of all the Presidents whose libraries are part of the NARA system, their Presidential library serves dual purpose as a presidential museum as well. This means that in addition to the library proper, there are  interactive exhibits, interesting and fun public programs, and important educational events. Of the presidents within the NARA system, President Gerald Ford is the only one to have a library and museum in separate cities. The museum is located in Grand Rapids and the library in Ann Arbor.

For those presidents outside of the NARA system or without a dedicated library of the own, a list follows of all known museums to date. Every President with the exception of Zachary Taylor, has at least one place where people can go to remember their presidency.
2. John Adams - Adams National Historic Park administered by the National Park Service with residence of John Adams and several other family members.
3. Thomas Jefferson - Monticello estate with the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.
4. James Madison - James Madison Museum in Orange, Virginia
5. James Monroe - James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library in Fredericksburg, Virginia
7. Andrew Jackson - The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee . Home and museum administered by the Ladies' Hermitage Association.
8. Martin Van Buren - Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Kinderhook, New York. Administered by the National Park Service.
9. William Henry Harrison - Grouseland, Vincennes, Indiana. House while Governor of the Indiana territory.
10. John Tyler - Sherwood Forest Plantation, Charles City, Virginia.
11. James K. Polk - James K. Polk Ancestral Home, Columbia, Tennessee.
12. Zachary Taylor - none.
13. Millard Fillmore - Millard Fillmore House, East Aurora, New York.
14. Franklin Pierce - Pierce Manse, Concord, New Hampshire.
15. James Buchanan - Wheatland, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
17. Andrew Johnson - Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville, Tennessee.
20. James Garfield - James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Mentor, Ohio.
21. Chester A. Arthur - Chester A. Arthur State Historic Site, Fairfield, Vermont; Chester A. Arthur House, New York, New York.
22. Grover Cleveland - Grover Cleveland Birthplace, Caldwell, New Jersey.
23. Benjamin Harrison - Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis, Indiana.
24. Grover Cleveland - Grover Cleveland Birthplace, Caldwell, New Jersey.
26. Theodore Roosevelt - Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Oyster Bay, New York; Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, New York City, New York; Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Buffalo, New York; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, North Dakota.
27. William Howard Taft - William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Cincinnati, Ohio.
29. Warren G. Harding - Harding Home, Marion, Ohio.
Presidential Burial Sites
The final resting place of our U.S. President's is one final way we've found to honor their role and contributions. The burial locations chosen are varied. Some are on private property such as George Washington's Mount Vernon. Others are publicly owned such as Andrew Johnson's National Historic Site and National Cemetery, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, and many others.

Increasingly the trend has become to designate the burial site at the location of the Presidential library and museum. That tradition began with Rutherford B. Hayes, the progenitor of the first Presidential Library and Museum in 1916. Initially Hayes had been buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Fremont, Ohio, following his death in 1893. Later he was moved to a burial site at his family home near Spiegel Grove in 1915 that was very near the Presidential Museum that opened the following year.

The tradition of moving the burial site of Presidents is not uncommon. A similar treatment was given to Abraham Lincoln who was disinterred several times. 
1. George Washington, Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon Estate, Mt Vernon, VA.
2. John Adams, United First Parish Church, Quincy, MA.
3. Thomas Jefferson, Monticello Graveyard, Monticello, VA.
4. James Madison, Madison Family Cemetery, Montpelier, VA.
5. James Monroe, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA.
6. John Quincy Adams, Congressional Cemetery, Quincy, MA.
7. Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage, Nashville, TN.
8. Martin Van Buren, Kinderhook Cemetery, Kinderhook, NY.
9. William Harrison, William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial, North Bend, OH.
10. John Tyler, Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA.
11. James Polk, Tennessee State Capitol Building and Grounds, Nashville, TN.
12. Zachary Taylor, Zachary Taylor National Cemetery, Louisville, KY.
13. Millard Fillmore, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
14. Franklin Pierce, Old North Cemetery, Concord, NH.
15. James Buchanan, Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, PA.
16. Abraham Lincoln, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.
17. Andrew Johnson, Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and National Cemetery, Greeneville, TN.
18. Ulysses Grant, General Grant National Memorial, New York, NY.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, OH.
20. James A. Garfield, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, OH.
21. Chester Arthur, Albany Rural Cemetery, Albany, NY.
22. Grover Cleveland, The Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, NJ.
23. Benjamin Harrison, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN.
24. Grover Cleveland, The Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, NJ.
25. William McKinley, McKinley National Memorial, Canton, OH.
26. Theodore Roosevelt, Youngs Memorial Cemetery, Oyster Bay, NY.
27. William H. Taft, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
28. Woodrow Wilson, Washington National Cathedral, Washington, DC.
29. Warren Harding, Harding Memorial Park, Marion, OH.
30. Calvin Coolidge, Notch Cemetery, Plymouth, VT.
31. Herbert Hoover, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, IA.
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, NY.
33. Harry S. Truman, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Independence, MO.
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eisenhower Presidential Center, Abilene, KS.
35. John F. Kennedy, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Stonewall, TX.
37. Richard M. Nixon, Richard Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA.
38. Gerald R. Ford, Gerald R. Ford and Betty B. Ford Burial Site, Grand Rapids, MI.
39. Jimmy Carter, Living, (planned for near home in Plains, GA).
40. Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, CA.
41. George H.W. Bush, Living, (planned for Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX).
42. Bill Clinton, Living, (plans unknown).
43. George W. Bush, Living, (planned for Texas State Cemetery in Austin, TX)
44. Barack Obama, Living, (plans unknown).
As has been shown, efforts to memorialize and remember our U.S. President's have varied greatly through the years. In coming years it is hoped and suspected that interest in efforts of this nature will only grow. Some day it would be a fitting tribute for most if not all U.S. President's to have a library and museum in their honor. Meanwhile, there are no shortage of Presidential sites to visit, all throughout the U.S.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

William J. Clinton Presidential Museum and Park - Little Rock, Arkansas

Entrance to the Clinton Museum. 

The William J. Clinton Presidential Museum and Park presents many unexpected surprises to the visitor that happens upon this unique site. Not grandiose, not over-the-top – this is as concise, approachable, and welcoming as Presidential museums get.

Map showing museum
and surroundings.
The museum is situated on the banks on the Arkansas River. The exhibit area of the museum proper is set atop a “base” on the ground floor that includes a welcome desk, temporary exhibition space, and other amenities for visitors. By elevating the primary exhibit floor to the second and third floor level, this is undoubtedly to ensure that artifacts and documents are well above the flood plain from the nearby river. One of the most prominent features of the site is a large railroad bridge that has been converted for pedestrian uses. A prominent view of this bridge is provided from the exhibit floor. This provides a not-so-subtle reference to “A Bridge to the 21st Century” – the theme employed by President Clinton during his 1996 campaign for a second term.

View of bridge from inside of the Clinton Museum.

Upon entering the museum visitors a greeted by a staple in nearly any presidential museum – the presidential limousine. Then by taking a nearby elevator or ascending a staircase one is transported back to the years of 1992 to 2000.

Few museums are more rationally laid out or architectural than this one. Eight large panels titled at a slight angle run down the center of the museum display floor. These each represent one year of the presidency. They have a timeline, descriptive text, and inset television screens continually streaming news coverage of important moments. One is reminded how the Clinton presidency coincided with the expansion of 24/7 Cable News coverage – exemplified by channels like CNN. The experience this creates for the visitor is to literally transport them back to the sights and sounds of the era as people who lived during that time experienced them.

The stacks clearly dividing
the museum floor.
Large stacks run from the first to second floor levels. These are reminiscent of a library and filled with what appears to be archival storage boxes. Whether these boxes contain any documents or artifacts is unclear. The role the stacks serve, however, is to create several niches or display spaces on the first and second floors.

Several niches on the bottom floor of the atrium explore different themes from the Clinton presidency. One such theme is “Putting People First.” A prominent quote is inscribed on the glass enclosing a display case behind. In that case are television monitors again, a collage of photos in the background, and other descriptive narrative text accompanied by photos. Portions of the text are highlighted to accentuate key points visitors should be drawn to.

Tilted panels laying out the Clinton presidency year-by-year.

Putting People First themed display.

On the upper floor of the atrium guests are greeted by some of the most precious artifacts including the dress that Hillary Clinton wore to the Inaugural Ball, a complete table setting with china from the Clinton White House, and a signed jersey from Lance Armstrong, the repeat-winner of the Tour de France.

Panorama of the Oval Office in the Clinton Museum.

Guests are also greeted by a replica of the Oval Office – another staple of most Presidential Museums these days. Replicas of many of the most precious paintings and artifacts stand in for the original. Visitors are only able to view the room from behind velvet ropes. Still, the space and the furnishings create a distinct impression.

In the interest of giving equal time to other branches of the Executive Office, a replica of the Cabinet room is also present. The glimpse provided into this less-frequently seen and known room was a welcome counterpoint to the Oval Office display. One has the impression that it might be possible to convene a meeting in this room today, and surely this is done from time-to-time. In contrast the Oval Office has the feel of a museum piece – to be seen but never to be used again.

View from the Clinton Museum to downtown Little Rock.

The relationship between the Clinton Museum and nearby downtown Little Rock is also an interesting one. Rather than having a gift shop within the museum proper as is frequently done, the Clinton Museum Store was located off into the downtown area. The Clinton Museum and Store are connected by a brief 1/8 mile tree-lined road. A golf cart with a trolley pulled behind provides visitors a free trip between the museum and the downtown.

Once downtown the Clinton Museum Store is located within a renovated historic building. How many people get to the store, and whether this has proven to be effective as a satellite retail operation is uncertain. Though great benefit is certainly created by attracting additional people to the downtown area, and by linking the museum with the downtown. 

There is very apparently a resurgence happening in the area around the Gift Shop downtown.  The Arkansas Studies Institute and the Clinton School of Public Services have completely taken over a three-story building that has been renovated across the street. An attractive science center and other amenities are also clustered around the Museum Store, so as a downtown revitalization tactic this clearly is a great success.

To close, the Clinton Museum demonstrates a powerful vehicle to travel between the past, present, and the future. The past is represented both by the Museum itself and the time that it seeks to capture, as well as the many well-preserved historic buildings and railroad bridge that are important parts of the Museum complex. The present and future are then experienced by each successive wave of visitors that comes to the site. The Clinton Presidential Museum presents so many admirable qualities that seem to only grow over time. Hopefully many people will be able to experience this one-of-a-kind place and the one-of-a-kind President that it seeks to interpret and explain.

While visiting the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum I  filled out a visitor survey form as I am frequently prone to do. Just a few weeks or so after visiting I received the following message. I've filled out hundreds of forms like this and never heard anything back. This was a really nice gesture by the folks with the Clinton Museum. So much so I thought it important to share as an example for others...

On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM, Linda Leopoulos wrote:

Dear Isaac,
Thank you for visiting the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and for sharing your thoughts with us on a visitor card.  It is always a pleasure to hear from our patrons after they have toured the museum, and it was especially nice reading your comments.  We are delighted that you enjoyed your tour and the time you spent viewing the accomplishments of the Clinton Presidency that were made by "Putting People First."
The exhibits reveal a presidency of leadership and optimism for our country and for the international arena as well.  Visitors often express renewed feelings of hope and inspiration after their tour.  Since leaving our nation's capitol, President Clinton continues to work hard to improve the lives of millions of people in the areas of health, education, poverty, economic stability, and environmental protection.  Website www.clintonfoundation.org expands on these important initiatives and on how we can all make a positive difference in the world around us.
Thank you for your interest and desire to tell others about the Library.  Current information  on exhibits and events at the Clinton Center can be found on the Center's website www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org throughout the year. 
Come back and see us!
Linda H. Leopoulos
Visitor Relations

Friday, November 2, 2012

Help Us Build a National Preservation News Network on Paper.li

Paper.liLike many others actively involved in the preservation field today, we were struck by the number of sources providing great historic preservation content on a regular basis. Regularly following all of these sources was difficult if not impossible. For that reason we utilized the Paper.li platform to publish a paper on preservation in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The purpose of this effort is to raise the profile of the preservation movement and generate a greater shared sense of purpose among the 15 million Local Preservationists in the U.S.

Paper.li is a relatively new and emerging technology that helps to agglomerate "headlines" from Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, and other sources to "publish" a daily or weekly online newspaper. The technology and interface are relatively straightforward and easy to use. After selecting a maximum of 25 sources, these then help to inform what appears in the "newspaper" each day. 

For each paper we sought to achieve a balance between sources of national interest with those of statewide and local interest. A handful of the same national sources were utilized for each state paper. These include feeds from leading national organizations such as the National Park Service (@NatlParkService), Preservation Action (@PreservationAct), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (@PresNation). Within the National Trust we tried to capture the work being done by several of their most active components including @NatlMainStreet, @SavePlacesPres, and @PresGreenLab. Other sources providing regular content of national interest were also added including @PresnewsLink, @PreservationTV, @RestoreMedia, @histpres, and @placepromo. Taken together these sources promise reliable and high-quality content of national interest.

Added to this are up to 13 state, regional, and local sources for each state featured. To give an example of the types of sources used, see the following list for the top 5 most followed statewide papers:

@historicindiana http://feeds.feedburner.com/HistoricIndianapolis

The Paper.li platform and the Preservation Daily series of papers are as of yet in their infancy. We look forward to working with national, statewide, and other partners on fine-tuning these papers as an effective communication tool.

Here are a few things you may do to help promote the Paper.li for your state:
  1. Find your statewide paper from the list below. Go to that page and press the "Subscribe" button beneath the headline on the right side of each page.
  2. For each paper you follow press the "Share" button also beneath the headline on the right side. You may choose to "Like" on Facebook, "Tweet" on Twitter, and/or "Share" on LinkedIn. Doing so will help to encourage other people in your network to also follow the same statewide paper.
  3. Embed the paper on your blog or website with the "Nomad Widget" or embed just the headlines with the "Headlines Widget." Both may be accessed by pressing the "Share" button and the respective tabs.
  4. Each paper has a "Discussion Corner" section where you can post your own comments. 
  5. Have an organization, person, or project you want others to hear about? Tell us about it on Twitter @placepromo or Facebook.
Paper Twitter
DC Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PlacePromo
Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PlacePromo
IA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
IL Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
KS Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
MN Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
MO Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
ND Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
NE Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
OH Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
SD Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
WI Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyMW
CT Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
DE Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
MA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
ME Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
NH Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
NJ Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
NY Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
PA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
RI Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
VT Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyNE
AL Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
FL Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
GA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
LA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
MS Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
NC Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
OK Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
SC Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
VA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
WV Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailySouth
AR Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
AZ Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
CA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
IN Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
KY Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
MD Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
MI Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
TN Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
TX Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
WA Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyUS
AK Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
CO Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
HI Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
ID Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
MT Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
NM Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
NV Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
OR Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
UT Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest
WY Preservation Daily @PresDaily @PresDailyWest

Note that a maximum of 10 papers may be created per paper.li login. Users may login with an existing Twitter of Facebook account. For that reason we created multiple Twitter accounts that roughly correspond with different regions in the U.S. (Midwest, South, West, Northeast, etc.). 

Please feel free to post your comments below about your reactions to this project, suggestions of sources to highlight in each of our statewide papers, etc. We'll do our best to incorporate your suggestions into future papers.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Social Media Use by State Historic Preservation Offices

Think how you’d respond if a stranger approached you and asked, “What if I could give you tools to communicate directly with people throughout the entire world about causes that matter to you. And, by the way, it will be free.” It is hard to imagine answering anything but a resounding YES! to an offer of that magnitude. A recent review of State Historic Preservation Office websites reveals that fewer than 20 of the 51 websites have an active Facebook page that is promoted from the home page of their website. The number of SHPO’s with a Twitter account that they promoted on their website was even less. And only 11 of 51 sites, or around 21% had both a Facebook and Twitter account that they promoted.

We can do better.

Here are a few tips to help guide SHPO’s with developing a more robust social media presence.

  1.  Having both Facebook and Twitter accounts is now essential. Today there is no excuse to not have both of these essential tools. The following SHPO’s have both Facebook and Twitter accounts that they actively promote on their website: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming.
  2.  Link your Facebook page and your Twitter account together. That way your Facebook posts will automatically appear on Twitter. Here is one how to guide. One benefit of having a Twitter feed is that whatever gets posted to Twitter can be picked up by news agglomerators that combine information you share along with other sources to create even more robust communication tools. For an example see Preservation Daily.
  3. Make links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts clearly visible on your website. Common practice is to put all of the social media tools in the upper right hand corner. The Ohio Historical Society has perhaps one of the best designed examples of this. Be mindful of the Twitter Trademark and Content Display Policy for how to use the Twitter logo.

SHPO’s that follow these principles will find their base of followers expand and grow. Over time this has the potential to develop ever more powerful communication tools to help promote the work of historic preservation in your state, and for preservationists to better track and monitor work being done from one state to another.

If you have examples of SHPO’s that have effectively utilized social media tools, please include a note in the Comments section below. We will periodically come back and review progress. How great would it be if within the year every SHPO had a more robust social media presence? That surely would help to advance the historic preservation cause all across the U.S.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Dream for Mobility - Disintegration of Downtown Detroit

A vision for mobility in Detroit, ca. 1935.

Recent proposals for demolition of the State Savings Bank in Detroit, ignited a debate about parking downtown and the impact this has had on the quality of place . Melanie Markowicz, President of Preservation Detroit weighed in with the following op-ed piece in the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit is dotted with the palimpsest of heritage erased for one reason or another. In many areas of the city, the end result is a disjointed assemblage of buildings amid a sea of vacant lots. However, in the central business district, we still have some building density left; and that is something we should safeguard as responsible stewards of our city. We can no longer afford to ignore that continuing to demolish our reusable historic buildings for parking lots directly affects the revitalization of Detroit and all of theinvestments in it. Hopefully, the outcry of concerned citizens and organizations is heard loud and clear.
A glut of parking in downtown Detroit is not an altogether new phenomenon. Instead, the roots of the parking vs. place debate are as old as there were automobiles. A Street Traffic survey was conducted between 1936-1937 by the Works Progress Administration. This called for increasing parking downtown, as well for novel systems of circulation including multi-level roadways (see above). Were a retroactive manifesto to be written about Detroit, the story writ large would be accommodating greater mobility by sacrificing the historic fabric and quality of place. While each incident where this happened might have a limited impact, in total this disintegration of the historic fabric made Detroit less interesting and desirable of a place to live, visit, and work.

Detroit Traffic Survey showing the chipping away of buildings around the downtown core.

Early parking lot with vintage cars, ca. 1935.

As economic malaise set on Detroit with a decline of population, this put great pressure on the downtown. Many partially or fully vacant buildings proved too hard to maintain. These were too frequently removed and replaced by vacant asphalt parking lots. In a way this was a sort of fulfillment of planners plans from 1930's to make parking cheap, accessible, and abundant downtown. A review of historic maps and photographs between 1976 and 2006 showed that over 50% of the buildings in downtown Detroit were demolished in four decades. When added to other losses, this led to a historic downtown area fundamentally changed.

Fast forward to present. Some effort has been made to provide "infill" and convert parking lots to buildings. Certainly the location of casinos on the west and northwest section of the downtown and the side-by-side stadiums on the north-east corner prove this trend. Balancing it are the many vacant places waiting to be filled. Notable is the former Hudson's Building site on Woodward Avenue. Following demolition of this iconic building, an underground parking garage was constructed, though nothing else.

One lesson to take way from this ever-changing transformation of downtown Detroit is that where buildings have been retained they have gone on to have productive uses. Where historic buildings have been lost, however, it has proven very hard to replace them with something new. And while new development has transformed the downtown for the better in many cases, this is hardly enough to replace what has been lost. Hopefully Detroit will find an equilibrium with the right balance between  accessibility, parking, and having a livable city too. Retaining historic buildings ought to be an important part of such a strategy. Meanwhile, for close followers of downtown Detroit the surest sign of success will be when surface parking lots and parking garages begin to disappear. Removal of parking has heralded the resurgence of livable places elsewhere and hopefully will do the same for Detroit too.