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  • Abrazar Continuidad y cambio

    Posted on March 11, 2015

    A Presentation for the Longwood Fellows’ Symposium,
    To Preserve or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future
    By David J. Brown
    Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    March 6, 2015

    It is an honor to be with you today as we consider the theme of Preservation or Change: Redefining Heritage to Guide the Future. In the time we have together, I hope we can focus on that little word “or” in the symposium title: Preservation or Change, as I want us to consider Embracing Continuity and Change.
    In the world of preservation, we celebrate history or continuity with the past. Our movement’s most important piece of legislation – the National Historic Preservation Act – will mark its 50th anniversary in 2016. That same year, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Parks – often called America’s best idea.
    In thinking about these anniversaries, I considered what it takes to not only survive but thrive past 50 or 100 years of age. Recent research has provided new clues, finding that our ability as humans to adapt to challenging life experiences may be as – or more – important than health factors.
    I believe the same trait is important for organizations and movements. The preservation movement has survived and thrived in large measure based on our ability to adapt to a host of changing circumstances.
    This morning I am focusing on three different themes within this idea of continuity and change. The first is that contrary to popular perception, change is constant and important to our work as preservationists. Landscapes, buildings, and neighborhoods all change. Our job is not to freeze time and stop change, but to manage change.

    Paul Goldberger, the Pulitzer Prize‐winning critic, says,
    “[p]erhaps the most important thing to say about preservation when it is really working as it should
    is that it uses the past not to make us nostalgic, but to make us feel that we live in a better present, a
    present that has a broad reach and a great, sweeping arc, and that is not narrowly defined, but
    broadly defined by its connections to other eras, and its ability to embrace them in a larger,
    cumulative whole. Successful preservation makes time a continuum, not a series of disjointed,
    disconnected eras.”

    Continuity and change: we have to embrace both to do our work in the 21st century.
    Secondly, I want to consider the importance of people and how our need to reach more people – and to do so in a way that is relevant to them – is driving change. Americans really do care about the loss of places they love. Unfortunately, because of the way we often frame our work, many people think about preservation in terms of landmark buildings, museum properties and grand gardens – and not in terms of how our work gives people meaning for the present and hope for the future.
    The final theme grows out of my belief that preservation is a political movement, and we do that movement a great disservice when the language used to describe preservation looks backward while our work must look forward. It may sound strange, but the work we do is political, which means we have to convince people to join us in saving places that matter. Often the language used to describe
    preservation looks backward and is drenched in preservation and conservation doctrine. We need to look forward. We need to understand the values that those outside our movement attach to historic places. Then we need to speak to those values.
    Let’s begin by focusing on the thought that to survive, preservationists have to embrace change Thankfully, preservation as a movement has proven to be highly adaptable. The National Trust owns sites that represent our movement’s initial focus on great architecture, museums and gardens.
    But we’ve expanded that focus over time, as the understanding of what’s worth saving and how we do our work has changed. In a 2013 New York Times story, two 27‐year‐old Buffalo residents were lauded for their preservation skills as microdevelopers, “rehabbing derelict properties to rent (or sell)…in an attempt to save houses from demolition….” One of them, Bernice Radle, gave a TED talk,
    holding up a heart‐shaped poster that read “Preservation is Sexy” while explaining the “preservation as social activism” manifesto that drives her and her peers.
    Preservation as social activism. In the 21st century, preservation is definitely not a one‐size‐fits‐all proposition – not with Main Street revitalization, heritage tourism, social justice, the use of urban landscapes as public history, a growing back‐to‐the‐city movement, public gardens, placemaking, historic site reinvention, and the focus on economic and environmental sustainability all part of our work.
    This broadening of preservation has led to a change in how we do our work. Preservationists today are often moving beyond a singular reliance on regulation, knowing we cannot focus on saving every piece of material from our historic buildings or freezing our historic landscapes in a moment in time, as if that is what makes them important.
    Herbert Muschamp, former architecture critic for the New York Times, said, “A building does not have to be an important work of architecture to become a first‐rate landmark.
    Landmarks are not created by architects. They are fashioned by those who encounter them after they are built. The essential feature of a landmark is not its design, but the place it holds in a city’s memory.”
    Places – whether they be buildings, gardens, or landscapes – change as they are imbued with meaning, memory and stories. Looking at landmarks only through the lens of an architectural historian or landscape architect – without considering other equally important aspects of place – severely limits our understanding of what makes our older and historic buildings and their landscapes special. Daniel
    Solomon, writing in Bedside Essays for Lovers (of Cities), notes what the sustainable city must sustain… “…is the culture of the city: the way people cook in New Orleans, the way they dress in Milan, dance in Havana, speak in London, wise‐crack in New York, look cool in Tokyo.”
    Cities, like gardens and landscapes, change all the time. They are living organisms, and that is what living organisms do. But while change is inevitable, the form of that change is not inevitable. Those of us who care about the historic environment want that change to be evolutionary and sustainable – not one of constant upheaval that tears down the old and rips it away. We want to see change that acts with respect towards our historic environment, while adding, as Solomon says, “vibrant new chapters to history without eradicating it.”
    Those who work to preserve landscapes generally expect some change. The trick is to preserve the soul of the landscape while permitting necessary and inevitable change to occur. This is a powerful notion that could further inform conservation of buildings, neighborhoods, and communities.
    Many who are working to conserve historic environments are embracing change as they realize that local situations call for different tools and a different approach, if we are to achieve the larger goal of creating and maintaining livable, sustainable communities,
    Much of historic preservation’s regulatory framework has been focused on zoning codes, and so some of these new tools are focused on revising planning and zoning codes and combining that with incentives for conservation.
    Our current toolbox is comprehensive and has proven its effectiveness, from survey and designation to protection and incentives. Practitioners in the field are now leveraging open data and GIS technology to measure and visualize assets and opportunities
    Even with new technologies and methods, however, preservation has operated as an outsider movement over the past five decades, working against the grain of normal policies, plans, and development practice. As a result, many of our tools are seen as exceptions, fixes, and Band‐Aids, designed to give older buildings, landscapes, and neighborhoods a chance for survival in an otherwise hostile environment. For example, historic preservation districts are typically implemented as overlays on top of base zoning that was created for suburban style development. Similarly, historic buildings are given exceptions and exemptions in building and energy codes that were written for new construction.
    The problem – and the opportunity – is taking the values and proven benefits of preservation to scale. If saving, reusing, and retrofitting old buildings and landscapes is a good thing, how can we make this happen more easily and more often?
    We do it by creating tools that move older and historic environments from the exception to the exemplary. From the exempt to the norm.
    Although the number of buildings over fifty years of age constitute more than half of the structures in many of our cities, five percent is the average extent of historic fabric that is protected through local designation in most large cities. We need other tools – such as demolition review and context sensitive zoning – which can recognize the importance of historic buildings and landscapes.
    How can we make the saving, reusing, and retrofitting of old buildings and their landscapes happen more easily and more often? We do it by creating tools that look at outcomes, instead of prescriptions.
    One such tool was developed by the City of Seattle with the help of our Preservation Green Lab. Seattle passed the nation’s first outcome‐based energy code, focused on energy‐saving outcomes instead of prescriptive actions. That code aligns with the inherent energy‐saving qualities of older buildings.
    To move to the mainstream, many are working to change how we think about the use of historic buildings.
    The National Trust, among others, is leading efforts to move beyond the idea that a museum is the optimal outcome for an important historic building or landscape. We are in a good position to help lead this discussion, as we have 27 historic sites across the country. Many of our house museums – and those of other organizations – are successful, vibrant, and should be celebrated: this is not about closing house museums.
    But at the Trust, we are focusing on the relevance of these places and are embracing change at several of our historic sites, including Woodlawn, located in Alexandria, Virginia, and the first property acquired by the National Trust. Woodlawn, like most house museums, has been under‐funded and under‐utilized in its 60‐year history as a museum.
    In an expanding partnership with a farm‐to‐table nonprofit organization named Arcadia, the National Trust is looking beyond the house museum at a new use for Woodlawn. We are opening the doors to broader public participation and setting up a 21st century use that relates directly to the site’s 19th century roots as a place for experimental agriculture. In this new vision, we can combine interpretation, education, the local food movement, and on‐site dining in a shared use of the site.
    The Chairman of Arcadia spoke recently to the National Trust Board about his vision at Woodlawn.
    In those remarks he said they wanted to introduce visitors to…
    …its historical assets, to the stories of the people who lived here, and to the rich history of food and agriculture that played out on this land and that are emblematic and revealing of the agricultural legacy of the region and, to a great extent, of the nation as a whole….Visitors will see the future of food and agriculture through the lens of the past, and they will hear stories of this place that are inspiring to us, and that are still largely untold. One that we repeat any chance we can is the story of the Quakers who purchased Woodlawn in the years leading up to the Civil War and turned what had until then been a slave plantation into a free labor zone, making it profitable for the first time in its history. In a very different time and context, our efforts here at Woodlawn will be repeating those of the Quakers—trying to use food in service of social justice.
    Sometimes embracing change entails going back to the future.
    National Trust President Stephanie Meeks has suggested that we “Stop debating whether house museums are a flawed model, and instead channel that energy into the original impulse: the desire to preserve the houses where our history was made. To preserve these properties – to sustain their place in history and advance their meaning – we need to think anew, and act accordingly.” The change at Woodlawn is built around the idea that people are central to our conservation of historic environments. Poet Peter Streckfus, when asked to consider why old places matter, responded, “I’m not sure old places matter. People matter. The question is how do we honor ourselves when we
    honor old places?” We haven’t always thought about people in preservation. I know I’ve seen thousands of PowerPoint
    presentations that show buildings and landscapes – but only occasionally the people using those places.
    Has everyone left town?
    Once again, those who are pushing our movement forward are considering how preservation would be different if we focused on people.
    We are seeing this when we open up our work to the places people love, and not just architectural or horticultural masterpieces. Urban historian Dolores Hayden writes that, “Restoring significant shared meanings for many neglected…places first involves claiming the
    entire…cultural landscape as an important part of American history, not just its architectural monuments.”
    When we change our focus to people, we become serious about relevance. In many of the places we save, and in the way we approach their conservation, we often talk about the “period of significance.” But at the National Trust we are turning that on its head, and asking, “What if the period of significance is now?”
    At President Lincoln’s Cottage, where Abraham Lincoln conceived the Emancipation Proclamation, understanding that “the period of significance is now” leads us to use of the site as the springboard for exhibits, lectures, and projects that address human trafficking in the 21st century. Slavery, unfortunately, didn’t end in 1865.
    If preservation is about people, we will be concerned about how our actions impact people and the planet where we live. We live in a world that is using up its resources at an alarming rate. Our Preservation Green Lab is using peer‐reviewed research to demonstrate the role that older and historic buildings and communities can play in the effort to bring our cities and towns toward environmental
    sustainability. As this body of knowledge grows, it will be important for preservationists to understand the science and join the fight in city councils, planning departments, state legislatures, and the halls of Congress. This is work that is relevant, people‐centric, and critical to our future.
    Daniel Solomon in his Bedside Essays calls the places that respect their historic environments and evolve in ways that maintain the continuum of past – to present – to future – “continuous cities.” They are the people‐centered antidote to sprawl. Solomon writes,
    “Sprawl and erasure insulate us from the great pageant of humanity, anesthetize our consciousness, and diminish our insight. The city should be didactic, the great teacher of human possibility. Only cities, only continuous cities, can perform this role, because they are the places that experience is not selective. In the city of twenty‐first century dreams, obsessions about physical well‐being and human
    connection take on spiritual dimensions and inform architecture and city building. The continuous city is as healthy for the soul as it is for the body.”
    Environmental psychologists are helping us understand that “old places provide people with a sense of being part of a continuum that is necessary for them to be psychologically and emotionally healthy.” Can we challenge ourselves in our historic sites, regulatory review, and sustainability efforts to put the focus on people?
    And can we accept the challenge to be about all people?
    At far too many places – at historic sites and gardens, in the neighborhoods we choose to designate, and through our publications – we have told our stories in a way that conveniently forgot the majority of the people whose lives were part of our layered history. Preservationists are beginning to work preemptively and collaboratively with all communities. The change of working against to working with marginalized communities in retaining their community structures (both social and spatial) is among the central crossroads for the preservation movement today.
    At the National Trust historic site Montpelier – the historic home of James Madison – this work is also changing the landscape that many have come to associate with the estate. For many years, the lawn from the rear portico down to the garden could have been at the 18th hole of the Augusta National Golf Course. It looked beautiful.
    But it hid the truth of how the enslaved community was central to life at the home of this founding father. So five years ago, the Montpelier Foundation erected wooden frames on this lawn to show the historic relationship of the homes of the enslaved community with the mansion – and forever changed the perception of visitors to the site. Late last year, philanthropist David Rubenstein gave Montpelier a $10 million gift that will allow us – among other things – to recreate these homes, and more fully explain how the slave economy functioned at the home of the Father of the Constitution. This work has been undertaken with strong input from historians and archaeologists but – more importantly – it has engaged the descendants of the enslaved community at Montpelier.
    This focus on preservation as a form of social justice can apply to many places people care about today – not just Woodlawn, President Lincoln’s Cottage, or Montpelier. Max Page, Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has written and spoken eloquently about the capacity of old places with difficult histories to lead to social justice. Those who experience a revelation
    at a place like Montpelier will be attuned to it in other places as well – such is the power of one place, one action to have consequences for people.
    Preservation can’t just be about buildings and landscapes. When we embrace continuity and change, there can be a greater end. I can think of no better end than to make the phrase “preservation is about all people” a reality.
    Having considered the importance of change and people to our success, let’s move to our third theme – that of the language we use in preservation.
    Far too few people understand the changing nature of preservation. I believe this is because our reactionary language looks backward and is based on conservation doctrine. We’ve allowed ourselves to be defined by that language.
    When the voters of Houston, Texas, narrowly defeated a referendum to save and rehabilitate the Astrodome, a local newspaper felt perfectly comfortable in saying that the voters had rejected nostalgia.
    Nostalgia? We don’t work in nostalgia. The Astrodome – the 8th Wonder of the World, a modernist icon, and a symbol of the brashness, big vision, and can‐do spirit of Texas with a bright future – isn’t nostalgia. Yet we’ve too often allowed ourselves to be framed by others as seeking to return to the past because we can’t cope with the reality of life today.
    Nostalgia can lead to memory, which is a good thing for preservation. However, there is a problem in terms of language. Fundamentally preservation is a political movement. That is as true for those who care for and love historic gardens and landscapes as it is for those who want to save old buildings.
    Writing on the influential planning blog Greater, Greater Washington, David Alpert brought this point home in a post about an especially difficult fight over the Brutalist‐style Third Church of Christ Scientist in our nation’s capital.
    If there’s ever an example of winning the battle and losing the war, (Alpert wrote) this church fight is it….I admire the strict preservationists’ fortitude in standing up for what they believe, but preservationists need to realize an important fact: preservation is a political movement. For all the talk about how preservation retains even buildings that are unpopular (since tastes change), preservation got started saving buildings that were popular. Masses rose up unsuccessfully to save the old Penn Station, still New York City’s most deeply‐felt loss. Our historic preservation laws came from the political force of many citizens dismayed at the changes happening around them. Since then, the political climate has changed. (Alpert ends by noting) If I were a leader in the historic
    preservation movement, I’d be very worried that the movement is heading…toward irrelevance in pursuit of ideological purity.
    Political movements succeed when they find issues where undecided people agree with their side. They also succeed when they work hard to educate the public about why things – such as modernist buildings and landscapes – can be important from an architectural, sustainability, and a (small “c”) conservative point of view. We should be more respectful of all places and not assume that everything is
    going to be rebuilt every 30 years. But we have to speak in language that resonates with the values that people care about. And we have to understand that we may be going up against deeply held beliefs by the public about what they like – and don’t like – in our communities.
    While our work is forward‐looking, the framing others do of our work – and often the language we use as preservationists – helps make the case for our critics. Right now, preservation is often defined based on our most traditional and regulatory traits. We are the “NO Police.” Sometimes the shoe fits. There is a vocal part of our movement that wants to use preservation to “stop” change and “keep things
    as they are.”
    There are times when we – as preservationists – should say NO. We may be trying to keep – and sometimes we are the only voice for – something of value. But I believe strongly that the NO has to be coupled with an explanation of why it matters and why it is valuable to people, with solutions and with a vision for the present and future.
    As preservationists, we are not here to stop change or keep things as they are, but we are here to manage change, to envision a future as opposed to accepting what we are given if we simply leave things alone. Conservation and reuse of historic buildings and neighborhoods is at the heart of much of the renewal of American communities over the past 30 years. But preservation as nostalgia often gets pigeon‐holed as a niche, a “nice‐to‐do” but not “critical‐to‐do” activity. Thankfully, a new generation is providing a sense of how to approach preservation holistically.
    They are making the case – in path‐creating, forward‐thinking, active language – for preservation. My colleague Tom Mayes recently spent six months on sabbatical at the American Academy in Rome focused on the language we use in describing why old places matter.
    In a series of essays, Tom explores the reasons that old places are good for people. He begins with what he considers the main reason—“that old places are important for people to define who they are through memory, continuity, and identity—a ‘sense of orientation.’ These fundamental reasons inform all of the other reasons that follow: commemoration, beauty, civic identity, and the reasons that are more pragmatic—preservation as a tool for community revitalization, the stabilization of property values, economic development, and sustainability.”
    And as Tom notes in his introductory essay, “The notion that old places matter is not primarily about the past. It is about why old places matter to people today and for the future.”
    Our political movement must compel others to believe that saving historic and older buildings should be a priority for decision makers today. We must show that livable communities today – thriving, alive communities – are diverse. Wholesale demolition and new construction destroys the connectivity and the continuum that make places unique and desirable.
    Since the 1961 publication of Jane Jacobs’ seminal text, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, planners and preservationists have intuitively understood the important role that older buildings, landscapes, and development patterns play not only in building continuity, but in supporting community vitality, social diversity and small business development. Through the research of the Preservation Green Lab, we are now able to empirically show how right Jacobs was.
    Using a trove of newly available data, spatial statistical analysis, layered citywide maps, and in‐depth neighborhood case studies, their work has found strong statistical connections between the unique architectural character of older urban blocks and economically vibrant and socially diverse neighborhoods.
    A 2014 National Trust study – entitled Older, Smaller, Better – begins to make this case by highlighting preservation’s key role in economic vitality and the intensity of human activity. We found that neighborhoods made up of a diverse mix of older and newer buildings support the local economy, with a high percentage of new businesses as well as women and minority‐owned businesses.
    We also show that young people love old buildings. Night life is most alive on streets with a diverse range of building age. On Fridays at 10:00 pm, there is significantly greater cell phone activity in neighborhoods with mixed‐vintage buildings than neighborhoods with new buildings alone.
    This work is telling us that we need to step away from the exclusive focus on built assets as “great architecture,” or “great landscapes,” as if buildings and places matter without the stories of the people who inhabit them. In the 21st century, people crave experiences, community and opportunity, and they will move to, invest in and take care of places that provide these core needs.
    But if we speak in language of preservation and conservation doctrine – even if we are speaking of relevant issues such as environmental sustainability and urban “hipness” – we will still fail to reach the majority of Americans who share our interests and could be supporters.
    Some of the most important work in this area today is being undertaken by Dr. Jeremy Wells, a professor in the historic preservation program at Roger Williams University, where he specializes in the use of social science research methods to improve the ways in which the historic environment can be conserved.
    In an upcoming issue of the National Trust journal Forum, Dr. Wells makes the case for historic place conservation based on people’s values. He:
    “Expresses the disconnect between the way we (that is, professionals who work with old or historic buildings, places and landscapes) make an objective case for conserving historic places and the emotional way in which most people actually talk about places with cultural value. Each side tends to talk past each other, which may help to explain why most people support conserving old or historic
    places but don’t view themselves as historic preservationists, and therefore fail to support organizations that advocate for historic place conservation.”
    “In other words,” Wells continues, “we aren’t communicating effectively with most stakeholders in their own language and its familiar meanings. We are operating as if we expect most people to adopt our language, perspective and objective descriptions, which is an improbable outcome.”
    To be embraced, preservation needs to be easy and personal. My colleague Tom Mayes has observed that,
    “As preservation has become more professionalized we have developed our own language, practices, standards and professional organizations. While the professionalization is useful in many ways, it can also create an insularity that may impede our capacity to see what we have in common with others outside the field who also care about old places. And we may not recognize some of our own biases.”
    Jeremy Wells has spoken to that disconnect when describing a layperson’s perspective on the historic environment of historic buildings, structures, places and landscapes. People believe that heritage can be found everywhere – not just in special districts – and that at heart everyone is a heritage expert. Natural and cultural heritage are intertwined in a continuum. People have a much more multidimensional view of significance than the preservation expert would often suspect, and people understand that significance lies in the present, not the past.
    When we look at these perspectives, it is easy to see why much of our work on the professional side of conservation conflicts with the public’s view of heritage. Our doctrine and practices are based on federal laws and frameworks – such as the National Register of Historic Places, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, and the Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural
    Landscapes. It is virtually impossible, in that framework, to apply broader understandings of heritage that would resonate with the public.
    Alanen & Melnick’s Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America speaks to our framework of laws. In that book, the authors’ point out that:
    “In the remarkable surge of federal, state, and local activity since the 1980s, there has developed an inclination to simplify rather than clarify the values inherent in cultural landscapes and, correspondingly, to simplify responses to those values. … The reliance on codification…holds the potential to negate the very idiosyncratic landscapes qualities that set one place apart from another.”
    Old places matter to people for a variety of reasons, and these reasons often overlap. Yet in the preservation field, we simplify and codify with our focus primarily on two aspects of the environment: architecture and history. Both are important, and should be part of the reasons why we protect old places. But there are many other reasons the public cares about older and historic places. Tom Mayes’
    work adds that the fundamental psychological and sociological reasons of continuity, stability, belonging, memory and identity position old places as critically important for people’s wellbeing.
    “Making arguments to the public based on conservation doctrine is almost certainly doomed to failure,” according to Wells. “So how can we make a better case for historic place conservation? The answer is to make a better effort to understand how the public values, perceives and behaves in historic environments.”
    One additional note about language that goes to the heart of our movement’s challenge: its name. The words “historic” and “preservation” do not do justice to the fact that our work is an essential element in the future of America’s cities, towns, and countrysides. “Historic Preservation” combines two words that look backward and fit the stereotype of resistance to change. We are the only country in the world that names what we do as historic preservation. Heritage conservation is the more common form found around the globe, but a more active and forward‐looking proposal is “conservation of the historic environment.” We grapple with this at the National Trust. Most laypeople call us the “National Historic Trust” and perhaps that should be our name. It is clearly an easy and personal alternative to the mind‐numbing mouthful we use now. I hope as a movement we can have a meaningful conversation around change, people, and language that begins with our name.
    I’d like to end by recounting a recent event that weaves all three of these elements together. Two weeks ago, I was in Chicago on a frigid morning to watch President Barack Obama designate the Pullman neighborhood as a National Monument. After joking that it had always been his dream to be the first president to designate a National Monument in sub‐zero temperatures, the president launched into a
    twenty minute speech that captured – in values‐laced language – why Pullman’s history and Pullman as a place mattered today and in the future.
    Pullman, if you do not know the history, is a remarkably intact industrial town of historic buildings and landscapes. Located 13 miles south of downtown Chicago, it was built by industrialist George Pullman and through all the change that has taken place in this small community, it stands today as representative of the heart of the American Labor movement. Strikes that began in Pullman in 1893 and
    spread across the country led – in the long arc of history – to the establishment of Labor Day, a 40‐hour work week, the weekend, overtime pay, safe workplace conditions, and the right to organize for higher wages and better opportunities. The first African American Union – the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – had ties to Pullman. The men and women who worked and labored in Pullman – white and
    black – helped create the American middle class.
    President Obama told the story of Pullman in deeply personal terms, as they related to his life, the life of his family, and to the life of all Americans. Then – in contrasting the great parks of natural beauty with a place like Pullman – the President spoke directly to the students who filled the bleachers in a high school gymnasium, saying:
    “…To the young people here today, that’s what I hope you take away from this place. It is right that we think of our national monuments as these amazing vistas, and mountains, and rivers. But part of what we’re preserving…is also history. It’s also understanding that places that look ordinary are nothing but extraordinary. The places you live are extraordinary, which means you can be extraordinary. You can make something happen, the same way these workers here at Pullman made something happen.
    That’s not to tell you that life is always going to be fair, or even that America will always live up to its ideals. But it is to teach us that no matter who you are, you stand on the shoulders of giants. You stand on the site of great historic movements. And that means you can initiate great historic movements by your own actions.”
    Historic places matter to people today and to future generations because of the changes, stories, memories, and inspiration that are embedded in our landmarks. If we tell that story in language that speaks to the values people care about, and if we work side‐by‐side with the people living in our communities, we can save these places that tell the broad and rich story of America.
    Together, we have the opportunity to make our historic buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods relevant in shaping the future of our ever‐changing communities. If preservationists embrace change, we may find ourselves in the same situation as those who follow Mark Twain’s advice about always telling the truth: “It will amaze your friends and confound your enemies.”
    Let’s embrace both continuity and change.

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