A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
Cracker Barrel Oddly Authentic? – The Atlantic
“Cracker Barrel is today’s American history museum. Some of the restaurant’s visitors get a kick out of its old timey decor. Others would rather eat their pancakes without staring up at old hula hoops and deer heads. Either way, if you’ve ever eaten at a Cracker Barrel, you know there are antiques everywhere. Maybe you think they’re fake. But the company says they’re not. And they’re not just kitsch, either. In fact, in their own way, they’re quite sophisticated.” This piece raises a lot of question about what is authentic, what is reproduction, and how we are interpreting or recreating our history.
The New Discussion On Vinyl Siding - Preservation in Pink
“So what to call it? Simple, call it what it is, plastic siding. Not vinyl, not synthetic, but plastic. “Plastic siding” conjures more appropriate and accurate qualities of this product as relates to its use on old buildings, to wit: it’s temporary, it fades, it gets brittle, it warps, it melts, it shrinks, it cracks, it splits, a stiff wind can blow it away, you can’t paint it or maintain it, it’s tough to clean, and it will end up in a landfill with all the other plastic that’s been living outside.” Find part Part II here, Part III here, and Part IV of PIP’s enlightening series on how to fight against vinyl siding here.
Context, Culture, and Authenticity Fetish – Time Tells
“What a particular culture in a particular context IDENTIFIES as significant may differ – in terms of tangible versus intangible heritage; in terms of social history versus design history: in terms of the stories it deems indelible to the transmission of cultural heritage. The Burra Charter and subsequent protocols have urged us to heed this cultural input at each step of the process: WHAT do you think is important; HOW do you evaluate that importance; WHAT do you do legally or politically to enforce this; and HOW do you treat the resource you have identified, evaluated and registered?”
California’s Russian Village – PreservationNation
“Buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places are often relics of a vastly different time, cloaked in community legend and dusty ancestral history. For Jerry Blanchard, however, the story behind the National Register-listed cluster of houses that makes up Claremont, California’s “Russian Village” isn’t even a generation removed — he spent his earliest years there.
So when Blanchard casually mentioned that his father had built a house on the National Register to family friend and California state historian Amy Crain a few months back, the two embarked on a journey to find out more.”
The Living New Deal Project – Preservation in Mississippi
“The Living New Deal Project, University of California-Berkeley, is an ambitious project with two primary goals: to map and describe every New Deal Project in the United States in one location, easily accessible to people, and to publicize how we are still benefiting today from the government investment in infrastructure from that brief period that comprised the New Deal years”
Museum Ethic and American Pickers – Keeping History Alive
“From the perspective of museum ethics, a lot of red flags went up for me. Using American Pickers as a method of deaccessioning the collection to me shows that either this museum has no collection policy or that they do not follow the collection policy. Either one is appalling to me.
The major issue that I had is when Meyer sold a folk art piece to Frank for parts. The original artwork was made up of antique pencils from all across America. Frank indicated that antique pencils are quite popular among some collectors and he could probably disassemble the piece and sell each pencil for a few bucks to get the most value from the artwork. Fully understanding Frank’s plans, Meyer sold the piece no problem.”
“Down at the waterside, the SS Badger — that’s SS for steamship — is at the dock all winter. Sixty years old, she’s almost frozen in ice and time. The hull is black and the upper decks white with a black smokestack. The ship is longer, by far, than a football field.”
Arlington House Woods: Can We Reach a Compromise? – PreservationNation