How do serve your mission, your visitors and keep the lights on? That’s a question that nonprofit leaders in the cultural and museum fields ask themselves every day and is all in a day’s work for Colleen Dilenschneider, today’s guest on PreserveCast. Colleen provides data and analysis to inform the evolution of visitor-serving organizations so that they may optimize mission execution and financial sustainability. I’ve been following Colleen’s blog for many years – and have always found her analysis to be some of the very best out there for visitor serving organizations – a voice I knew I wanted to bring to our growing PreserveCast audience.
This week’s guest is unique; we’re bringing back Bonnie McDonald to talk about the work of her organization, Landmarks Illinois, as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and look forward to the next 50 years of saving places and making preservation relevant in a rapidly changing world.
On this second edition of PreserveCast Conversations: The Professor and the Practitioner, a new monthly feature of PreserveCast, co-hosts Nicholas Redding and Dr. Whitney Martinko explore the trends, topics and issues that are making headlines in the world of preservation this month. From philanthropy to Mohawk ironworkers, they're covering a lot of ground in today's conversation on preservation and the issues that matter. For regular listeners, also, be sure to send any questions you have about this episode or questions you’d like answered in next month’s conversation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Burgundy, France, around forty workers are taking up an extraordinary challenge: to build a fortified castle using the techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. It’s almost a surreal project and today we’re talking with Sarah Preston, a bilingual tour guide at Guédelon, a site that is literally resurrecting age old trades in the name of preservation, history and understanding.
I was introduced to Guédelon by a previous PreserveCast guest, Peter Ginn – who participated in “Secrets of the Castle,” a BBC series which explored the challenges of building a castle using only medieval techniques. Peter connected us to Sarah Preston, today’s guest, and the rest is history.
Connecting place to story to digital resources is a challenge confronting communities across the globe. That’s why when I learned about nashvillesites.org, I knew we had a winner for PreserveCast. Not only is Nashville an amazing town – but this story holds many lessons for countless other places looking to bring their history to life.
There are over 150 metro markers, over 50 more state and nationally designated and recognized historic markers, sites, buildings, and districts in Metro Nashville. NashvilleSites.org augments Nashville’s unique history with multimedia information and dynamic online resources.
Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian working on a multidisciplinary project based on the Green Book. In Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America, Taylor has masterfully pulled together this story of resilience and segregation in a way that elevates and memorializes this history – a history still rooted in countless towns and cities across America.
The Jingle Dress project originated from a dream to unite the beauty of the land and the healing power of the jingle dance during these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The origin of the jingle dance to the Ojibwe people happened during the influenza pandemic of 1918-19. It came as a dream to a father whose daughter was sick with the virus. His dream revealed the new dress and dance that had the power to heal. When the dresses were made, they were given to four women to perform the dance. When the little girl heard the sound of the jingles, she became stronger. By the end of the night she was dancing too.
Today’s guest, Eugene Tapahe, also has a dream to take this healing power to the land, to travel and capture a series of images that will document spiritual places where ancestors once walked. The goal is to unite and give hope to the world through art, dance and culture to help us all to heal together. Learn more about the project and support it at: https://tapahe.com/jingle-dress-project.html
I have been a big fan of Peter Ginn ever since I watched the first episode of Victorian Farm, where he portrayed a Victorian-era farmer in England alongside Ruth Goodman and Alex Langlands. Peter has deftly combined his knowledge of the past with entertainment and is a proud ambassador for preserving historic trades and crafts. In short, he’s the ideal PreserveCast guest.
Established in 1969, the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture is the nation’s first-ever ethnic commission and has a 50 year track record of exploring, researching, commemorating and preserving important places associated with the African American history of the Old Line State. On this week’s PreserveCast, we’re talking with Chanel Compton, the Executive Director of the Commission, about their work and the exciting future of African American preservation in Maryland and beyond.
As nearly anyone who has seriously studied American history can attest – there is no American story without the story of slavery. It is central to our origin and must be included in order to get a full and complete picture of our history. Unfortunately, the records of slavery are spread far and wide and are often siloed and incomplete. In this two part series, we’re talking to two of the minds behind Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade – a digital preservation effort aimed at connected the dots and knocking down the silos of slave history. Learn more at www.enslaved.org.
Enslaved.org Brings Vivid Detail to the Lives of the Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade: A Conversation with Daryle Williams
As nearly anyone who has seriously studied American history can attest – there is no American story without the story of slavery. It is central to our origin and must be included in order to get a full and complete picture of our history.
Unfortunately, the records of slavery are spread far and wide and are often siloed and incomplete.
In this two-part series, we’re talking to two of the minds behind Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade – a digital preservation effort aimed at connected the dots and knocking down the silos of slave history.
Learn more at www.enslaved.org.
Daryle Williams (PhD, History, Stanford University, 1995), Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland, is Co-Principal Investigator on AADHum and Enslaved, two collaborative projects in black studies and digital humanities sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Williams was lead editor on The Rio de Janeiro Reader: Politics, History, Culture (Duke University Press, 2015) and serves as Area Editor (Brazil pre-1888) on the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography(Oxford University Press). Single-author publications include Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930-1945 (Duke, 2001), winner of the American Historical Association's John Edwin Fagg prize, and several articles and book chapters on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazilian cultural and social history. His current book project is "The Broken Paths of Freedom: Liberated Africans in Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Slave Society."
Williams has held grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship Program, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
Prior to serving as an associate dean, Williams was graduate studies director in the UMD history department and associate director of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora.
What we preserve tells as much about us as it does about the history itself. Preservation is a movement with a history unto itself – but all too often that story is overlooked in favor of the history of the sites that are preserved. Whitney Martinko, an associate professor of History at Villanova University, is tackling that story and recently published Historic Real Estate: Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States, an in-depth look at why and what we preserve and how interconnected our preservation landscape is to our market driven economy. On this week’s PreserveCast we’re talking about the impulse to preserve and what it says about us, the preservers.
The UK’s Kiplin Hall: Exploring the Ancestral Home of Maryland’s Most Prominent Colonists with Director James Etherington
When most Marylanders – or most Americans for that matter – think about the first European settlers they generally begin that story on the shores of North America.
However, in reality, these early colonists had long lives in their native countries before they ever set foot in America. Today’s guest, James Etherington, is the Director of Kiplin Hall – a historic site in England that interprets the ancestral home of the Calverts, one of Maryland’s earliest and most prominent colonial families.
On this week’s PreserveCast, we’re heading across the pond to tell the rest of the story of American colonization.
Change can be difficult. Building momentum, engaging diverse audiences, and bringing history to life is the tough stuff of preservation and community engagement.
Today’s guest, Dana Saylor, has made it her mission to help fellow preservationists, artists, community leaders, and interested citizens in developing strategies that turn ideas into action. Dana is a creative community connector and mentor to fellow changemakers. Her work is about building emotional connection to place. She is based in Buffalo, New York, and is an Advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On this week’s PreserveCast, we’re talking the nuts and bolts of making change happen with a leading voice for this critical and timely work.
Hey, Nick here, and before we get started – just a quick reminder to please consider making a donation – even $5 would go a long way – and you can do it at preservecast.org; also would you be willing to give us a five-star rating and maybe a quick review. We haven’t had a new review in way too long and I need your help! And, finally, today’s episode is made possible thanks to the support of The 1772 Foundation. Now, let’s make some change happen!
Olivia Williams of McLeod Plantation: Fighting Racism & Building Empathy through Honest Educational Interpretation
Today’s guest is a part of a powerful movement to share the authentic, painful and real history of slavery at some of America’s most visited plantation sites.
Olivia Williams is a cultural history interpreter at McLeod Plantation Historic Site in Charleston, South Carolina. She’s been featured in the BBC, CBS News and the New York Times for her work and for shining a light on the awkward and uncomfortable questions posed by many visitors which underscore the lack of understanding of America’s slaveholding past.
This week on PreserveCast, we’ll discuss this critical work with a master of the trade.
Our nation is confronting challenges on almost every front – so why invest money in historic sites when the challenges are so great?
Places like Historic Sotterley, located in Southern Maryland, can make the case for why we should invest. Sotterley has worked to become an exceptional cultural and educational resource for its region and state, and through ongoing work strives to help build a better community with local and regional partners.
On today’s episode of PreserveCast, we’re talking with Nancy Easterling, the Executive Director of Historic Sotterley about tackling the complex history of a plantation and how that conversation can improve communities.
There are some topics that are easy to introduce to our PreserveCast listeners. Today’s episode is not one of those – but it is a topic we feel compelled to cover and explore.
Among his many responsibilities and positions, today’s guest, Dr. David Fakunle, is also currently serving as the as Chair of the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first state body in the United States dedicated to chronicling and bringing justice to racial terror lynchings.
It is a dark and painful chapter in our history – but a history which we’ll confront and discuss on this week’s PreserveCast with a leader dealing with the legacy of lynchings and the effort to bring justice to those who were denied it.
As a child growing up in Western New York, with Mohawk cousins, the history and world of native American culture always fascinated me. The story of the native peoples of America speak through many voices – music, art, culture – but all too often are missing from the landscape of museums and historic sites.
Today’s guest, G. Peter Jemison, is a renaissance figure in native culture, art, and heritage and also serves as the Historic Site Manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, the location of a 17th-century Seneca town in Victor, NY.
On today’s PreserveCast, we will explore the rich history of the Iroquois and learn how their heritage continues in the present.
Foxfire is the bioluminescence created by some species of fungi present in decaying wood. It is a wonderfully evocative word selected by a teacher and student over 50 years ago to be the title for their new project to document life in the southern Appalachians.
What started initially as a student project has live on for decades and is today an open-air museum and outdoor village with over 20 historic log buildings and the Foxfire Archive, which consists of over 50 years of oral history interviews, images, and video.
With the light of the foxfire marking our path, on this week’s PreserveCast we’re talking with Kami Ahrens, the Assistant Curator for the Foxfire Museum about the special work they’re doing to preserve the past.
Do you ever wonder how authors and historians can keep writing new books about the same 'ole history?
Shouldn’t it never change because it’s all in the past?
The truth is anything but.
No one can explain that better than our guest, Dennis Frye – having been involved in everything from giving tours to leading nationally important preservation and battlefield protection organizations, few people know the complexities of Civil War history like Dennis.
In his recent book, Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination, Dennis makes the case that history should never lie dormant, it always needs to be re-examined, stating, “Historians should always be challenging themselves. They should always be a detective. They should always be mining for new information, and if it completely reverses something that’s conventional, good, good. Throw it out there and let people see it in a different way, in a different manner, in a different light.”
Listen in to this episode of PreserveCast to hear from Dennis about his investigative and inclusive approach to historical research on this special re-broadcast in commemoration of the Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.
It has been historically all too easy for the places associated with underrepresented communities to fall through the cracks of the historic record.
To a degree, that has been the case with the overly-simplified history presented of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. But with the recent spotlight on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, new research and a more inclusive and accurate telling of the complex history has started to fill in those cracks.
In this rereleased episode, your host Nick Redding was joined by historian Kacy Rohn, the author of Maryland's historic context report focused on uncovering the stories of the remarkable women of Maryland's suffrage movement.
Join us for a discussion on the fight for women’s right to vote in the United States, and the power of place to help us remember that fight.
This is PreserveCast.
Few names have become as synonymous with grit, determination, and liberty as Harriet Tubman. A Moses for her people, Tubman has become an almost mythical character who represents the best of the American spirit in the face of incredible suffering and inhumanity. Yet, for many years, she lacked a rigorous and scholarly biography.
Today’s guest, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, addressed that historical inequity and helped bring Harriet’s real story to a new generation. On this week’s PreserveCast, we're heading back to the brackish marshes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore to talk Tubman, slavery, and freedom.
PreserveCast is powered by Preservation Maryland, a non-profit organization.
Nestled among the verdant fields and winding streams of the Genesee River Valley in upstate New York is one of America’s largest living history museums. Founded in 1966, the Genesee Country Village & Museum features 68 historic structures from the 19th century, moved from locations throughout Western New York, a gallery of sporting art, and a nature center and attracts more than 90,000 visitors each year. On this week’s PreserveCast, we’re headed back to the 19th century to talk with Genesee Country Village & Museum CEO Becky Wehle and Curator of Collections Peter Wisbey about the future of open-air museums and the historic trades.
As America confronts, commemorates, and questions its history – preservationists like Catherine Fleming Bruce are helping to frame those conversations and providing powerful examples of how historic places can help us in these challenging times.
Bruce is the author of an award-winning book on sustaining the sacred spaces of civil rights, human rights, and social movements and how this work can support the march towards greater social justice. With her book, "The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements," she became the first African American winner of the annual Historic Preservation Book Prize, presented by the University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation.
It’s a weighty topic – but one we must explore – and with someone who knows it well on this week’s PreserveCast.