Talking about museums is one thing, but what about the folks on the ground who really make the history happen? Rod Cofield is our guest this week, and while currently the Director of Hisoric London Town and Gardens, he has been on the frontlines of history education his whole career. Rod and Nick spoke about his time as a costumed interpreter in Historic St. Mary’s City, and the many current projects at London Town including their plans to crowdfund reconstruction of the 18th century bar that once stood in the tavern building on site. This is no re-enactment, Rod was right here in studio with us, on PreserveCast.
Preservationists come in all shapes and sizes, but have you ever heard of a preservationist cut-out doll? Today’s guest, Sarah Marsom, is a jack of all trades in terms of historic preservation. She’s a consultant, she’s a co-founder of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists, and to top it all off she created the Tiny Activist Project, which raises funds through the sale of dolls that celebrate inspirational figures in preservation, like Jane Jacobs. Sarah and I cover all these programs and more. Stick around for a ~little~ while, on this week’s PreserveCast!
For some of the larger historic buildings out there, it can take a number of craftspeople and specialists to properly restore and preserve them. But few have the knowledge and ability to organize stone masons, window craftsmen, and countless other trade specialists who may otherwise be used to working independently. One of those few is with us today; Tyler Tate is the President of Lewis Contractors, a construction company that partially specializes in historic institutional buildings. Tyler spoke with Nick about details of some of the many unique projects his company has been involved in, like the Washington Monument in Baltimore, the Brice House in Annapolis, and more. We won’t try to ~build~ anticipation any longer, this is PreserveCast!
As the winter comes to a close, you may find yourself dreaming of some relaxation time. Sure there’s the beach or camping, but have you ever considered a trip where you can help repair 500 year old stone towers in Eastern Europe? If your answer to that question is yes, this is the podcast for you. Judith Broeker, the co-founder of Adventures in Preservation, facilitates volunteer trips across the globe, connecting preservation craftspeople and experts with individuals who are ready and willing to lend a hand, and travel too! Judith and Nick discuss how these trips are funded, how projects are chosen, and the ways that these trips can assist historic communities, on this week's PreserveCast!
As historic preservationists we often can feel a sense of despair whenever we see a building that's been abandoned for years or even decades. Our guest today, Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America, knows just that feeling. That's why he is dedicated to gaining access to abandoned buildings and spaces across the country, and photographing what he finds inside. Matthew's images have appeared in countless esteemed publications, and he has photographed abandoned sites ranging from old mental hospitals to public utility buildings to theme parks. Don't go away! Matthew and Nick discuss how he picks his sites, why he thinks these buildings end up so mistreated, and how photography and greater exposure can sometimes help turn things around.
It can happen to anybody; you’re walking along and notice a quarter on the ground, and when you pick it up you realize it’s historic! From the 1950’s or even earlier! It can make you wonder what history lies just beneath the surface. Well today’s guest, Lara Maiklem, does more than just wonder. Lara, also known as the London Mudlark, spends her time scouring the muddy banks of the foreshore of the River Thames, in England, constantly uncovering everyday discarded items that wash up from the river. That is, when she’s not busy moderating the largest online mudlarking community, and writing about the pieces she’s found. Join as Nick and Lara discuss the history of mudlarking, what it takes to try it out yourself, and more on this week’s PreserveCast!
Simply tracing the history of the LGBTQ community, as it is with other marginalized groups, can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Let alone the challenges of identifying and interpreting historic places that were and are important to the LGBTQ community. Fortunately, Susan Ferentinos is leading the way, and has quite literally written the book on the subject, her book “Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites” won an award from the National Council on Public History in 2016. Susan and our guest-host Meagan Baco spoke about how she came to specialize in LGBTQ history, what unique challenges exist in studying this history, and much more on this week’s PreserveCast.
If you’ve ever seen an image of the skyline of Baltimore City, one thing that might have stuck with you is the massive, glowing Domino Sugars sign. Earlier this month we at PreserveCast got to visit the sugar refinery underneath that sign, which to this day processes some 7 million pounds of sugar a day. We also visited the offices of Triangle Sign and Service, the company that has maintained the sign since they first installed it in 1951. Join the conservation between Nick, and guests Peter O’Malley, Vice-President of Corporate Relations for American Sugar Refining (the company that produces the Domino brand), and Joe Trabert and Dave Shapiro from Triangle Signs, about how and why this local icon has lasted so long, and what it takes to maintain it. Honestly, it was pretty sweet.
If you’ve ever wanted to dive deeper into classic fairy tales, you may have enjoyed Maryland’s once famous attraction the Enchanted Forest. But what happens to all of the buildings and unique concrete structures of a 1950s amusement park when it closes? In this case, they found a second life as part of Clark’s Elioak Farm, thanks to the efforts of the petting farm’s owner, Martha Clark, as well as the many who volunteered. Stick around to learn about the history of this Maryland icon, the story of a roadside attraction being saved by the community around it, and what it takes to maintain a massive concrete shoe. This is better than a bag of magic beans, this is PreserveCast!
In Berea, Kentucky, the local government has taken stock of the town's historic artistry and crafting traditions, decided to invest, and the craziest part? It seems to be working. Mayor Steven Connelly joined Nick to share some of the unique history of his town, for instance how they pushed back against segregationist policies of the Jim Crow South, and he shared news of what will hopefully be a bright future driven by tourism based on the local folk art heritage.
Also, just so you know, this is episode is brought to you in partnership with the Rural Maryland Council, as we explore historic rural communities on this week's PreserveCast!