April 25, 2020
Power of place means that it is a place that matters because it helps tell the story of a state and a nation, who people are, and where they come from. Places could be considered as “symbolic” whenever they have some value to a group of people and give an identity to the people. The example of the power of place can be the great mystical power of Stonehenge. Power of place has great importance for people whom it gives the identity.
The National Mall is a national park in downtown of the capital of the USA. There is a museum collection for each of the National Mall’s main memorials. Samples of characteristic museum collection items contain tectonic samples of stone, bronze casts, and works from memorial painters and designers. There is a really huge collection of cultural sites so that the park is significant for understanding historic preservation.
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The vernacular describes everyday language, including slang that is used by people. In history, the vernacular may be an architectural style illustrating the commonest methods, decorative characteristics, and belongings of a special historical period, territory, or group of individuals. For instance, clay and wood are traditional building materials in the Carpathians and the nearby foothills. Vernacular landscapes, architecture, or language have great historical importance because they save local and national identity of people (Stanton, 2006).
The Swahili house is the prevailing type of houses discovered in Tanzania, particularly in Dar es Salaam. Building skills have passed through generations due to practical fellowship. Permutation from a rustic to an urban society now forces changes in practice and constructing design. For poor people, the process of building a house is difficult, durable, and expensive. Nevertheless, a Swahili house has been an important place for rituals and an enclosure against pollution.
The fact that the selection of examples of memorial practice is by no means comprehensive and it may tempt one to believe in a universal human need for memory, for example, commemoration of significant events by modern nations, may be seen as a secular functional equivalent of practices with a religious character.
A modern example of the memorial practice is the example of Jorge Otero-Pailos. He participated in the Venice Biennale, a showy and authoritative art fair. He was not promoting a painting, a video setting, a monument, or a light exhibition. Jorge decided to clean the gothic monument’s wall with a high-tech latex solute. After this, he waited for the solute to dry and slough it off. Then, he showed the outcome as an art work with an unpremeditated aesthetic value (Raskin, 2011).
As an example of memorial practice, one can also take traditions of some village. A good example of this type is a living history museum, which is situated in Massachusetts. Its name is Plimoth Plantation. In 1969, a living village replaced the conventional static exhibits at Plimoth Plantation with a daily ongoing reenactment of the 17th-century life in the original Plimoth colony. By 1978, a personal approach was adopted: everyday village activities were performed by the staff dressed in perios costumes. The Plimoth Plantation is now inhabited, at least during museum hours, by these “residents”. The public is invited to walk through the re-created 1620s settlement and strike up neighborly conversations with whomever they wish. Actors who have thoroughly studied dossiers of individuals they portray pretend to know only the 17th-century life so that visitors must adapt to that historical perspective in order to talk with them. Residents often question visitors on their strange dialect and look askance at their “heathen” manner of dress. However, they are a friendly group and are willing to share information about their activities.
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The ability to go beyond a static representation of artifacts and to present a complete environment is the source of success of the Plimoth Plantation and other similar museums. With this in mind, local historians can keep alive their community’s history by preserving its structures. For instance, a community’s courthouse square can not only be saved, but used as a point of congregation for community events. (Tyler)
The advertisement just tries to “sell” historic memorials that are among destinations of Lowell. It offers the play of actors who represent people of the 19th century. In addition to this, the image offers to visit Lowell parks and listen to a live performance of Mill’s songs and stories or, for example, to wade into waterpower with the help of the Lowell Waterpower Exhibit. In other words, it just sells the piece of the city’s history. It looks mercantile, but at the same time it stimulates the interest of people to the national history. In such a way, the authorities can receive money that will be used for saving these pieces of history. Indeed, these places have a certain power, and they need funds for saving this power. Consequently, an interesting question arises: how will people relate to the past in the near future? Given mutability of heritage values, a proper application of the precautionary principle does not mean that decisions made today need to be permanent. Rather, they provide a future generation of heritage professionals with options they otherwise may lack. If it becomes clear with the passage of time and a reassessment of values that initial assumptions about future values of the listed sites have been over-optimistic, the site can be delisted (Spennemann, 2007).
Fortunately, the field of historic preservation is changing for the better. The current generation of practicing preservationists is creating a watershed for the field. Preservation now operates in a different world from that in which its roots were planted. Slowly, the field is managing to reimagine and retool itself to thrive in changed circumstances (Page & Mason, 2004).
Historic preservation is not just about housing museums anymore. Nowadays, movement of preservationists is to a greater extent focusing on diverse communities and populations. In fact, populations that varied both economically and ethnically are often the aim of historic districts whether it be a local historic district or a National Register district like Newburyport.
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In Newburyport, the mixture of homes allows the rich and the poor, the famous and the ordinary to rub shoulders and live together in a healthy diverse community not subdivided into sequestered housing. Instead of seniors here and wealthy there, every level of the community becomes united. This makes the city highly desirable.
Newburyport is the regional envy of the district not as an “elite” community, but because it is such a healthy city with a great quality of life. Every house in the historic district has a story to tell and no home is less important than the other. That is why, the National Landmark effort will be significant because every home in the historic district is important and must be surveyed. This is the reason why I am doing the “House Stories”.
It is a well-known fact that both the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall are now placed in a secure zone with entrance at security selection building. Around this territory, pedestrian traffic has been limited by temporary bicycle obstruction and park rangers. Almost ten years ago, the National Park Service suggested setting a seven-foot security fencing around the Independence Hall and dimidiating the Independence Square, a scheme that met with stonewall from city officers in Philadelphia. From that moment, the National Park Service scheme has been reformed to eliminate the fencing for movable spikes and chains and to take away at least some of the temporary obstructions to pedestrians and comers. As a result, it is more accessible for people now.
Of course, the heritage of robots should also be mentioned. Do people wish to value these aspects of heritage in the first place? One could argue that, after all, robots and programs that run them are human constructions. Even with increasing the AI capabilities, they are ultimately just machines, which can be switched off at any time.
That line of argument, however, is not very compelling as there is already an abundance of technological sites on various national heritage lists. Indeed, even the World Heritage List contains places that have been nominated for their technological evidence. Since heritage managers worldwide seem to have a love affair with technological monuments, there is no reason to assume that this should be any different when it comes to the robotic heritage. There is one additional philosophical question one has to ask as a heritage manager: at what point does an artefact cease to be a human artefact and become a “robofact”, i.e. the one purely created by a robot? Exploration of such robofacts and their curation is beyond the scope of this paper and will be addressed elsewhere. Artefacts and sites created by robots, especially the first examples as derived from independent thought, would certainly qualify as heritage sites under standard rules as they reflect the human heritage. However, as it stands, while such inclusion from a human perspective is possible, heritage registers could not deal with the inclusion of sites that are registered for their significance from a robot perspective. Thus, unless humans value the sites/artefacts, they will not be listed/collected. In that regard, robotic heritage will share the same fate as until recently faced by ethnic, minority, African American (in the USA), and female sites. In the absence of formal regulations and processes, it will be up to the sole discretion of heritage managers to consider listing them. In essence, one can now add the concept of silicon-based specism to the well-entrenched concepts of sexism and racism.
As stated by Spennemann (2007):
In the current, solely human-derived heritage environment many practitioners are faced with the problem of resolving conflicts over heritage. Competing use of properties and demand for alternative uses of limited land for development means that impacting on heritage properties is commonplace. In some countries/settings the value conflicts are being played out along ethnic, religious or social class lines.
Preservation should be connected with other history institutions such as museums and monuments, rather than being an isolated undertaking. If the goal of preservationists is to preserve elements of the past and make their beauty and meaning available to the public, then preservationists will have to engage more thoughtfully and aggressively with other history industries. Implicitly, this also means that preservationists will have to think far more rigorously about interpretation as a part of their job. Focusing exclusively on saving the historic resources, preservationists have failed to talk about the essential need for interpretation of historic places.
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