Friday, May 7, 2010

May is Preservation Month!

What makes a place important to you? A personal experience? A family memory? An interesting story? A place of beauty or familiarity?


If you take a look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website, you can see images of people holding white signs in front of places from across the country, all of them telling that world that “This Place Matters." The photographs, individually and collectively, are poignant reminders of the range of places and stories that make up the human experience. In this industry, too often we honor photos of historic buildings --the “before” and “after” shots – as static representations of architecture and style. This campaign does something different: it spotlights places through the eyes of the people who care about them.


This week, a group of Historic Boston and North Bennet Street School employees told the world that 65 Pleasant Street in Dorchester matters. As we struggled to hang up our large white banner from the second floor of 65 Pleasant Street, neighbors passing by stopped to watch from the sidewalk. Squinting at the banner, some approached us, asking what we were doing to the building. When we explained the premise of the project and the Handmade Houses partnership between Historic Boston and North Bennet Street School, we received a great response. Some neighbors know a lot about the building’s history; for many others this may be a new window into their community they’ve never known. And isn’t that just the point?


With this banner, we hope that the people who live and work nearby might take special notice of this significant corner of Dorchester and explore Anna Clapp Harris Smith, her work in founding the Animal Rescue League, or how this neighborhood grew up around Mrs. Smith’s little 1804 house. As we continue to make improvements at 65 Pleasant Street, we expect that many more people will start to recognize that “This Place Matters” to them, too.


If you’d like to show us a place that matters to you, please read below about how the “This Place Matters” campaign works:

“This Place Matters!” campaign encourages residents, business owners, and visitors to photograph a place that is significant (historically, architecturally, culturally, or personally) with a "This Place Matters" sign. The picture is then uploaded to the National Trust's website and Flickr page, where it will take a national stage. The website has also now added mapping and story-telling features, which allows the user to tell the country why a particular place is so important to them.

To learn more about the campaign and to download a sign, visit:
www.preservationnation.org/take-action/this-place-matters

Interested in learning more about HBI's ongoing project at 65 Pleasant Street? Click here for a past blog post about the house, and check back often for updated news!

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