Standing witness to bygone eras, historic landmarks carry a richness of cultural heritage, often telling a unique and powerful story about the past. They provide a sense of familiarity and belonging, and often represent a shared identity and sense of community for those who remember them. With deteriorating infrastructure and urban development infringing on our historical treasures, it is essential to preserve these landmarks so that future generations can appreciate and respect their cultural importance. This article will explore the importance of preserving our historic landmarks and how it can help to foster a sense of cultural heritage.
1. Exploring the Value of Historic Landmarks
Preserving our historic landmarks is important for a number of reasons. For many, it is a way to remember and celebrate the past. For others, it is a means of understanding our shared humanity and our place in the world. But perhaps more importantly, historic landmarks have tremendous economic value.
From a commercial perspective, the tourism potential of a site or relic can attract visitors and leave an immense impression upon them. Many historic landmarks are high-profile attractions, with visitors paying an admission fee to gain access or view it. Yet these fees are often only a fraction of what visitors spend on food, lodging, and other expenses that come with visiting the area.
- Preservation of Historic Settings: Preserving historic sites maintains their intriguing atmosphere, allowing visitors to experience them in the most vibrant way possible.
- Rich Sources of Inspiration: Historic landmarks can be sources of inspiration, providing opportunities for reflection and thought.
- Economic Benefits: In addition to the fees charged for admission, spending by tourists in the surrounding area can have a substantial economic impact.
Our historic landmarks offer a great deal of value to us both on an emotional and economic level. Through their preservation, our collective cultural memories and economic potential will continue to be maintained.
2. Challenges in Historic Landmark Preservation
Preservation of historic landmarks is critical for both conservation and education, and yet can prove to be a challenge. Properly preserving these sites requires dedication, careful planning, and sometimes requires costly renovations.
For starters, getting to a point of actually conserving a historic site requires lots of groundwork. Teams usually must do research and conduct studies on a site before any kind of preservation can begin. This research must also often include liasing with local citizens to make sure that the conservation efforts align with the community.
Once the research is done, money often becomes a large factor. These sites, if not already placed in an endangered state, will need to undergo costly renovations in order to discourage further damage. Getting the funds to accomplish these renovations can be a struggle for towns and small cities who don’t have a large budget for preserving these sites.
Finally, there is the added challenge of ensuring that the historic landmark continues to look genuine, while faring well over time. This means being careful about which material is used for renovations and following a strict timeline when it comes to maintenance. Failing to properly take care of these landmarks will only lead to more costly repairs down the line.
3. Insight from Experts in Preservation
Preservation is a science, and there are experts on the subject who have valuable insights to share. Here’s a look at three esteemed preservation practitioners, and what they each have to say about the importance of preserving heritage landmarks.
Beatriz de Fuenmayor, PhD and professor at the University of Zulia in Venezuela, recognizes the emotional impact that comes with preserving built heritage. She said, “Preservation is not only about protecting a physical structure, but also the values, meanings and associations that are held within the building itself.”
Ahmed Mansoor Bin Gharbia, Director of the Cultural Heritage Authority in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, believes conservation has the power to unite. He notes, “Preserving heritage can bring cultures together, allowing a deeper appreciation of local diversity and a wider understanding of different ways of life.”
Tess Johnston, President of the Brundtland Commission in Boston, Massachusetts, shares her insights on the role that people play in the preservation process. She asserts, “People are at the core of all preservation efforts. The efforts of individuals, professionals and communities all contribute to safeguarding a nation’s heritage, now and for future generations.”
These thought leaders recognize what each of us — from the individual to organizations — can do to play our part in preserving the world’s heritage. Whether it’s protecting a spiritual site in Venezuela, a historical structure in the United Arab Emirates or a colonial building in the United States, we are all interconnected when it comes to preservation.
4. Preserving Cultural Heirlooms for the Future
Cultural heirlooms such as paintings, artifacts, manuscripts, and other forms of priceless artwork and memorabilia are monuments of the past – of our history and religious principles. This is why they should be carefully taken care of if we want their traces to remain visible, to show future generations the beauty of our cultures and heritage.
Way to go about preserving cultural heirlooms can vary depending on the item that needs to be preserved. Here are some tips for taking care of cultural heirlooms:
- Opt for customized storage: Look for protective packaging specifically designed for the heirloom and that can withstand extreme temperatures, dust, and other environmental factors, such as humidity.
- Control humidity and temperature: Small changes in either of those can harm cultural heirlooms, thus, make sure to keep the storage space of many of them in between 45 to 55% relative humidity.
- Organize and document: If an artifact is moved, take photographs of each side and note down any notes regarding the item. These documents can be used to help restore items in the future.
- Periodically inspect: Check the condition periodically to make sure there are no damages, such as cracks, mold, and especially insects.
Different cities, countries, and states will also have their own guidelines so make sure to check them out too. By preserving these cultural heirlooms, we show our respect for the histories of generations before us and keep their stories alive.
Our history is the foundation of who we are, both as individuals and as a collective. Preserving the legacy of our nation’s historic landmarks is an essential part of protecting and celebrating our common heritage. By recognizing these sites, we can ensure that we remain connected to our past, honoring those who have come before us and reminding us how far we have come.