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Webography of Folklore and Historic Preservation Sites

Compiled by Laurie Kay Sommers and Varick Chittenden

**Note, many project descriptions are paraphrased or copied directly from the web site in question.

Bear River Heritage Area

The Bear River Heritage Area is a consortium of organizations in seven counties of the Utah/Idaho border dedicated to economic development through promotion and stewardship of the cultural and natural resources that are unique to this region. Folklorist Lisa Duskin-Goede has prepared National Register nominations as part of the consortium’s mission to “interpret, develop, and encourage stewardship of the historical, cultural, and recreational resources within the Heritage Area and the natural and scenic features of which they are a part.”

Citylore Place Matters

In 1996, City Lore and the Municipal Art Society of New York City formed a Task Force on Historical and Cultural Landmarks, and collaborated on a conference called “History Happened Here,” which was held at the Museum of the City of New York. Two years later, City Lore and the Municipal Art Society jointly established the Place Matters program so as to continue celebrating and advocating for places that hold memories, anchor traditions, and help to tell the history of New York City. The goal of Place Matters is to broaden the ways preservation is understood and practiced in New York City by offering alternative ways of identifying, celebrating, and ultimately preserving places that matter. Place Matters is one of the most visible and enduring integrative models for combining folklore and historic preservation, building partnerships with historic preservation professionals, engaging local communities, and offering strategies for advocacy. Among the many innovative programs of Place Matters is its Advocacy Toolkit, a guidebook to help community members identify, promote, and protect places that matter to them. 

The Cultural Landscape Foundation
http://tclf.org/landscapes/what-are-cultural-landscapesFounded in 1998, the Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is the only not-for-profit (501c3) foundation in America dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of its cultural landscapes. Through education, technical assistance, and outreach, it broadens awareness of and support for historic landscapes nationwide in hopes of saving this diverse and priceless heritage for future generations. While TCLF seeks donations to support its efforts, it is not a membership organization. Its core efforts include Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms, Stewardship Stories, Landslide (awareness of critically threatened landscapes), Pioneers of Landscape Design, and What’s Out There (searchable, online database). The website provides explanations and examples of the basic types of landscapes: designed, vernacular, historic, ethnographic.

Cultural Resource Network

The Cultural Resource Network, established 2004, is a clearing house for all things related to the world of cultural resource management. Topics include news, jobs, publications, firms, etc., in the areas of archeology, architectural history, history preservation, anthropology, museums, ethnography, and history (but not folklore!).

Cultural Resource Management

The home page for the National Park Service’s CRM online publication, with an archive for past issues. This site provides an overview of the scope of CRM work and issues. 

Dane Wajich, Dane-zaa Stories & Songs: Dreamers and the Land

In the Doig River First Nation of the Peace River area of northeastern British Columbia, elders, youth, and leaders worked collaboratively with ethnographers (among them folklorist Amber Riddington), linguists, and web-designers to create this online exhibit. Over a one month period in the summer of 2005, elders brought the documentary team to eight places and shared oral histories about the stories, songs, people and experiences that connect us to the land. The stories and songs presented here introduce you to a long line of Dane-zaa Dreamers who have provided spiritual and practical guidance for our people for hundreds of years. You will also learn about some key places within our territory and how we have been reclaiming them from the effects of colonialism and development. 

Fishtown Preservation Society

Fishtown Preservation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historical integrity of Fishtown and ensuring that it continues as a publicly accessible and authentic connection to local and regional history, Great Lakes commercial fishing, and maritime traditions and experiences. Fishtown is a collection of weathered fishing shanties, smokehouses, overhanging docks, fish tugs, and charter boats along the Leland River in Leland, Michigan. Once the heart of a commercial fishing village, the structures and docks are real places where people can walk through and experience Lake Michigan’s fishing heritage. For the past half-century it has been enjoyed and appreciated by thousands of visitors and regional residents who find the shanties, fish tugs and docks that make up the property a living legacy of our maritime culture. FPS’s activities have included a historic preservation master plan, a historic structures report that integrated folklore and historic preservation methodologies, oral histories, folklore fieldwork, archival research, and publication of the recent book, Fishtown, Leland Michigan’s Historic Fishery, authored by Laurie Kay Sommers and designated a 2013 Library of Michigan notable book.

Long Island Traditions

This website introduces the work of Long Island Traditions, an integrated model for a small, region-based, folklorist-run non-profit “dedicated to documenting & preserving the living cultural traditions of Long Island’s ethnic, occupational and architectural heritage.” Founded by folklorist Nancy Solomon, LI Traditions has participated in various historic preservation studies as part of the organization’s larger cultural conservation mission. See the link for Historic Preservation under “Programs and Services.”

National Consortium for Creative Placemaking

The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking (NCCP) was created to build capacity for sustainable and cost-effective creative placemaking. As described on the website, creative placemaking is a new way of making communities more livable and prosperous through the arts, and making them better places for the arts. Creative placemaking is about more than public art or performing arts centers. It is about making places better for everyone. NCCP provides community coaching, practical research and thought leadership to help cultural and civic leaders build their capacity to do creative placemaking… better. The initiative grew out of the Arts Build Communities project at Rutgers University, directed by urban planner Leonardo Vazquez.

National Register of Historic Places

The website for the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources. This site maintains links to National Register Bulletins, a searchable database of listed properties, and the latest official information on approaches of most interest to folklorists: Traditional Cultural Properties (Bulletin 38), Rural Historic Landscapes (Bulletin 30), and Cultural Landscapes (Briefing Paper 36).

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust is the nation’s largestprivately funded nonprofit organization working to save America’s historic places. Among its current initiatives are the Campaign to Save America’s Treasures (threatened historic places and landscapes), tools for advocacy, award-winning publications, and its influential Main Street program. The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a unique preservation-based economic development tool that enables communities to revitalize downtown and neighborhood business districts by leveraging local assets – from historic, cultural, and architectural resources to local enterprises and community pride. It is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the variety of issues and problems that challenge traditional commercial districts. The National Trust, while not address folklore per se, is increasingly talking about the power of story and place, as in this description of historic preservation: “It’s much more than saving old buildings! Historic preservation champions and protects places that tell the stories of our past.” Significantly, the 2013 national Main Street conference (held in New Orleans) has as its theme “Revitalization Power of the Cultural Economy.”

Picturing Milwaukee Project

The award-winning Picturing Milwaukee is the brainchild of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee architect Arijit Sen. Sen’s summer field school, held in different Milwaukee neighborhoods, embraces a holistic approach to historic preservation signified by the emphasis on buildings, landscapes, and cultures. The project recounts stories of everyday places in order to spur active engagement with others who share these spaces with us, revive interest in our built environment, and encourage stewardship of this patrimony. Merely telling stories is not enough in these cases—rather, citizens should be inspired to participate and contribute in a collective retelling of stories thereby producing a public discourse that is invested and engaged. The objective of this project is to produce an inventory of sites that have historical value to the selected neighborhood and to provide users with interpretive ways of reading these sites. We expect that this project will increase awareness of neighborhood history and preservation of the built environment. Project Picturing Milwaukeehopes that by providing critical tools and an interactive public forum for city officials, residents, neighborhood groups, and citizens of Milwaukee, we can learn, discuss and produce stories of places that matter to all these people.

Rachel Hopkin: Traditional Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places Blog

Rachel Hopkin’s blog addresses her experience with Casita Rincón Criollo, a traditional Puerto Rican casita in the South Bronx that was chosen as a test site for a Traditional Cultural Properties nomination as part of the AFS Working Group in Folklore Historic Preservation Policy.

Rivers of Steel

Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation conserves, interprets and develops historical, cultural and recreational resources throughout western Pennsylvania, including the eight counties that comprise the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. The dynamic and powerful story of the region’s evolution from colonial settlement to “Big Steel” to the modern era is evident in its many artifacts, buildings, vibrant communities and industrial sites.Rivers of Steel has carried out a documentary study of cultural traditions in Pittsburgh and in many of the surrounding industrial communities which comprise the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Resulting programs and projects include online archives, routes to roots, tradition bearers (web companion to a radio series), tours, driving routes, exhibitions, heritage sites, and other cultural conservation projects.

SUNY ESF Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation

Cultural landscape preservation has been the subject of research in the SUNY ESF Department of Landscape Architecture for over two decades. Much of this work has involved applied research that provides students with experience on actual preservation planning projects, mostly for state and national parks. Many of the projects have been finalized into reports published through the department’s partnership with the National Park Service. Although not necessarily involving folklorists, this organization and its website illustrate the kinds of research and reports undertaken in the field of cultural landscape preservation: Cultural Landscape Report (CLR); Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI); and Historic Resource Study (HRS).

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York’s (TAUNY) Register of Very Special Places

Founded by folklorist Varick Chittenden in 2002, RSVP is one of the signature programs of TAUNY. RVSP seeks to document and celebrate cultural landmarks in the North Country of Upstate New York (including those that might not ordinarily be of interest to the historic preservation establishment). This regional organization, modeled on Citylore’s Place Matters, includes a registry and tools to document and nominate a site. 

Tulane’s Cornerstones Project

Cornerstones is an effort to document and advocate for the overlooked and threatened landmarks of New Orleans. Through a citywide survey of residents, Cornerstones will be the first ground-up approach to identify New Orleans’ important historical and cultural sites and it will broaden our ideas about the types of spaces that are important to our city and why they are significant to us. Through a partnership with the Neighborhood Story Project, we have developed a publication that features seven local landmarks. Through interviews, site maps, architectural drawings, and photos we illustrate the range of ways neighborhood places are important to New Orleans. Our survey form will be distributed as part of our book release events, so residents can nominate places that in a similar way are significant to their community. The Tulane City Center will develop and maintain a public database and website of nominated cornerstones. The online registry will feature written narratives, interview quotes, maps, and architectural drawings, as well as noting any threats to the vitality of nominated places, so we can document local significance and help protect the places that make New Orleans unique.

Vernacular Architecture Forum

Founded in 1979, this organization is made up of multidisciplinary individuals dedicated to vernacular architecture and publishes the journal Buildings and Landscapes. VAF also hosts an annual conference. The website includes links to syllabi, learning and training opportunities, and resources related to vernacular architecture.