National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the Nomination of the Taytu Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Type of Work26 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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My research goal for the final project of the preservation documentation course (HP611) was to provide information to support the nomination of a historical site in Ethiopia as a national landmark, according to the United States Department of Interior National Park Service criteria for recognition as a national historic monument. The selected site, the Taytu Hotel, established by the Empress Taytu in Addis Ababa, was the first hotel in Ethiopia. The aim of the research strategy was to explore the hotel’s connection to the early 20th century Ethiopian imperial court by gathering information through site visits; museum exhibitions; interviews with historic preservationists; and access to print materials (books, articles, maps and photographs) at local libraries. While it is difficult obtain permission to use the Addis Ababa University library, the library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) housed at the university is accessible to foreign researchers, who register as members. During the research period from January to May 2010, however, a number of unexpected obstacles hindered the research process; for example, frequent power outages limited access to the library because of inadequate lighting. As a result, the research strategy shifted from one relying on primary source materials found in the library collection to one based on locally available books, exhibitions at the IES and local museums, and websites on Ethiopian history and culture. Although the situation in Ethiopia prevented the use of the resources available in the university libraries, the overall experience led to my heightened appreciation of the Athenaeum, its professional staff and the inter-library loan system and the support that they provide to graduate student research.