Change as an Historic Feature in the Preservation of Places Related to Science and Technology
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Type of Work170 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
RightsTo view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 337-6075.
SubjectsHistoric sites -- United States -- Evaluation
Historic buildings -- United States -- Evaluation
Science -- History
Historic preservation -- Theses
The rapidly increasing social and technological change that hallmark the 20th and 21st centuries is reflected in building construction linked to those changes. This thesis examines change as inevitable and accelerating and as a historic feature that must be considered in preservation. Research compares commemoration of achievements with physical preservation of places and draws significant distinctions between the two. The research furthermore illustrates the limitations of the traditional approach of historic preservation thought and application. This research found that American society has grown more accepting and tolerant of diversity; however, there is not a corresponding diversity in the application of the National Register criteria and preservation of some historic places. In many cases National Register of Historic Places criteria are applied so narrowly that some property types lose protections afforded them as National Historic Landmarks because change was neither recognized nor valued as an important feature. In particular, these are historic places that are associated with broad patterns in our nation’s history that may be historically important but that must change to remain functional, and therefore, have been deemed unworthy of physical preservation. Research revealed two primary reasons why this attitude exists. First, some preservationists have a material bias associated with Western philosophy and their professional training in architectural history and archaeology. Second, research found that understanding of places of scientific and technical discovery is a semantic issue. The words preservation and commemoration have specific meanings to specific people and groups. These words, as defined, have caused misunderstandings among scientists and preservationists. The thesis is organized in five main chapters. Chapter I presents the philosophical framework and background information and Chapter II provides general information on commemoration and preservation. Chapter III discusses commemoration and preservation of places of scientific and atomic discovery, and Chapter IV presents specific examples of these places and changes made to them through time. Chapter V provides conclusions reached during the study, research findings, and recommendations for new guidelines and future research.