HISTORICAL SOCIETIES AS VEHICLES OF PRESERVATION: A STUDY OF NEW JERSEY HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
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Type of Work94 pages
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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Subjectshistoric preservation practices
local preservation efforts
New Jersey historical societies
New Jersey historic preservation
historic built environment
historical society movement
state preservation agencies
Historic preservation -- Theses
Thousands of local historical societies operate throughout the United States and often act as the first or only preservation-related organization with which the public interacts. The multiplicity of historical societies and their analogous missions create the potential for the promotion and practice of preservation to become significantly more wide-spread at a local level. Considering this potential, this treatise explores the efficacy of historical societies as vehicles of preservation of the historic built environment and the effect of their relationships with governmental history and historic preservation agencies on that efficacy. Through an examination of the historical societies in New Jersey and the State’s history and historic preservation agencies, this treatise research examines the capacity and efforts of New Jersey historical societies in promoting and practicing preservation and explores the levels and types of support offered to historical societies by state governmental agencies. This study’s major findings include the need for increased capacity among historical societies and the inequity of preservation-related funding distributed by New Jersey’s history and historic preservation agencies due to a lack of connections between those agencies and historical societies, as well as a lack of professional capacity among societies to apply for and implement that funding. Utilizing the information gathered in this treatise, I lay out a plan for improving the relationship between historical societies and state governmental agencies and for expanding historical societies’ opportunities to lead local preservation. This study’s recommendations include the development of diverse boards and programming by historical societies and the establishment of a Local History Services program in New Jersey like that of the Wisconsin Historical Society. With the implementation of progressive changes made concurrently by local and state level governmental agencies and by historical society organizations, I conclude that the preservation movement throughout New Jersey could develop into a powerful, unified force that strengthens and expands the singular heritage of the State.
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