A Preservation Wish List for 2016

By Judy Hayward ,

New Year’s resolutions have a reputation for failing, but best wishes are valued by all no matter when they are made or heard. So here is my 2016 preservation wish list for old buildings, historic communities, traditionally inspired new construction and the people who design, build and care for them.

Students in the Windsor, Vermont High School Technical Education Class prepared this 3d model of the American Precision Museum in 2015. They learned about history and architectural design with this project. The museum is housed in the historic Robbins, Kendall and Lawrence Armory. Photo: Courtesy American Precision Museum

Let’s engage more young people in preserving historic buildings. Find a way to involve young people in your work this year. I wish that everyone reading this would participate in a career day at a local school and explain why working with historic buildings and building in traditional ways offers some great career choices.

When attending school board meetings, public debates of presidential and other candidates, let’s engage the political leadership in discussions about how heritage can be used to improve our communities and nations. What will your school district do to support building trades’ education or architectural literacy for young people? How will candidates use design, community building and historic preservation to building a better USA if elected?

I hope we see more tax credit projects in 2016 than in any single year before. They enable us to reinvest in our communities, use existing infrastructure, create jobs and make communities more attractive and user friendly.

I wish that I will do more work on my own old house and that you will join me in undertaking at least one project that involves maintenance, preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or respectful remodeling. It may be as simple as oiling a squeaky door or touching up some paint, but let’s commit to do just one little thing.

As 2015 came to a close, dreadful flooding enveloped the nation’s middle states. I wish that we will come together and help those harmed to recover from their losses – personal as well as architectural. It is important that we help to revive these communities. I also hope that we will be vocal advocates for the role that traditional building can play in helping to solve the problems of climate change.

We have two big anniversaries to commemorate this year: The U.S. National Park Service is 100 years old and the National Historic Preservation Act is 50. Let’s celebrate both achievements every month.

Finally, my wish for all of us is to take time to learn something new about traditional buildings this year. Of course, I want to see you at a Traditional Building Conference, see you in the audience online at a Traditional Building webinar or working with your hands at one of Historic Windsor’s Preservation Education Institute programs, but there are great programs offered all over the globe by many businesses, nonprofits, universities and government agencies. Even if it is only for one hour – take time – it will energize you to use traditional building for good in 2016.

What is your wish list for historic preservation for this year?

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