Oral History and the Documentation of Historic Sites: Recording Sense of Place

Marcus, Benjamin (2008) Oral History and the Documentation of Historic Sites: Recording Sense of Place. In: 16th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Finding the spirit of place – between the tangible and the intangible’, 29 sept – 4 oct 2008, Quebec, Canada. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

While technology and historical documents are vital for recording and interpreting cultural heritage, living memory can convey both tangible and intangible aspects of a site such as alterations, use, cultural significance, and meaning. Despite the widespread application of oral history in related fields, it is often ignored as a tool for documenting historic buildings and sites. However, because it records not only physical, but social, spiritual and ritual phenomena, the oral record is essential to understanding the intangible and capturing sense of place. This paper examines research and case studies in which oral history was used to document a site and its cultural context. The case studies recorded testimony about various aspects of historic sites including architectural features and alterations to an Ottoman-era house and hamam in Kars, Turkey, and urban social conflicts that led to the abandonment of a monumental 1930s swimming pool in Brooklyn, New York.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors:
AuthorsEmail
Marcus, BenjaminUNSPECIFIED
Languages: English
Keywords: historic sites; oral history; spirit of place; intangible heritage; case studies; documentation; conservation
Subjects: O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 01. Generalities
O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 02. Oral traditions and expressions (including language)
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Kars, Turkey; McCarren Pool,Brooklyn, New York, USA
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2008, 16th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2010 14:19
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:12
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Gönen, Mustafa and Nejat Sert. 2004. Master Conservation Plan: Kars Kaleçi District, Kars Turkey. Global Heritage Fund. Unpublished.

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Marcus, Benjamin. 2006. Last One In: Community, Conflict, and the Preservation of McCarren Park Pool. Masters Thesis, Columbia University.

Olsher, Dean. 2002. The Next Best Thing: Everything about a Pool. Show #251. WNYC, August 25. Transcription.

Perks, Robert and Alistair Thomson. 1998. The Oral History Reader. New York : Routledge.

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Reed, Paula Stoner. 1982. Documentation of Historic Structures. In Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology 14, No. 4: 19-22.

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U.S. National Park Service. 2000. Manzanar National Historic Site. Internet. Available from http://www.nps.gov/manz/Expanded.htm; Accessed 12

February 2006.
URI: http://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/32

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