Valuing community identity within federal preservation policy

Binder, Regina and Speicher, Rita (2003) Valuing community identity within federal preservation policy. In: 14th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Place, memory, meaning: preserving intangible values in monuments and sites’, 27 – 31 oct 2003, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

Through telling stories repeatedly, a community organizes its myths into oral and iconic memory, distinct from written history. This process stamps the soul of a community with an indelible and miraculous sense of self, for which traditional preservation has no tools of recognition or measurement. Hence, what is intangible is felt, shared and retained in the dailiness of oral fabric, giving the iconic memory of physical form as valued a place in the community as the built environment. Located within the Cape Cod National Seashore along a stretch of outer beach at the easternmost tip of the United States, 17 of the original 40 dune shacks still give shelter in a harsh and mutable landscape. Built of salvaged materials by local residents for use when patrolling the outer shores for ships in distress, the dune shacks later attracted artists and writers drawn by the seclusion and Mediterranean-like light. In 1959, under new federal ownership, shack owners received life tenancy or 25-year leases which expired in 1984. As the Park Service prioritizes protection of natural over cultural resources, the shacks found strong advocates in the residents of Provincetown who proposed a National Register District to protect the remaining structures. Association with important historical person, one of three eligibility criteria allowed by the NPS, enabled protection but by criteria largely irrelevant to the significance of the shacks themselves. While valid for measuring historic significance, these criteria are insufficient for measuring intangible value. No language or methodology for valuing the intangible exists, yet sense and soul of place have resonant definition in our community experience. This paper discusses how intangible value may be acknowledged and measured to develop public policy for the protection of iconic resources.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Binder, Regina
Speicher, Rita
Languages: English
Keywords: cultural identity; intangible heritage; conservation policy
Subjects: K.LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES > 03. National/Regional legislations
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 17. Intangible cultural heritage
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2003, 14th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2010 14:27
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:15

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