Historic House Call: Interpreting Historic Landscapes

Over the past decade there has been much hand-wringing about the decline and fall of the historic house museum and much attention paid to strategies for resuscitating or abandoning them. All the while, a key resource for expanding the meaning of historic sites, deepening the visitor experience, and enhancing sustainability lay right outside the door: the historic landscape. This webinar will examine the variety of ways in which sites across the country are approaching the interpretation of diverse historic landscapes, from large estates to small urban sites, in order to expand a site’s significance and stimulate engagement for contemporary audiences. Join Sean Sawyer as he presents case studies focused on extracting lessons from the front lines of historic landscape interpretation.  Issues examined will include: shifting organizational culture and public perception to understand the significance and value of historic landscapes; the development of site-wide interpretation to include historic landscapes as integral, rather than supplementary; the inclusion of viewsheds within the interpretation of historic landscapes; the logistics of landscape tours, including pricing, guide training, interpretive technologies, accessibility, and weather concerns; and tactics for community engagement through the historic landscape.

At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will: 1) look at their site's landscapes with fresh eyes and be inspired to promote and support their research and interpretation; 2) appreciate historic landscapes as integral, rather than supplementary, to historic structures and collections; 3) understand the concept of viewsheds as integral to historic landscapes; 4) learn about addressing the logistics of landscape tours, including pricing, guide training, interpretive technologies, accessibility, and weather concerns; and 5) appreciate historic landscapes as offering potent opportunities for community engagement.

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Details:

Date: November 2, 2017

Time: 3pm EST/2pm Central/1pm Mountain/12pm Pacific/10am Hawaii/4pm Atlantic

Cost: Free for AASLH members/$40 nonmembers

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About the Speaker:

Sean Sawyer, Washburn & Susan Oberwager President, The Olana Partnership

Hudson, NY
A native of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Sean received his Ph.D. in architectural history from Columbia University in 1999. Sean joined The Olana Partnership as President in May 2015.  Prior to this, he was the Executive Director of The Royal Oak Foundation, the American partner of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Sean began his career as Executive Director of the Wyckoff House & Association, focused on the operation of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He currently serves on the Historic House Committee of the American Association for State and Local History and the Board of Directors of The American Friends of Attingham. Since his appointment as President of The Olana Partnership in May 2015, Sean has led the development of historic landscape restoration and interpretation at Olana State Historic Site.  As Executive Director of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, Sean oversaw the restoration of the historic landscape and the development of innovative community engagement projects that engaged the historic farm landscape.

 

Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and organized by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion

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Historic House Call: Developing Discussion Based Interpretation

Conversation. Chat. Dialogue. Discussion. These are words that visitors may not often associate with the guided tour. However, historic house museums have the unique opportunity to invite visitors in, offer them a place to sit, and give them a voice. This webinar illustrates how conversation promotes individual and group learning and helps to build connections to historic sites. It will provide strategies for encouraging conversation and discussion on tours, including asking the right questions, listening, and breaking down barriers to comfort and connection. Attendees will also receive resources and training materials for interpreters.

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Details:

Date: August 23, 2017

Time: 3pm EST/2pm Central/1pm Mountain/12pm Pacific/10am Hawaii/4pm Atlantic

Cost: Free for AASLH members/$40 nonmembers

 

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About the Instructor:

Jessica VanLanduyt is Deputy Mission Officer at the Atlanta History Center. She is responsible for interpretation of the center’s four historic house museums and works collaboratively to implement mission related institutional objectives. Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Heritage Preservation with a concentration in Public History from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

About the Facilitator:

Ron M. Potvin is Assistant Director & Curator of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage at Brown University. His responsibilities include preservation and interpretation of the National Historic Landmark Nightingale-Brown House (1792) and its collections and overseeing gallery spaces and exhibitions. He also teaches courses on historic house museums, museum collections, and material culture. He can be contacted at ronald_potvin@brown.edu.

 

 

 

 

Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and organized by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion

Register

Historic House Call: How to Preserve Your Historic Building

Rehabilitating and preserving an historic building can be challenging...unless you have the right tools! Come learn about the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures, the methods for applying them to your historic building, and how they can help you apply for funds!

Historic Buildings are simultaneously the largest asset and the greatest
liability for many organizations.  This webinar will provide an overview of the tools available for funding, and the Standards most often associated with those funding tools. This webinar will primarily focus on the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The presenters will provide an overview of the four different treatment types, and review in detail, the most commonly-used treatment: Rehabilitation.  Each of the ten Rehabilitation Standards will be reviewed, illustrating with examples how they are applied.

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Details:

Date: May 11, 2017

Time: 3pm EST/2pm Central/1pm Mountain/12pm Pacific/10am Hawaii/4pm Atlantic

Cost: Free for AASLH members/$40 nonmembers

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Objectives

  • Learn about the types of funding sources for historic building rehabilitation
    that most commonly require adherence to the Secretary of the Interior's
    Standards
  • Learn about the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, the four treatment types,
    and how to select the appropriate type.
  • Learn about the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and
    how to apply them.

Who should attend?

Facilities Managers and Directors of Historic Buildings

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About the Instructors:

Petra Knapp

Ms. Knapp holds a master's degree in Historic Preservation, specializing in American Architectural History. As an architectural historian, Ms. Knapp regularly completes historic structure surveys and evaluations. She is an experienced public speaker in the field of history and preservation, and is a past lecturer at the Ohio Local History Alliance annual meeting. Ms. Knapp serves on the board of several local preservation organizations, and is currently the chair of the Historical Authentication Committee for the Century Homes Association in Northeast Ohio.

Lauren Burge

Lauren Burge is a registered architect and principal of Chambers, Murphy & Burge Historical Architecture, a studio of Perspectus Architecture.  Ms. Burge is a graduate of the Kent State College of Architecture and Environmental Design. She holds a certificate in Optical Microscopy from the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education.   Chambers, Murphy & Burge created the first commercial National Register Historic District in downtown Akron.  To date, the historic tax credit work of the firm has leveraged over $46 million dollars of construction in the greater Akron area, and over $150 million dollars statewide.

 

Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and organized by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion

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Historic House Call: Risk Assessment in Historic Houses

Historic houses present unique issues in their preservation needs, especially in terms of disaster preparedness. This webinar will explore those needs through a discussion of hazards, risk assessments and evaluations, and mitigation methods – all with a focus on historic houses.

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Details:

Format: Webinar

Date: March 2, 2017

Cost: Free for AASLH members/$40 nonmembers

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About the Speakers: 

Samantha Forsko is the Preservation Specialist at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), where she primarily works with institutions and their collections. She conducts on-site preservation needs and risk assessments and assists with preservation and emergency planning. She also develops and presents educational programs and provides technical information to libraries, archives, museums, historic sites, and other cultural institutions.  Since starting at the Center in 2015, Samantha has also been the project manager of the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PaCRN), aiming to improve emergency response and preparedness for cultural institutions across the state.

Before joining CCAHA, Samantha worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a collections manager. In addition to providing long-term care for the nearly 200,000 permanent collection objects owned by LACMA, she also served on the Emergency Preparedness Committee, responsible for writing, updating, and training the 300 member staff on the implementation of the institution’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. She has previously worked as a conservation technician for the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Cascadia Art Conservation Center, both in Portland, Oregon, primarily providing preventive maintenance and care for outdoor public art collections. Samantha received her MA in Arts Management with a focus on Archival and Museum Studies from Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California, writing her master’s thesis on Emergency Preparedness in Cultural Institutions.

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Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and organized by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion.


Historic House Calls: Using Futures Thinking to Navigate Ongoing Change

This House Call introduces basic concepts of strategic foresight and examines how historical organizations can play a role in responding to, and preparing for, continual change. We will review helpful foresight techniques and discuss how historic house museums can integrate futures thinking into their strategic planning and daily operations.

Historic House Calls are online discussions featuring hot topics for historic house museums. Led by experts in the field, and moderated by members of AASLH Historic House Affinity Group Committee, they encourage attendees to join in the discussion.

Historic House Calls are free and only open to AASLH members.

More Information

August 20, 2014
2-3 pm eastern
Deadline for Registration: August 15
Free for AASLH Members


Historic House Call: Creating Engaging and Memorable Tours

Historic House Call: Creating Engaging and Memorable Tours Webinar

January 30 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm EST

Register for the webinar here.

Contribute to a short survey (four questions) to help identify reasons why some guided tours are boring at historic houses and other museums and sites. Click here.

Historic house guided tours can have a reputation as boring. There is no other way to put it. Here are two recent reviews from Trip Advisor:

Most Boring Tour Guide Imaginable!

  • If you enjoy listening to a tour guide speak in a monotone, eyes closed while giving her memorized dialogue, then by all means, take this tour. We were stifling yawns and our eyes were glazing over.

Speed-Talk

  • If you have ever been to an auction, you would have been right at home on our tour. It was like our tour guide was trying to squeeze 2 hours’ worth of information into a one hour tour. Enthusiasm was lacking in her presentation, also.

 

Jeff Neale, stableyards interpreter at Middleton Place, Charleston SC, finishes the best tour I have ever taken at an historic site.
Jeff Neale, stableyards interpreter at Middleton Place, Charleston SC, finishes the best tour I have ever taken at an historic site.

 

When asked about bad tours like these, many museum professionals shrug their shoulders and say “We need the tour guides to keep the site open and to offer tours for visitors and groups. We have some great guides – but you just have to grit your teeth and put up with the bad ones. It’s a problem, but what can you do?”

Yes, it is a very big problem. Tours that don’t engage either adults or children can be a real drag on historic houses. If a visitor has an unsatisfying, dull tour, they won’t return or encourage others to visit. They may, however, let people know that the tour was not good and post on social media, as in the Trip Advisor reviews above.

The ripples from bad tours also affect other sites. After one or even more bad experiences, visitors will think twice about subjecting themselves, or their children and friends, to a potentially bad tour at another site. It’s not worth the risk to waste time – and money.

Boring tours can diminish reputations, attendance, and revenue – from loss of admission, shop sales, and even donors.

While that sounds bleak, it doesn't have to be that way. Just as a boring tour can give visitors a lasting negative impression, so too can an engaging tour provide a lasting positive impression.

That’s the upside of a good tour. Visitors have a great experience and want to share it with others. Just as you enjoy telling others about a fantastic tour, so do visitors. By regularly offering visitors engaging tours you can create goodwill ambassadors who promote your site – for free!

Fortunately, there are effective strategies and techniques for delivering engaging, meaningful tours –all supported by recent research.

Join us from 2:00-3:15 pm EST on January 30, to find out how to create engaging tours that lead visitors to connect with your site and spread the word about their great experience.

Register for the webinar here.

Click here to contribute to a short survey (four questions) to help identify reasons why some guided tours are boring at historic houses and other museums and sites.

Dale Jones is founder and principal of Making History Connections, member of AASLH for over 25 years, founding member of AASLH Visitor Voices Committee, and co-editor of History News Spring 2007 issue on Evaluation.