Broken windows, sunken roofs, dangling shutters, overgrown lawns; this despairing list may give you a headache but it makes my heart sing, especially when the building is historic. These derelict conditions only camouflage true potential. Although in disgraceful condition, many of these sites have an important story to tell and can be a source of community pride for generations. True triumph is found in restoring a beloved community treasure and opening it for public enjoyment. Preservation and Conservation The motivation for protecting these old structures is the preservation and conservation of American history, legacy and culture. Many communities have become aware of the image boost and educational merits of historic preservation. Fiscally, historic sites can increase the appeal of a locale and tourism can surge local commerce. Almost immediately, the prospect of historic restoration prompts the question of costs. Costs are the evil spirit puzzle piece of historic preservation and oblige discussions on “the value of preserving historic buildings when new construction is often cost effective”. Cha-ching The economic costs of preservation and conservation are high especially when the structure has been neglected. If the building needs to undergo extensive revisions to be brought up to code, there is work to be done before the restoration begins. If the intention is to restore and/or conserve the property to its’ original grandeur or to museum quality, the project can require the skills of curators, educators and development officers adding to project costs. Save America’s Treasures-RIP Unfortunately, our poor economy has negatively affected governmental funding decisions and has jeopardized historic sites. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Save America’s Treasures office was closed in 2011 by the U.S. Congress. This decision was based solely on funding restraints. Many state and local governments have had to follow the federal lead by also making additional budget cuts. What is the cost of not restoring the historic site? The costs of not restoring historic sites lay primarily in the loss of our American legacy, the demise of fine architecture, the squander of intellectual capital in the arts and culture, and a constrained threshold on education and scholarship. The Lesson Unlike any other medium, these old structures concretely tell the American story. In the narrative, the struggles, the culture, and the lives of our forefathers (and mothers) actually come alive and give the visitor a unique, first hand prospective. The ability to walk the halls, climb the stairs, see the artifacts and inhale the essence of the environment makes historical sites a bountiful resource for scholastic study. Field Trips Education of our children is one of our most important community responsibilities. Important to any student’s education is the balance between learning job skills and a curriculum rich in the arts and culture. The arts and culture tend to suffer in the race to be job qualified. Secondly, teachers acknowledge the intrinsic value of field trips as a compliment to course work. School children love field trips because it is a chance to abandon a souring classroom and indulge in an interactive learning experience. Besides, field trips are fun, are a class adventure and create an alternative learning encounter. Field trips are also about educational equality. Underprivileged children are less likely to take “field trips” outside of school. The field trip becomes the great equalizer, allowing all students access. As Americans, don’t we owe each child a good education? Anyone can be a philanthropist. Anyone can support a historic site. Few donors can make multi-million dollar bequests. Vital support comes in various dollar amounts. You too, can become a valuable donor. The passion and the commitment behind the donation are what make organizations thrive. Show you appreciation by pledging a donation to your favorite charity. Hot Tips National Trust Preservation Funds (NTPR) encourages local preservation by providing seed money. The grants generally start at $2,500 and top off at $5,000. Please keep in mind, the competition for funding is highly competitive. Write a compelling proposal, include all of the supporting documents and make sure you meet all of the deadlines. For additional information check out the website at: http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/find-funding/preservation-funds-guidelines-eligibility Hampton Mansion – Great weekend day trip!!! http://www.nps.gov/hamp The Hampton Mansion was owned by the Ridgley family for six generations. The house contains exquisite original furnishings and fabulous parterre gardens. The park also includes a dairy farm, slave quarters, an herb garden and a nature trail to the family cemetery. The Hampton Mansion is a wonderful Georgian treasure and a great family destination. 535 Hampton Lane Towson, Maryland 21286 Hours House Tours – Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Garden Tours – Sunday – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Good luck and best wishes, Kathi Believe in possibility and in yourself!