Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We are part of the climate change solution

This past weekend, the NH DHR participated in the2nd annual Local Energy Solutions Conference.  We heard emphasized over and over how local changes and local efforts were the key to making the grand sweeping changes that need to be made to help our country reduce its dependence on foreign energy, especially oil.

In New England, especially in New Hampshire, our solutions have always been local.  We may have more to offer than we think.  Our historic building stock dates, to a large part, to a period of time when energy was not cheap, when mechanical systems did not exist, and when thrift and common sense made the most out of every aspect of building.

Historic buildings in New Hampshire often feature cheap, sustainable, energy efficient features as a matter of course.  They tend to be oriented to maximize winter sun exposure, minimize summer sun exposure, and make the most of wind patterns.  They are built of sustainable natural materials -- brick, granite, and wood.  When many of the buildings in New England were built, every degree of heat was paid for with sweat -- chopping wood.  These are, admittedly, broad generalizations, but many of these buildings have served our families and communities for one or two centuries, with changes in use demonstrating their adaptability.

Historic preservation is part of the solution, and explaining this is part of our plan for the future of the field.  Broader partnerships need to be created so that we can not only explain how preservation serves larger goals of sustainability and community character, but also how the many "green" movements today can help to advance the cause of preservation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saving Your Favorite Places

The NH DHR has compiled a database of the places that New Hampshire citizens cited as their favorite places in New Hampshire.  At each of our planning sessions, we posted a large map of the state and asked our public participants to put  sticky notes on their favorite sites.

We had a huge array of sites, diverse in geography and type, and what this list reminds us is that citizens' experiences of life in New Hampshire are inevitably linked to our rich history.  Our historic places tell stories.  The question now is which stories will we preserve for future generations?  What stories will they be able to tell of us?  How will we hand down the history that is in our hands?

Coming later in the summer will be a questionnaire, the second phase of our public input gathering for the State Preservation Plan.  Your thoughts and ideas are necessary, not only to craft this plan, but to make it viable.  Please watch for the questionnaire, and if you are not on our electronic mailing list yet, please join.  You can subscribe to our newsletter on the DHR home website; you can follow this blog; you can send an e-mail to preservation AT dcr DOT nh DOT gov and ask to be added.  (Please don't leave your e-mail address in a comment on this post, as you are exposing yourself to spam that way.)