horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation; U.S. General Services Administration; National Endowment for the Humanities; President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities; Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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GSA IMLS

 

Preserve America Youth Summit

December 2006

Presented by The History Channel

Save Our History

Summary

Save Our History , The History Channel philanthropic initiative to support history education, historic preservation and heritage tourism, worked together with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the White House to create the Preserve America Youth Summit, an extension of the Preserve America Summit held in New Orleans, October 18-20, 2006.

The History Channel felt it was important to hear from America’s youth – our nation’s future leaders-- and get their perspective on historic preservation.

Thirty students from across the country representing the states of Louisiana, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey and Texas who had actively engaged in Save Our History community preservation projects were invited to come and participate in their own breakout session during the Summit, where they discussed their views on history and preservation. Three students were selected to present their preservation projects to First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. Bush learned about the great history of New Orleans cuisine, the restoration and revitalization of historic main street Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, and the restoration of an African-American home in LaMarque, Texas from the students.

The students also had the opportunity to work with a team of educators including:

  • Peggy Somers Feehan – Teacher, Cecilia Junior High School, Cecilia, Louisiana
  • Dr. Kim Gilmore –Historian, The History Channel
  • Roseann Lichatin, Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year, West Morris Central High School, Chester, New Jersey
  • Lise Marlow, Save Our History Teacher of the Year, Elkins Park School, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Libby O’Connell- Chief Historian, The History Channel
  • Emily Skelding- Teacher, Lusher Charter High School, New Orleans, Louisiana

Together the students and teachers developed ideas, which were submitted along with the eleven other Preserve America Summit issue areas to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Summit attendees, on how a class or school could immediately introduce and nurture a preservation ethic among America's students, teachers, and their families based on their own experiences with history and preservation. 

Preserve America Youth Summit Statement

“In honor of the 40 th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, experts from across the country were called together to discuss the state of preservation and to brainstorm recommendations on how to ensure that the preservation landscape evolves as new technologies emerge. Both the sponsors of the Preserve America initiative and we believe that it is important for our generation to understand the value of historic preservation. Within every chapter of American history, there is a significant place that played a role in our nation’s past. We believe that it is important to identify historic places, appreciate their value to our history, and be active in preserving these stories and places for future generations. Including this information can bring the past alive in our classrooms. Yesterday, we participated in the Preserve America Youth Summit with First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush. We came up with many ideas about how to get students involved in historic preservation in school and in their communities. We will be presenting more of these ideas and recommended resources online in the future. But for now here are some of the ones we feel are most important.

Before students can become involved in historic preservation, they need to understand what historic preservation is. So, that is our first action item:

Number 1 :

Introduce the concept of historic preservation and discuss why it is important.

Number 2 :

Enliven history education in the classroom.

  • Use primary documents including eyewitness accounts
  • Encourage us to do research and make new discoveries like real historians
  • Remember we all learn differently and respect our different learning styles
Number 3 :

Build partnerships with museums, sites, and historic societies.

  • Organize field trips
  • Invite experts to bring hands-on resources into our classrooms
  • Include us in exhibit planning and design

Number 4 :

Integrate historic preservation concepts into a variety of subject areas.

  • Develop a theme based curriculum with preservation as a goal
  • Involve teachers in a variety of disciplines to participate

Number 5 :

Let us be the historians.

  • We can act as guides and docents to interpret history for others
  • We can become mentors to younger students
  • Give us the opportunity to learn from older generations and record their stories

 Number 6 :

Appreciate that our history has many different voices.

  • Conduct oral histories to learn about the past
  • Look for hidden stories of people and groups who have been overlooked in the past
  • Encourage the development of personal and family histories

Number 7 :

Let us be activists in historic preservation. We can do this by:

  • Adopting a landmark or building that needs preservation
  • Identifying and raise awareness of endangered sites
  • Joining a preservation organization and be part of the solution

Number 8 :

Help us participate in history related events outside the classroom. We can do this by:

  • Establishing history clubs in our schools
  • Getting involved in National History Day
  • Finding more volunteer and internship opportunities

Number 9 :

Provide opportunities for us to showcase what we’ve learned in a variety of ways such as:

  • Live performances and re-enactments (these can be recorded for others to see)
  • Print materials such as brochures and newsletters
  • Multimedia resources like podcasts, websites, and online communities

Number 10 :

Keep it fun!

Updated January 2, 2008

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