In one of the first philanthropic acts of my grown-up life, I recently joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a non-profit organization that provides funding and support for the protection and restoration of historical landmarks throughout the United States. As a membership benefit, I just received my first issue (Winter 2015) of Preservation magazine in the mail. It’s a slim but packed little periodical, and it includes some fascinating stories about restored places, projects, and techniques. My favorite article so far is about the restoration of a dilapidated New Mexican pueblo that has allowed tribe members to re-settle there and live in traditional but affordable and fully-functioning modern homes instead of turning the site into an un-changing and un-inhabited museum. I have similarly enjoyed learning about some of the techniques used in restoration projects, including drones and metal detectors. The photographs in the magazine are also a highlight, both in the articles and in the numerous smaller blurbs about various historic places across the country.
Since I’m now at a point in my career where a few charitable contributions are within my means, it made complete sense to me to donate in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As a lover of art, history, and culture and as someone who feels very strongly about topics like the wartime looting and destruction of cultural heritage, it is always very important to me that historic landmarks be saved and restored, because once you take a wrecking ball to a piece of history or allow it to fall into such disrepair that it can’t be safely restored, you can never get it back. I’m glad to read about so many places that have been successfully saved, restored, and explored.