Heritage, Volume 8, Number 3, Summer 1990 Page: 29
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By contrast, the essay by Lee, dealing with the role of ethnicity,
is much more of an original contribution. Social historians have
witnessed the almost complete melt-down of the "melting pot"
theory, wherein immigrants to this country would shed their
identity and assume a new American image, carried on by the
majority. The American mosaic, the cultural diversity of this
country, is now celebrated. Looking for one's "roots" is now
Gregory Andrews, an attorney and real estate specialist based in
Connecticut, deals with historic preservation in the private sector.
He observes that the number and breadth of groups concerned with
historic buildings has multiplied enormously during the last two
decades, and he sees the movement from 1976 to 1986 as "coming
of age," "a recognized, legitimate participant in both public and
private decision-making," embracing professionals from several
disciplines (p. 221).
Thomas King, Director of the Office of Cultural Resources
Protection of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation,
provides a powerful essay that places archaeology in its place in the
historic preservation process. He begins by pointing out that the
academic discipline of archaeology is based in anthropology, a
social science, and not in art history. King then quickly traces the
evolution of the theory and practice of archaeology in the United
States from the Antiquities Act of 1906 to the present time.
Stipe concludes the book with a chapter that looks ahead to the
next two decades. He sees the continuation of some of the same
problems and anticipates additional difficulties, but he maintains
an optimistic outlook. It is clear that the national historic
preservation program will be stymied as long as it is lodged in the
National Park Service because the agency does not regard
preservation as its most critical or important function. He stops
short of calling for a new, reconstituted independent national
preservation agency, however, for such a move might make the
program too vulnerable to federal budget slashers. The
preservation community must look to the state and local levels to
accomplish its aims, with planning initiatives, tax incentives, and
training programs. These are offered as the more hopeful routes
toward future progress.
A comparatively minor criticism is warranted. Perhaps because
the primary purpose of the book was to introduce foreign delegates
to the preservation field in the United States, neither footnotes nor
index were provided and the bibliography was reduced to a list of
suggested readings. The omissions are extremely unfortunate
because they deny access to the sources of information which the
There is much more that is positive. The seasoned
preservationist will quickly discern that this book has a definite
point of view. It provides a perspective that lies both inside and
outside of the Washington bureaucracy. That is, although the
majority of the contributors are based in Washington and have an
intimate knowledge of the events that have occurred there, none
of them write as "insiders." None of the authors are employees of
the National Park Service, the official custodian of our nation's
heritage. Likewise, no one writes from the point of view of the
National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is no oversight on
the part of the editors. This book represents an effort to provide
some honest constructive criticism and give those in Washington
a sense of direction, in a period when many professionals believe
there is a vacuum in preservation leadership.
Whereas The American Mosaic might be used when teaching
graduate students, Keeping Time, the History and Theory of
Preservation in America, by William Murtagh, is a primer. It will be
useful for the undergraduate, the amateur who is seeking more
information, or the professional who is interested in dipping into
the topic. Its primary purpose is to review the development of the
historic preservation movement in the United States and, by
understanding how some of the basic philosophies evolved and
various events occurred, to refocus the effort in the movement.
Murtagh believes that preservation "seems to be so completely
preoccupied with processes and methodologies as to have all but
completely lost sight of the subject itself' (p. 7). He maintains so
many issues have come to the preservation table that those who
have been involved can no longer discriminate what it is, why it has
developed and where it is headed.
A glance at the table of contents indicates that the first five
chapters of the book are historical in nature and the following
seven deal with aspects of preservation activity. The author begins
by examining the language of the field, defining terms "in order to
communicate preservation concerns properly and authoritativel."
(p. 15). The terms preservation, restoration, reconstruction, and
later, rehabilitation are made clear by referring to the philosophies
of Ruskin, Morris and Viollet-le-Duc, and then quoting the
definitions adopted by the Secretary of the Interior. Curiously,
after having gone to all the effort to be so accurate, Murtagh then
introduces the terms "heavy restoration," "light restoration," and
"creeping reconstruction," (p. 20) which only cloud the differences.
The historical narrative begins with the efforts of private
citizens to save specific historic sites as shrines to our colonial
patriots. The text follows the works of Charles Hosmer and draws
upon previously published material reviewing the genesis of the
National Trust for Historic Preservation. The manner in which the
organization assumed broader proportions, by providing more
information and expanding its property stewardship, is explained
before the author enters the scene. "In 1958, William Murtagh,
trained as an architect and architectural historian, left the
directorship of Pennsylvania's Historic Bethlehem, Inc., to accept
an appointment as assistant to the president of the Trust."[p. 44]
From his post inside the organization, then, Murtagh saw the
membership boom and the staff expand in the late 1960s and early
1970s. With the establishment of regional offices, the Trust
became even more service oriented. Included is a review of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors' report, With Heritage So iR/ch, which led to
the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the establishment of the
Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Once again, the
author was there. "William Murtagh, then director of program of
the National Trust, became Keeper of the National Register and
Robert R. Garvey, Jr., executive director of the National Trust,
assumed the post of executive director of the advisory council,
prompting the late Gordon Gray, chairman of the board of the
Trust, to state publicly, 'I regret that I have but one staff to give for
my country"' (p. 70). More recent commentary on the impact of
tax reform legislation is briefly included, with details supplied by
Ernest Allen Connally, former head of OAHP, now Chief Appeals
Officer for the tax credit program.
Two chapters deal with museology, as the format shifts from an
historical chronology to a topical framework. Outdoor museums
are treated as an outgrowth of house museums. However, it's in
HERITAGE * SUMMER 1990 29
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 3, Summer 1990, periodical, Summer 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45427/m1/29/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.