Ten Historic Preservation Terms Defined

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Ten Historic Preservation Terms Defined

By Rebecca Eddins, Director of Collections Management & Project Director | Tweet your comments to @SupportReynolda #ReynoldaPool

I'm happy to report that the Pool Restoration Project has gotten off to an amazing start!  Much has been accomplished in only the first few weeks.  The birdcages were challenging to remove, as you can see from our photos.  They are being taken off-site for repair and won't make a reappearance until the rest of the project is complete.  Scaffolding has been erected and the pool deck and pool tiles are now protected with a lining and plywood sheeting.  Abatement has begun and will continue for several weeks.  Next time you are at the Museum, take a look out the lobby windows and you may be able to see the work in progress.

During the restoration of Reynolda’s beautiful Pool House, I thought it would be a great time to make everyone aware of some historic preservation terms commonly used in the field. These terms can be confusing to say the least! Often, they can appear to be almost interchangeable.  Below is a list of helpful terms that you can use as this exciting project moves forward.

Ten Frequently Used Historic Preservation Terms Defined

1.      Restoration:  To return a site or structure to its original form and condition, as represented by a specified period of time, using design and materials that are as similar as possible to the original ones.

2.      Preservation:  To maintain a site or structure’s existing form and character through careful maintenance and repair.

3.      Reconstruction:  To re-create an historic place or structure that has been destroyed or damaged; to erect a new structure resembling the old by using historical, architectural or archaeological documents.

4.      Conservation:  To keep or maintain a place in a safe or sound state in such a way as to prevent destruction, neglect or exploitation.   This term often refers to natural or environmental resources.  Note: when used with regard to art, this has a different meaning altogether.

5.      Cultural resource:   Very broadly, this term implies evidence of past human activity and includes places like buildings or old roads, battlefields, sacred landscapes, and historic artifacts or objects, that are considered to have historical importance.

6.      Rehabilitation:  To repair a structure and make it usable again while preserving those portions or features of the property that are historically and culturally significant.

7.      Historic Integrity: The retention of sufficient aspects of design, materials, setting, location workmanship, feeling or association for a property to convey its historic significance.

8.      Renovate:  To change or repair a structure and make it usable again, without trying to restore its historic appearance or duplicate original construction methods or materials.

9.      Remodel:  To change a structure without regard to its distinctive features or style. Changing the appearance of a building by covering or removing original details is often involved with remodeling.

10.   Alteration: Any act or process that changes the exterior or interior architectural appearance or removes any feature of a structure.



Excellent. These definitions are clear and succinct, useful to all who wish to restore, preserve, reconstruct, conserve, and more. The entire Reynolda Museum website/Facebook,etc., educates at the highest level the many facets involved with programming, history, the arts, landscaping, development, education, diversity, and more. We are most appreciative of your exceptional efforts.

We really appreciate your support, enthusiasm, and participation! There is so much that Reynolda House has to offer to our community, and our Digital Wing (reynoldahouse.org) enables the Museum to share our resources to a much wider audience.I would love to learn more about how you came to know Reynolda House and interact with our website. Please feel free to email me at oxfordps@reynoldahouse.org.Sincerely,Trish Oxford"Superintendent" of the Digital Wing

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