Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Schueckler, Evan (2018). Choosing How to Remember: Negative Heritage and Values-Centered Preservation (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


Preserving sites of negative heritage poses particular challenges. The changeful nature of heritage can lead to “dissonance in heritage,” which can result in friction between groups connected to a given piece of heritage, impeding decision-making around preservation. A key issue for sites of negative heritage is therefore not what sort of preservation approach should be employed, but rather how stakeholder groups influence the approach. Values-centered preservation is an important means of navigating tension between different groups. It centers on realizing multiple different values and integrating engagement into decision-making and ongoing management, promoting stakeholder participation.

This thesis analyzes examples of a value-based preservation approach at three negative heritage sites in an effort to understand how this approach is used around negative heritage. The three sites are Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site, and the African Burial Ground National Monument. The primary success of values-centered preservation at all three sites was that the final outcomes were different from those that were originally proposed by preservation professionals, largely due to pressure from the stakeholder communities. The primary failure at all of these sites was that, in all cases, the stakeholder communities had to force the conversation and create space for their values to be heard. As a field, and as a nation we must strive to more openly and readily address the dark patches of our history, and values-centered preservation offers a framework for being more inclusive and proactive.


preservation, heritage, dissonant heritage, NPS, stakeholders



Date Posted: 15 October 2018