The City of Sisterly Love: A Preservation Assessment and Urban Landscape Re-interpretation of Philadelphia’s Sites of Women’s History
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Women’s history has long been omitted by a narrow understanding of history, which has been limited, often at the hands of preservationists, to a white, patriarchal point of view. Due to a conceptual misunderstanding of women’s place in history as niche or subversive, the preservation of places associated with women has not been adequately prioritized. Philadelphia, a city rich with historical resources and preservation-minded agents, offers a productive testing ground for ideas of re-interpretation. By assessing how well national efforts, including the National Historic Landmark theme study on women’s history; state efforts, including the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program; and local grassroots and non-profit efforts have valorized, protected, and interpreted sites associated with women, the opportunities for the advancement of women’s stories are made more clear and pressing. By utilizing several strategies of reinterpretation, including trails and public art as a political agent, a greater understanding may be reached on the everyday urban street-level understanding of the role women played and the struggles that women have overcome in Philadelphia’s storied past and in its equally critical present.