An Evaluation of Contemporary Community Preservation Education in the U.S. and Recommendations for Strengthening Practices
preservation education best practices
public's role in historic preservation
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Community preservation education is a powerful tool for exciting and empowering the public to become motivators and facilitators of preservation within their communities. Such non-formal education is geared towards a general audience and aims to foster greater knowledge, appreciation and involvement within the public. While community preservation education is embedded within modern preservation theory, policy and practice, it is also considered to be amongst the field’s primary weaknesses. Despite such criticism there have been no efforts to critically evaluate current education efforts and identify ways in which they can be improved. This thesis endeavors to instigate such a dialogue. The purpose of the research project was to evaluate the current state of community preservation education in the U.S. The research process included an extensive literature review regarding education and best practices within the preservation, environmental and museum education fields as well as the marketing profession. This information was the lens through which current education programs were evaluated. To gain insight into contemporary education initiatives a survey was disseminated to all local and state public and non-profit preservation organizations. Case studies were also conducted and provided a more in-depth understanding of program development, implementation and execution. Overall, research revealed that there is significant room for improvement in current education efforts. Included in this thesis is a set of recommendations that can be used to inform improvements to overall practice and individual education programs.