Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Good Historic Preservation Plan (I think)

Thanks to Sherman Banker of the Wisconsin SHPO, via Claudia Nissley, for making me aware of the Historic Preservation Plan for the University of Minnesota, Morris -- It looks to me like an excellent model for institutions and agencies with historic (or partly historic or maybe historic, or just nice) campuses (or similar facilities) to manage (e.g. military bases, veterans hospitals, colleges, fairgrounds, parks). Very much worth taking a look at by anyone who needs or wants to put together a plan for such a facility.

I was initially a bit put off by its inclusion of an “historic context” section, but it turned out actually to be useful – relating directly to what remains of the campus’ buildings and landscaping relating to different periods of development, functions, and pedagological philosophy. The plan goes on to quite systematically identify what it is that makes the campus special in general, and then to break it down by area and building, identifying key elements and laying out treatment recommendations for each. 

I suppose I would have liked to have seen a little more evidence of participation in plan development by those affected – in this case, students and faculty – but that aside, I think it’s a fine model. Of course, the authors had a very good complex of buildings and grounds with which to work.

The only criticism I’ve heard is from someone who said “It doesn’t follow NPS guidelines.” Well, gee. The key thing to remember about NPS guidelines is that – like the Pirate Code – they are ONLY guidelines.

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