Care > Planning
"Martha Demas: Let's start by asking the basic question
of how each of you defines management planning.
"Christina Cameron: Management planning is the long-term
vision that you set out for a site. Within it there are also
short-term objectives. A management plan must be rooted in the
values of the place and be created through a multidisciplinary
team. The other essential element is that it is a public document.
It is a commitment by those entrusted with looking after a site.
"Carolina Castellanos: My definition is very similar.
Management planning is an integrated participatory process,
driven by significance. It also means trying to preserve a series
of values that we have prioritized at this moment in time and
that will certainly change as time evolves."
Consensus, Creating a Vision : A Discussion about Site Management
Management, Vol. 16.3, Fall 200, Conservation: The
Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter, Getty
Racine. Laurel. On the Inside Looking Out Guidelines
for the Treatment of Historic Furnished Interiors, CRM,
vol. 9, 200, National Park Service. [Download PDF format file.]
Preservation Planning and the Research of Historic Furnished
Before any changes are made to the historic furnished interior,
its current condition must be fully recorded. Careful planning
prior to treatment can help prevent the loss or diminishment
of resources and can inform future decisions concerning
the treatment of a historic furnished interior. An on-going
record of the investigative, decision-making, and physical
treatment processes should be kept to inform future administrators
and planning efforts. In all treatments for historic furnished
interiors, the following general recommendations
- Documentation of the actual work process is an essential
and often overlooked part of any treatment.
- Planning and research for historic furnished interiors
must be an interdisciplinary process. The treatment of
the historic building and the cultural landscape should
be taken into consideration when selecting a treatment
option. However, protecting and preserving significant
resources are more important than selecting a single treatment
tied to one date or date range.
- Historical research must be undertaken to provide an
overview of the building's construction history, analysis
of historical occupancy, history of furnishings, and evidence
of room use. This research should also address the cultural
and historic value of the interior and evaluate its significance
within the context of other related interiors. Preparation
of a historic structure report and historic furnishings
report is the most common method for compiling this documentation.
- This baseline information is needed before a treatment
option is selected and a full treatment plan developed.
- Site-associated documentation and physical evidence
are of prime importance to the preservation planning process.
- Assessing an interior as a continuum through history
is critical in understanding its cultural and historic
value. Based on analysis, individual features may be attributed
to a discrete period of introduction, their presence or
absence substantiated to a given date, and therefore the
interior's significance and integrity evaluated.
- The ease with which furnishings can be rearranged or
removed from a setting requires a more flexible definition
of integrity of location. The integrity of an interior
is not necessarily lost by the removal of character-defining
features (movable furnishings) from their original location.
However, if a historic site has an intact, preserved interior,
it is critical that every aspect of the historic furnished
interior be documented before any objects are moved or
otherwise changed by the commencement of project work.
- Historic furnished interiors include textiles and other
fragile materials that often require replacement to ensure
the protection of original fabric and to maintain integrity
of design and feeling. As a result, a flexible definition
of integrity of materials is required. The degree of replacement
may determine the appropriate treatment. Replacement of
fragile items must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Factors in Choosing Treatment
A treatment is a physical intervention carried out to achieve
a historic preservation goal it cannot be considered
in a vacuum. There are many practical and philosophical
variables that influence the selection of a treatment for
a furnished interior:
Change and Continuity.
Change is inherent in furnished interiors, the result of
material deterioration and human activities. Despite change,
an interior will usually retain continuity of architectural
form, and may retain continuity of use, features, or materials.
Relative Significance in History.
A historic furnished interior may be locally, regionally,
or nationally significant for its association with an important
event or person. An interior also may be a rare survivor
or the work of a master craftsman or interior designer.
Integrity and Existing Physical Condition.
Integrity is the authenticity of a furnished interior.
Existing conditions can be defined as the current physical
state of the interior's spaces, interior architectural features,
finishes, furnishings, and interior design. A historic furnished
interior can retain its integrity, but be in poor condition,
or vice versa.
Conservation in Context.
Prior to any project work beyond stabilizing objects, the
overall consistent appearance of the historic furnished
interior must be addressed. In considering the conservation
and re-creation of objects, the issues of age, wear, and
cleanliness must be discussed. Ideally, a newly conserved
or re-created object should not stand out from the assemblage.
The treatment and re-creation of objects must be considered
within the context of the whole historic furnished interior.
Historic, current, and proposed use of the interior must
be considered prior to treatment selection. Historic use
is directly linked to its significance, while current and
proposed use can affect integrity and existing conditions.
Management and Maintenance.
The institution's overall mission should not be forgotten
in the face of planning for a historic furnished interior.
It should be determined whether such an interior fits into
the mission statement and whether the institution has the
resources to commit to such a venture without neglecting
other cultural and natural resources. Alternatives to historic
furnished interiors are formal exhibits, a period room,
series of period rooms, or historic furnished vignettes
(furnished portions of rooms).
A sound interpretive strategy for a historic site cannot
be developed before an interior's history, character-defining
features, significance, and integrity are evaluated. Serious
mistakes, resulting in the loss of irreplaceable original
features, can occur when pre-conceived interpretive goals
and management considerations shape treatment decisions.
Likewise, interpretive objectives and needs must be considered
as part of the planning process.
The guidelines are in draft form. The Northeast Museum
Services Center is in the early stages of collaborating
with Heritage Preservation during the final phases of the
project. We need better illustrations of recommended practices
from institutions and organizations representing all regions
of the country. Once the illustrations are in place, there
will be one more review and the document will be published.
Laurel Racine is a senior curator at the Northeast Museum
Services Center, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Contact her
at 617-242-5613 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>
with requests for copies of the final draft and suggestions
for possible illustrations for the document.