May is recognized as Preservation Month around the country but here at Stratford Hall every month is Preservation Month. On the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website for Preservation Month you will find the following paragraph:
“May is Preservation Month! As in years past, the National Trust for Historic Preservation encourages preservation and Main Street organizations to use this month-long opportunity to showcase how they are celebrating and saving historic places year-round. This year’s theme, “New Age of Preservation: Embark, Inspire, Engage,” is meant to excite your current supporters and introduce new audiences to the work you’re doing to enrich and preserve the places that make your community special.”
It is Stratford Hall’s mission to do this on a daily basis and it is my first and foremost responsibility as Director of Preservation. It is my philosophy that the best way for me to do my job and spread the word of preservation is to do our work in the open where we can engage our visitors. When it is possible all of our preservation and restoration projects are open to the public and they are encouraged to interact with the ones performing the work. It is often the highlight of my day sharing and explaining what I am doing and why.
A great example of this is the current Dining Room restoration project. During the entire project the room has been open and we have been able to share the evidence that we have found. It has been my experience that almost all the visitors love seeing the room in various states of undress and exposing its previously hidden secrets. It has been a great way to engage the visitors and get them excited and interested in preservation. It also invites them to embark on another trip to Stratford Hall to see the finished project and seeing what we are working on next…
-Phil Mark, Director of Preservation