Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Make this Preservation Month a Success by Sharing Your Story!

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National Historic Preservation Month was started in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to draw attention to older and historic places across the country and to highlight the benefits of historic preservation in the nation’s communities.

This year, we’re celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by asking our readers to share with us a Preservation Success Stories in their communities. And you might just win something!

Pennsylvania’s Preservation Success Stories

A Preservation Success Story is an activity, event, person, organization, place – or something else! – that shines a spotlight on the good things people across the commonwealth are doing every day but never think of as preservation. It might be as subtle as shop owners moving into a vacant downtown storefront or as obvious as carpenters repairing an original wood porch. Preservation successes are not always called out with big signs or press releases, but they are happening every day nonetheless.

Man painting porch
#PreservationHappensHere in Pennsylvania every day!

The definition of a Preservation Success Story is broad on purpose! There are lots of different things that count as a “success” when you’re working toward a preservation outcome. You may remember that one of the actions we included in Goal 3 of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan deals precisely with that!

Broaden the definitions of historic preservation.
Expand preservation to encompass the following: open space, historic and archaeological resources, working lands, environmental quality, viewshed aesthetics, trails, recreational opportunities, public health (walkability), and community character protection. Replace the narrow definition of historic preservation as working with older and historic buildings with the “whole place” preservation approach that emphasizes the understanding and value of a place’s collective tangible and intangible characteristics. Enable communities to define what is important to them and worthy of preservation.

#PreservAtionHappensHere, Pennsylvania’s State Historic Preservation Plan 2018-2023, page 64.

Submitting a Preservation Success Story does important things for preservation in Pennsylvania: 

  • It recognizes that preservation successes, particularly the everyday activities and small achievements, may often fly under the radar and are not always identified or announced.
  • It shows that small frequent “wins” can add up and show progress when we think there is none.
  • It communicates that we understand that Pennsylvanians care about the little things that help sustain a historic place or encourage a community just as much as the big things.
  • It helps Pennsylvania move toward the goal of broadening the definition and understanding of historic preservation by seeing what others across the commonwealth identify as “historic preservation.”

What can it do for you, your organization, or a place you care about?

How to Submit your Success Story

Please send us your Preservation Success Stories through PA-SHARE (Pennsylvania’s State Historic and Archaeological Resource Exchange), which is PA SHPO’s new online data management and cultural resources GIS tool. You can learn more about PA-SHARE on PHMC’s website.

A PA-SHARE account is not required to submit your story! We’ve put together this handy tutorial to walk you through the process:

Submitting a Success Story in PA-SHARE

And here are the highlights:

If you do have a PA-SHARE account already, log in to PA-SHARE at https://share.phmc.pa.gov/pashare/landing. If you don’t have an account, you can easily sign up for one or proceed as an anonymous Guest user.

Once you are signed in, you’ll see this welcome page. Click “Submit” to get to the next screen:

Once on the “Submit” page, and click on one of the links to open the Success Story wizard:

Fill out the very short form and attach a photograph. Be prepared to provide the following:

  • Success Story Name
  • Description of the Success Story
  • Story Category
  • County & Municipality
  • Your Name
  • Your Email and Phone Number. If submitting as a Guest User, please be sure to include your full name and email address. Entries using default contact fields will not be considered!
  • At least one photograph.

Once you’ve provided all the required information, simply click “Submit to SHPO”!

Need help? You can also email the PA-SHARE Help Desk at pashare@pa.gov if you’re having trouble navigating through PA-SHARE.

Maybe you’ll win something!

Three entries submitted between May 1 and May 31 will be chosen at random for three-month Pro subscription to PA-SHARE.  We’ll announce the winners in a blog post on June 4th. We’re going to do our best to make sure that the chosen subscription winners represent a diversity of applicants and projects.

For more information on the benefits of a Pro subscription, check out https://www.phmc.pa.gov/PA-SHARE/Pages/Options—Subscriptions.aspx.

All entries will also be automatically entered to win a 2021 PA SHPO Community Initiative Award. The Community Initiative Award from the State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.  PA SHPO selects three to four winners from a pool of candidates, typically each fall.

PA SHPO 2016 Community Initiative Award recipients (from left to right: Brad Maule, Conor Corcoran, Peter Woodall, Kendall Pelling, Anita Dolan, Sherri Geary, and Andrea MacDonald).

For more information about the Community Initiative Awards, please visit https://www.phmc.pa.gov/Preservation/education-outreach/Pages/Community-Initiative-Awards.aspx.

Success stories may also be featured in a future PA SHPO blog post or newsletter or on social media.

Inspiration!

You can check out our interviews with the 2020 Community Initiative Award winners and be inspired by their Success Stories in these blog posts this month:

  • Old Erie on Foot: Wednesday, May 12
  • Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc.: Wednesday, May 19
  • Society for the Preservation of the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka (SPMMMV): Wednesday, May 26.

You also won’t want to miss Old Erie on Foot’s takeover of PHMC’s Instagram account on Thursday and Friday, May 13th and 14th! If you don’t already follow @PATrailsofHistory, make sure you start because you’ll want to see what cool things Erin Phillips wants to share with us!

Photo of woman on porch.
Erin Phillips, Old Erie on Foot, 2021.

After you’ve shared your story with us, inspire others by sharing it with others over social media. Don’t forget the #preservationhappenshere hashtag!

Guidelines for Entry

Here are a few guidelines and requirements to keep in mind for submitting a Preservation Success Story to us:

  • The Success Story is located in Pennsylvania.
  • The Success Story embodies the goals and objectives of the statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservAtionHappensHere.
  • The Success Story is submitted through PA-SHARE, with all required fields completed and accurate. If submitting as a Guest User, please be sure to include your full name and email address. Entries using default contact fields will not be considered.
  • The Success Story is about an event/activity, organization, person, or place; if submitters use the “Other” category, they must provide an attachment that clearly explains what they are submitting and why.
  • The description clearly identifies why the Success Story is being submitted and what it is about.
  • At least one photograph, uploaded as a .jpeg (or similar format), is required.  The photograph should reflect the nature of the Success Story.  Websites or URLs that are provide as the photograph will not be considered.
  • Additional information, included as an Attachment in PA-SHARE, is encouraged but not required.
  • Subscription winners will represent a diversity of applicants and projects.
  • Submitters of a Success Story are eligible to win the three-month Pro subscription. The subject(s) of the Success Story, if different than the submitter, would not also be granted a subscription.
  • PA SHPO reserves the right to remove any submission from consideration that does not follow the above guidelines.

Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

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