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Three Take Aways into Action

April 30, 2012

Whew, what a week! The joint Northwest Archivists Annual Meeting/Oregon Heritage Conference wrapped up Saturday after three days of workshops and engaging sessions about all things heritage. We’ll soon have many presentations available to download on This year’s conference focused on three themes: restoration, innovation and collaboration. So what did we take away?

Like good take out, these are three good take aways.

We learned that collaboration is better than going at it alone. The joint conference was a great opportunity for people who work with archives, historic preservation, libraries, and museums to connect with one another and begin to find similarities in our issues and challenges. It also allowed time for us to begin to think about how to craft solutions to solve our problems together. Let’s use the momentum from the conference to continue working on these together.

We learned that innovation can lead to great things. There are a lot of amazing programs, initiatives, and projects happening around Oregon and the Northwest. These innovations range from in-house activities to outreach and education. We heard at the conference how outside-the-box type thinking can help ideas gain traction, get off the ground, and make a great impact. Let’s strive to be more innovative in defining our problems and creating solutions.

We learned that restoration can reinvigorate. When we think “restoration,” a lot of us probably think of building restoration. But “restore” simply means to return something to a former condition, place, or position. Therefore, the idea of restoration can be applied to all heritage fields. A restored bridge can give new energy to a downtown area. A well-founded collections policy can bring order back to an archive. Meaningful outreach and education to youth can rejuvenate aging programs. Let’s embrace restoration as a healthy activity for heritage.

Now we want to hear what you learned. Was there a session or workshop that stuck with you the most? Did you learn something that you’re planning to use soon in your work? Was there a connection you made that will help with a particular problem? Comments are open for all.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2012 2:54 pm

    Many of this year’s Heritage Excellence Award winners drove home the value in having successful case study projects that can be easily replicated in communities across the state. The Oregon City historic resource survey project and the Owens-Adair Building energy efficiency project are models of how a public agency can reduce costs, plan for the future, and provide educational resources for nonprofits and the public alike. In an era of scare resources, having clear templates for replicable projects will encourage public agencies to incorporate preservation into their ongoing planning and facilities activities.

    • May 2, 2012 8:53 am

      Agreed! This year’s Oregon Heritage Excellence Award winners provide some great examples of how thoughtful planning pays off.

  2. May 2, 2012 8:55 am

    The session on “Sprouting the Interest of Tomorrow’s Historians” was a great overview of different programs throughout Oregon that are working to engage youth in heritage education. Through projects like History Day, the Century Farm/Ranch Oral History Program, and the Hillsboro History Project, students are encouraged, largely independently, to undertake their own history-related research. These creative projects break the mold of traditional, textbook history education and emphasize that history can be collaborative, creative, and fun!

  3. May 2, 2012 9:21 am

    It was a pleasure to represent The History Press at the Oregon Heritage Conference. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the exhibit table to say hello and to Kyle, Mary, and the other organizers for their time!

  4. Chris Bell permalink
    May 7, 2012 3:50 pm

    The conference was a great success in my view. Not only did we all walk away with an invigorated sense of preservation in this state, in the many forms it can take, but a desire to connect with others who are working toward a similar end. I learned a lot in the two sessions I presented in, with members of my own organization (ODOT). I also learned a great deal from the questions proffered, and then those who came up afterwards for deeper discussion. I am only sorry that I didn’t have a chance to spend more time at the conference, something that will change for 2013. Thank you for putting on such a great event.

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