Introducing a new reoccurring post for the blog – I pick a theme and then write five items around that theme.
This 5 for Friday is a contemplative one – five things I wish I had learned in graduate school. Although I graduated with M.S. Historic Preservation degree almost two and a half years ago, I feel like I’ve learned almost just as much in the past two years. I know that it’s simply impossible for MSHP programs to cover everything essential for those in the professional field, but I’ve contemplated on some items I think I should have taken the time to get a grasp on while in school.
1. Learn ArcGIS. Anyone going into historic preservation should take the time to learn this computer program. I have had to learn ArcGIS primarily on my own, although I did splurge and paid to take a small workshop. If you want to go into the historic preservation field, I highly recommend taking an ArcGIS class in undergrad or graduate school.
2. Gain an understanding of the nexus between the archaeology and historic preservation fields. In the real world, the work of archaeologists and historians is very much intertwined. I work with three great archaeologists, but sometimes I think they are speaking a foreign language.
3. Non-profit management and fundraising techniques. Although I work in the government side of preservation, I know many former classmates who specifically mention this as the one item they wish they had learned. I know many jobs ask for fundraising experience – but no way to acquire this training.
4. Anything about historic bridges. I think those working in the CRM field can attest to the widespread work done on historic bridges, through contract work or employment with state DOTs. Even in my position, we have a handful of historic bridges that require state and federal compliance. Bridges are an important historic resource and understanding bridge types and bridge issues would make future preservationists more equipped to handle these resource types.
5. How to combine preservation principles with other fields to achieve common goals. Although we are taught and understand the interdisciplinary nature of the field, how about learning how to bridge preservation and sustainability? Preservation as the more economical option? Preservation ideals are imbedded in many other concepts and it’s all about finding the right mix for each project and each person.
Now, I open it up to any historic preservation graduate school alumni – I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you wish you would’ve learned?