HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites
FALL 2012 - Wednesdays, 12:50 to 3:50, Wheeler 101
HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites is designed to provide an introduction to the historic preservation research methods and documentation techniques used by professional historic preservationists to identify and to record historic structures and heritage sites using archival and physical evidence. The course introduces techniques for heritage site research and documentation, including the development of building descriptions, historical narratives, and skills in digital photography, GIS, CAD measured drawings, and publishing on the web. The reading assignments are intended to provide incoming preservation students a broad overview of the field of preservation and to help students develop knowledge and skills in historic sites research methodologies. Another goal of this course is to help students develop skills in working on collaborative preservation research projects. The results of this research project will be shared as a public service through a web site on the internet.
All students are expected to attend all classes unless for illness or for reasons beyond a student's control or if excused in advance. Cellphones should be turned off during all classes. Computers and digital devices should only be used for class-related business during lectures and labs. No texting, e-mailing, web-browsing or other distractive activities should be done during lectures.
Written assignments should be submitted at the beginning of class. These written assignments should be done on a computer and printed with double-spaced 12 point text. Multiple page submissions should be stapled or bound well together. Those enrolled in this course have priority use of the Historic Preservation Computer Lab in Wheeler 103. Students are responsible for supplying appropriate paper for the printouts and to pay the "pig" for printer ink and toner use at the rates displayed. Everyone should save drafts of their course work to their UVM zoo accounts. The final digital product is to be transferred to the project account. (These procedures will be reviewed in class.)
It is expected that all assignments will be submitted on time. Late work may be penalized unless arrangements are made in advance. Extensions for assignments may only granted for illness or for serious reasons beyond the control of a student. There will be no incomplete course grades for this course except with the Graduate College Dean's approval for reasons beyond a student's control.
All writing must be authored directly by each student. It is expected that all work will be produced in a professional manner and will be thoroughly proof-read and checked for spelling and grammatical and formatting errors before being submitted. Unedited "rough drafts" should not be submitted or posted on the web. The Chicago Manual of Style is the preferred style guide for citations in the history/historic preservation field. It is available for consultation in the reference section of the UVM Library or is available for purchase locally. All sources of information and ideas that are not common knowledge must be identified through attributions in the text or by citations using footnotes or endnotes (rather than parenthetical citations). Plagiarism is not tolerated at the University of Vermont. For guidance, see Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It. Please also review the University of Vermont's Code of Academic Integrity and the UVM Student Handbook.
The class project this semester will build on the sequence of research projects (see http://www.uvm.edu/~hp206/) completed by previous students in this course. This year, our project will be to research the history of Burlington from around 1900 to around 1920 using pre-1922 postcards of Burlington sites as the primary archival source.
Each student will select and scan several early 20th century postcards (pre-white border) from the postcard archives at UVM Library Special Collections or other sources and then conduct detailed historical research using city directories, maps, and other primary and secondary sources to develop a detailed narrative description of what is shown in the image, including identifying the various buildings and discussing the history of each before and after the postcard image was taken. The postcard views should be re-photographed as closely as possible from the same spot to provide then-and-now visual comparisons.
As with all field research, safety always should be the first priority. Always watch for traffic. Respect the privacy wishes of others. Avoid taking pictures when identifiable people are in view. Only take photographs from a public way.
Assignment 1 - Recording memories
Write a short paper (3 to 5 pages) from memory that describes a building or place that you remember fondly from long ago. Try to be as accurate and detailed as possible. Consider the specific qualities of the character of the building and place that impressed you most strongly. Identify and discuss the appearance of physical materials and how the place made you feel then, but avoid conjecture.
Assignment 2 - Identification, documentation and recordation of historic sites - Digital products should be ready for use in October 17 class and saved on your UVM zoo account
A. Conduct preliminary research on your project sites using archival sources (UVM Library Special Collections and other sources) and online resources. Assemble reference collection of maps, aerial imagery, and historic photographs.
B. Photograph with a digital camera each site being documented from as close as possible to the same viewpoint as the original image. Try to match time of day. Be sure the camera is set to take the images at 1024 pixels wide or higher and in the "fine" or highest quality (least compression) jpg mode.
For each image, record:
This information should be recorded digitally in a spreadsheet and a printout of this spreadsheet should be submitted on paper in class on the due date.
Assignment 3 - Historical research
Develop a narrative that documents the history your assigned sites, drawing on both archival sources and the findings of your field research. Your research should expand the body of knowledge about these sites through the use of the rich collection of primary source archival materials available at the University of Vermont Library and other physical and on-line sources. These primary source materials could include historic maps, historic photographs, directories, aerial imagery, and newspapers as well as possibly, census records, insurance records, probate records, letters, et cetera. Also after your initial primary research, consult such secondary source materials as the Vermont historic sites and structures surveys (available at UVM Library Special Collections) and National Register nominations. These may be used for critical review, however the goal of this project is not to reiterate information from secondary sources. Rely first on primary sources and physical evidence. Compare your research findings with a critical review of secondary sources. Always be skeptical of the research of others! Note where your conclusions differ from those of others.
The historical narrative for each image should be thoroughly proof-read and produced in a professional manner on paper (approximately three to five pages of text for each image) with proper citations of all sources using end notes as described in the Chicago Manual of Style and bound. An edited digital version will be used for the web site.
Supplement your historical narrative on each site with representative photographs that show the site from the same view point today. You may also enrich your narrative with sub-illustrations of other historic (and other older) images, drawings, and maps. Only use images that in the public domain and that you have permission to use if owned by someone other than yourself. For images obtained from the UVM Library or other archives, should request permission for their use for this project. Each sub-illustration should have a figure number and a detailed caption that identifies the subject, direction of view, original photographer if known, archive obtained.
Assignment 4 - Map
Using on-site measurements, field notes, and photographs, produce a digital site plan that shows the locations the sites that you have documented in your project.
The goal of assignment 4 is for you to become familiar with digital tools available for making maps that identify locations of historic resources. (If you would like to use CAD to make a map of the district and add the locations manually, this would be fine, but you would need to save the map as a jpg image and post it to your web site.)
Product: Upload your site plan map to the web and submit this assignment as a link to a web page by email to Thomas.Visser@uvm.edu
Assignment 5 - Digital Presentation
Organize your research findings into a condensed 10 minute (no longer) digital presentation using Powerpoint or Keynote. Briefly introduce yourself and your project, then summarize your findings illustrated with representative images from your research. Bring your presentation to class saved in a file with your name on a USB flash drive.
Assignment 6 - Web Publishing
We will develop a template format for our project web site together. Based on this template, convert your historical research and images into web pages. These pages should have an introduction with a table of contents directory, a summary of the history of your sites, maps that identify the location of each site surveyed, historical maps, and other information. Post the files in proper folders, accessible to everyone on the world wide web. When finished, e-mail the URL for your section of the web site to Thomas.Visser@uvm.edu.
Grades on assignments will reflect the quality of the work and its professional appearance and organization.
Garvin, James. A Building History of Northern New England. Hanover: University Press of New England. 2001.
Burns, John, Ed. Recording Historic Structures. Washington: AIA. 1989. (Several copies are on reserve in Wheeler 103.)
Visser, Thomas. Field Guide to New England Barns & Farm Buildings. Hanover: University Press of New England. 1996.
Fitch, James Marston. Historic Preservation. Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia Press. 1992.
McAlester, Virginia & Lee. Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Knopf. 1983.
Visser, Thomas. Porches of North America. Hanover: University Press of New England. 2012.
Allen, Charles Edward, About Burlington. Burlington, Vt.: Hobart Shanley Co., 1905.
Address book of Burlington, Vermont: 1904-5
Building Technology Heritage Library (Archive.org and APT)
UVM Library -E-Resource Portal - History
Chronicling America- Burlington Free Press
USB flash drive
Digital camera (at least 5 megapixel)