© 2019 – Routledge
232 pages | 75 B/W Illus.
Historic reconstructions have been a consistent part of the historic preservation and heritage conservation movements in the United States and Canada. Indeed, reconstruction has been the primary tool at the most influential historic sites for example: the Governor's Palace and the Capitol at Colonial Williamsburg, and in Canada, the Fortress of Louisbourg. Dozens of other reconstructions have appeared during the past century in North America, undertaken by individuals, communities, states and provinces, and by national agencies responsible for cultural heritage. Despite this prevalence, historic reconstructions have received little scholarly attention and the question of what motivated the proponents of these projects remains largely unexamined.
This book explores that question through detailed studies of ten historic reconstructions located throughout Canada and the United States, ranging from 1908 to 2011. Drawing upon diverse archival sources and site investigations, the proponents of each site are given voice to address their need to remake these landmarks, be it to sustain, to challenge or even subvert a historical narrative or – with reference to contemporary heritage studies – to reclaim these spaces.
Historic Reconstructions provides a fascinating insight into these shifting concepts of history in North America and will be of considerable interest both to students and scholars of historic preservation and indeed to heritage professionals involved in reconstructions themselves.
"Cogent and consistently engaging, this book greatly enriches the discourse of heritage conservation. Wayde Brown lays bare its inevitable admixture of atavism, alienation and appropriation while acknowledging changing endeavour to capture temporal and cultural authenticity. He deserves particular praise for his articulate review of theory as well as practice, and attention to dominant settler but also indigenous patrimony through his adept selection and interrogation of a sequence of major reconstruction projects across North America. The analysis of these projects properly acknowledges the importance individual actors, and thus the play of prejudice and presumption in the staging of touristic historical recall through place and artifact."
Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, The University of British Colombia, Canada
"Wayde Brown provides offers a fascinating look at reconstructing historic places that have been destroyed. Opinion has been divided over the value of rebuilding lost heritage. Some favour it for providing a clear picture of what has vanished, while others complain that it introduces new, and sometimes incorrect, ideas about the past. Brown treats this controversial subject generally, while also focussing on well-selected past examples."
Harold Kalman, private scholar, Canada
"Reconstructing Historic Landmarks: Fabrication, Negotiation, and the Past is evocative and broadly documents the reconstruction processes and the struggles to align with the public narrative in Canada and the United States. With this book, Wayde Brown invigorates the discussion on reconstruction and authenticity. He clearly illuminates the dichotomy between the opportunities and constraints of evidence-based approaches and the romantic poignancy of the public narrative that arise when reconstructing historic buildings and contexts."
Robert A. Young, University of Utah, USA