Is it a historic place, resource or site? What’s the difference?

October 4, 2011

Some of the words we use to discuss heritage conservation can be confusing. The related but distinct terms historic place, historic resource and historic site are often misunderstood. Sometimes, people will talk of historic sites when they mean historic resources, and make reference to historic places when the place is not formally historic. Confused? I shall clarify:

Historic Place is the generic term used throughout Canada to reference “a structure, building, group of buildings, district, landscape, archaeological site or other place in Canada that has been formally recognized for its heritage value.” Each province and territory has separate legislation regulating the identification, evaluation and management of historic places. Therefore, each province uses a different term to describe a designated or protected historic place. For example, in Manitoba they are called Heritage Sites and in Saskatchewan, Heritage Properties. 

Brooks Aqueduct is a historic place designated as a Provincial Historic Resource and is operated as a historic site.

Alberta’s Historical Resources Act uses the term Historic Resource. A Historic Resource is defined as a historic place valued for “its palaeontological, archaeological, prehistoric, historic, cultural, natural, scientific or esthetic interest”. The Government of Alberta may designate a historic resource as a Provincial Historic Resource and a municipality may designate a historic resource as a Municipal Historic Resource. Designated historic resources may not be repaired, altered or destroyed without written approval from the designating authority.

A Historic Site is a historic resource owned or leased by the Government of Alberta and managed by the Historic Sites and Museums Branch of Culture and Community Spirit. These sites are interpreted through public programming, signage and exhibits. Stephansson House and Brooks Aqueduct are examples of historic sites.

So, if you ever find yourself talking about an old place ask: “What do I really mean? Has it been formally recognized by the Government of Alberta or a municipality?” Perhaps you are talking about a formally recognized historic resource.

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer


The ABC’s of Heritage Conservation (Part 3 of 3)

April 19, 2011
 

 The final segment of this series ends with the middle – the letter ‘M’. 

‘M’ is the most important letter in the heritage conservationist’s alphabet. Maintenance is the best (and cheapest) way to maintain a historic place, and minimal intervention is always the desire when completing an intervention. 

  • Maintenance:  Routine, cyclical, nondestructive actions necessary to slow the deterioration of an historic place. It entails periodic inspection; routine, cyclical, non-destructive cleaning; minor repair and refinishing operations; replacement of damaged or deteriorated materials that are impractical to save. 
  • Minimal intervention:  The approach that allows functional goals to be met with the least physical intervention. 
L to R: Larry G. Potter and Don Totten

In the above photo Larry G. Potter and Don Totten conduct routine maintenance on the Canadian National Railways Steam Locomotive 6060 Provincial Historic Resource. Click here to read the Locamotive’s Statement of Significance on the Alberta Register of Historic Places.

To learn more about the above terms or to read about additional conservation terms, please review the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The Glossary section of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program website is also a great resource. 

Did we miss something? Would you like us to discuss a term not mentioned in this series? Do you want more information on one of the terms we have defined? Submit a comment to this blog post and we will prepare a response. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer (with definitions from the Standards and Guidelines).


The ABC’s of Heritage Conservation (Part 2 of 3)

April 12, 2011
 

If Part 1 left you confused but less bemused hopefully the terms below will continue to explain the difference between some of our key terms. 

The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada provides direction on how to conserve historic places. But what exactly is conservation and how does it differ from all the other “–tion” words related to historic places?  

  • Intervention:  Any action, other than demolition or destruction, that results in a physical change to an element of a historic place. 
  • Conservation:  All actions or processes that are aimed at safeguarding the character-defining elements of a historic place so as to retain its heritage value and extend its physical life. This may involve “Preservation,” “Rehabilitation,” “Restoration,” or a combination of these actions or processes. 
  • Preservation:  The action or process of protecting, maintaining, and/or stabilizing the existing materials, form, and integrity of a historic place or of an individual component, while protecting its heritage value. 
  • Rehabilitation:  The action or process of making possible a continuing or compatible contemporary use of a historic place or an individual component, while protecting its heritage value. 
  • Restoration:  The action or process of accurately revealing, recovering or representing the state of a historic place or of an individual component, as it appeared at a particular period in its history, while protecting its heritage value. 

To learn more about the above terms or to read about additional conservation terms, please review the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The Glossary section of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program website is also a great resource. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer (with definitions from the Standards and Guidelines).


The ABC’s of Heritage Conservation (Part 1 of 3)

April 5, 2011

 

The words of our trade can confuse and bemuse – below is a brief glossary of key terms designed to clarify and inform. 

Statements of Significance are used to understand how historic places should be conserved after a designating authority (i.e., a municipality – City, Town, Village or Municipal District, or the Government of Alberta) designates a place as a Municipal Historic Resource or a Provincial Historic Resource. 

  • Historic place:  A structure, building, group of buildings, district, landscape, archaeological site or other place that has been formally recognized for its heritage value. 
  • Statement of Significance (SoS):  A statement that briefly describes the historic place, identifies the heritage value or values associated with the place and lists the corresponding character-defining elements that must be conserved. 
  • Heritage value:  The aesthetic, historic, scientific, cultural, social or spiritual importance or significance for past, present or future generations. The heritage value of an historic place is embodied in its character-defining elements. 
  • Character-defining elements:  The materials, forms, location, spatial configurations and cultural associations or meanings that contribute to the heritage value of an historic place, which must be retained in order to preserve its heritage value. 

Village Treasures, in the Village of Mannville, is an example of a historic place. In January 2010 the Village designated it a Municipal Historic Resource. To read the Statement of Significance click here.

To learn more about the above terms or to read about additional conservation terms, please review the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. The Glossary section of the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program website is also a great resource. 

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Municipal Heritage Services Officer (with definitions from the Standards and Guidelines).




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