The Period of Significance is NOW: Catalytic Change at Historic Sites
Historic house museums and sites constitute one of the largest and most vulnerable segments of museums in the United States because their existing operating models lack the ability to sustain them, both culturally and financially. The imperative is as much operational as it is methodological and cultural. In 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation was one of three organizations selected to participate in the Innovation Lab for Museums, sponsored by the Met Life Foundation and the American Alliance for Museums, and set about to create catalytic change across its portfolio of 27 historic sites based around the idea that the period of significance for historic sites and house museums must be NOW. This effort is guided by the principles that historic sites must be responsive to community; financially stable; foster an understanding of history and culture that is critical, layered, and sensory, and inclusive; and encompass the full breadth, depth and often-marginalized scope of American history.
This panel explore the way a range of historic sites and stewardship organizations are addressing the issues and realigning their mission and interpretation to respond to these new challenges.