Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tomorrow's Past

Quantum physics aside, experience tells us that today's present is always tomorrow's past. It's simple to look around at things that aren't here anymore, shake your head, and say, 'How could they abandon that?' or 'How could they just let that deteriorate?'. The history is more complex than that which makes the value of preservation of historic buildings and artifacts more subtle than many preservationists would like to admit.

It seems that many things go through a period of 'old junk' status before they become collectible. Let's use my definition of collectible, where something becoumes collectible the moment that it's value exceeds that of it's newer, better, replacement. Think iPod. When the first Generation of iPod sells for more on eBay than the 2nd or 3rd generation, voila. My parents bought a 78 Pontiac station wagon to replace the beat up 68 Plymouth station wagon that had become the family 'beater'. By the mid 80's the Pontiac was the beater in my mind, and I was starting to think 'I wish we'd hung on to that Plymouth'.

It's the beater period where history is at risk. That's the point at which preservation can interfere and bring something back from the brink. But not everything. There's good in progress and looking forward. We can't save every beater, we wouldn't appreciate history like we do if we did.


  1. This is your best post yet, reminded me of dad.
    I like, "We can't save every beater." But we can try! :o)

  2. But that's my point. We can't save them all so try to save the ones worth saving.


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