PROCEEDINGS OF THE

INTERAMERICAN SYMPOSIUM ON AUTHENTICITY
IN THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, USA MARCH, 1996

ICOMOS United States
EVALUATING AUTHENTICITY: REFLECTIONS BASED ON the United States EXPERIENCE

Prepared by the U. S. Scientific Committee for the Inter American Symposium on Authenticity

based upon contributions from Ed Crocker, Nora J. Mitchell, Carol Shull, and Mike Taylor

The soul of a people is the image it cherishes of itself, the aspect in which it sees itself against its past; the attributes to which its future conduct must respond To destroy that image is to destroy the means by which the nation recognizes what it is and what it has to do.
- Archibald MacLeish, 1949

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I. Intent When MacLeish, the quintessential interpreter of the experience of living in the United States, wrote these words, he was concerned that we were losing perspective during a difficult period of our history, and that our image of ourselves was losing the sharp focus it once had. The image to which he refers, the past which he invokes and the conduct he anticipates, are ways of describing a sense of place, and of ascribing meaning in our lives, both individually and communally. These elements provide the basis for an examination and definition of the authenticity of our national experience and on the manner in which we deal with the artifactual remnants of our history. It is the intent of this paper to outline, through a review of what is unique in the United States experience as well as what we hold in common with other nations in this hemisphere, a methodology to help us recognize what we value and how we as preservationists and conservators should respond to it. II. Discussion Background Although we share some important commonalities with our hemispheric neighbors, circumstance has arranged that there is as much to differentiate the United States from them as there is for comparison. In common is a pattern of human settlement coming relatively late in human history and resulting from the migratory introduction of Old World genetic and linguistic stock from north to south. Beginning with the period of European contact, the United States shares with its neighbors a history of exploration, colonization, exploitation and revolution. However, our national character has been determined by a layering of cultures in a temperate climate, established on a diverse base of indigenous populations and augmented by wave after wave of immigration from every corner of the globe. To be sure, other nations in the western hemisphere have experienced similar phenomena, but each is unique in its own set of historic circumstances and physical geography and environments. Salient among the colonization populations in the United States was that by protestant northern Europeans seeking relief from religious, economic and political persecution. It is they who provided the basis for a dominant Anglo, puritanical culture. We carry a self image characterized by an aggressive approach to economic prosperity, a demand for a stable political environment, and a penchant for religious conservatism. All of these aspects of our experience have produced facets of our prodigious material culture. As an example,

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they can be seen neatly illustrated in the few square blocks of Salt Lake City encompassing Temple Square, the state capital, and the high rise commercial office space housing the economic empire of the Mormon Church. The specific geography, climate, settlement patterns and history of the United States have resulted in a unique assemblage of built environments and cultural landscapes. These cultural manifestations are, by circumstance, generally younger than that of Europe, Asia and Africa, and on a rough chronological par with other nations in the hemisphere. In derivation and appearance they differ greatly. The diversity of heritage ranges from the camp sites of the earliest hunter-gatherers to the majesty of the Lincoln Memorial; from the humble earthen churches of the southwest to the arrogant concrete and steel skyscrapers of the northeast; from designed urban parks to vernacular homesteads. It includes monumental works of architecture, landscape architecture and engineering, homes of past presidents, and battlefields associated with specific events, as well as main street commercial centers, residential districts, and rural historic landscapes with farmsteads and agricultural fields and structures that illustrate the patterns of history, ways of life, and contributions of living communities. It includes traditional cultural places important in maintaining the continuing identity of particular groups, such as a geographical feature associated with the beliefs of an American Indian tribe about its origins, its cultural history or the nature of the world, or an urban Chinatown where Chinese immigrants and their descendants have traditionally carried out economic, artistic, or cultural practices important in maintaining their identity. Our heritage includes abandoned Pueblo Indian communities as well as some which have survived the passage of centuries still retaining a clear identity, and it embraces the forgotten past of a Pleistocene migration and the globally envied consumerism of a society fixated on fast food, fast cars and high fashion. The meeting of the European and Native cultures in North America began in much the same way as colonization anywhere. However, the result of the "encuentro" in what we now define as the United States was different than the experience elsewhere. A process of cultural syncretism began. The Puritans, settling on the east coast, were escaping Europe and embarking on a journey of purposeful transformation. They maintained their protestant ethic and brought with them their entire families, not overtly mixing with the indigenous populations, but absorbing and adapting from them. The Spanish, on the other hand, approaching from the south, and carrying with them the deep, Roman Catholic religious

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values of Iberia, had completely different goals and experiences. They entered the southwest in search of precious ores and, when these envisioned riches of the area did not materialize, instead embarked on a mission of evangelization of the native populations. Only small groups of families arrived through the centuries to make the region their home. With varying degrees of success they implanted their values (and their material culture) along the way. Though many of the values took hold, the physical reflections of them were clearly subsumed by indigenous traditions, in what we now consider the southwest part of the United States. Baroque spired, airy and monumental dressed stone churches made it as far as northern Mexico. North of the Rio Grande, the churches were built lower, smaller, made of adobe, and decidedly reflective of the indigenous Puebloan architecture. Not even the sophisticated French, arriving later and having the advantage of the Spaniards' coattails, could overcome the local vernacular. The eastern Anglo settlers began their push westward in what is certainly one of the defining experiences in the history of the United States - the expansion into the trans-Mississippi west. It was the amplitude of space in which to move that, more then anything else, reaffirmed our sense of individual independence, self assurance and manifest destiny. The period is characterized by the exploits of Indian scouts, trappers, horse soldiers, placer miners, ranchers and homesteaders. On their heels came the railroad, another adventure in expansionism and an exigency that transformed the landscape once again. Meanwhile, a national capital was designed and built in Washington D.C., a secessionist war was fought, black citizens were freed from centuries of slavery, and tens of thousands of Chinese were imported for cheap labor. And all of this is but a small part of the mix. Today and Tomorrow As we find ourselves at the beginning of a new millennium, the United States is going through incredibly rapid changes, as are most countries throughout the world. This "fast-track" in change has been propelled by communication (computers, internet, telephones); transportation (planes, bullet trains, automobiles); and international economic trade agreements, to name just a few factors. Impacts from these changes will be looked back on as a major milepost in the history of world cultures, whether good, bad or both.

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In the United States, population shifts are taking place at very fast rates: people from many of the eastern and mid-western cities are moving to previously untouched open space in the west, thus changing the cultural landscape in abrupt, often times, shocking ways. California, once looked upon as the Utopia of America, is losing populations because of economic imbalance and natural disasters. Immigration to the United States has been shifting from European stock to Latin American, bringing with it changes in language, customs, and layout of communities. For better or worse, the realization that the United States is imparting its cultural products and values on the rest of the world's population needs to be taken into account when we talk about what has integrity and authenticity. The "real thing" used as a logo by Coca Cola, is indeed everywhere, whether we like it or not. We must always take in consideration these rapid changes in today's society when looking at the uniqueness, or commonalities of "authenticity" in the United States with other countries. What was authentic yesterday, can be very different from what we consider authentic today and in the centuries to come. III. An Expanding Definition of Heritage The recognition of cultural landscapes, vernacular architecture, historic towns, and ethnographic resources as important heritage resources has gained momentum in the last decade in the United States concurrent with a similar interest in many other countries (Conzen 1990; Lee 1992; von Droste, et.al.1995). In response, the definition of cultural properties has been expanded to include a diverse array of resources. The National Register of Historic Places includes a wide variety of such resources within its over 65,000 listings of buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. The preamble of the National Historic Preservation Act, which authorized the expansion of the National Register, emphasizes that historic properties should be preserved as living parts of our communities to give a sense of orientation to the American people.

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INTERAMERICAN SYMPOSIUM ON AUTHENTICITY
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Acknowledgement of this diversity of resources, however, has raised questions about the assessment of authenticity. These questions result primarily from the inclusion of a broader range of cultural values and the dynamic nature of heritage associated with continuity of cultural use. Definition of Authenticity The current Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention define authenticity in terms of "design, material, workmanship or setting and in the case of cultural landscapes their distinctive character and components" (UNESCO 1994). In the United States, the term "integrity" is generally used in place of authenticity and is defined as "the ability of a property to convey its significance" (U. S. Department of the Interior 1991 ). In the United States, seven qualities - design, materials, workmanship, setting, location, feeling, and association - define integrity. In the United States, evaluation of integrity, using the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, is based on the significance of a property, how its distinguishing characteristics relate to its significance, and how change over time has affected those characteristics. It is important to note that in this country, the characteristics of a cultural property can include physical features, processes (such as land use), as well as associated values held by cultural groups. Ultimately, integrity is judged by the degree to which the characteristics that define and represent the property's significance are retained. Integrity of physical qualities of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship are judged along with the less tangible qualities of feeling and association. The relative value of each of the qualities of integrity or authenticity is based on the significance-- why, where, and when a property is important. Guidelines in the United States make clear that only after significance is fully established can authenticity or integrity be assessed. The guidelines for applying the criteria acknowledge that all properties change over time and that to maintain authenticity, a historic property must retain the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historic identity in representing some important aspect of history or culture. The essential physical features are those that define both why a property is significant (applicable criteria and areas of significance) and when it was important (period of significance). By specifically documenting the criteria, areas of significance, and dates or period of significance, it is possible to judge integrity by identifying

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physical features and associative values that contribute to its significance and must remain intact to convey those values (U. S. Department of the Interior 1991). Determining whether a building or a bridge is a fine example of a type, period or method of construction whose importance is in architecture or engineering or evaluating authenticity for the site of a one time event is much easier than judging authenticity for a historic rural landscape or a place with traditional cultural values that have continued and evolved over time all the way to the present. For such a place, the period of significance may extend to the present, so that more recent changes do not diminish its authenticity, provided its essential identity is maintained. Like any kind of heritage resource, a rural historic district or a traditional cultural property may lose its authenticity through, for example, changes in land use or gradual loss of historic buildings and other features over time. Alteration of the setting or environment may cause those who once valued a traditional cultural place to abandon traditional use or to no longer regard it as important in the retention or transmittal of a belief or the performance of a practice (Parker and King 1990). Linking Values. Authenticity. and Management Linking the basis for significance of a property to those characteristics that "carry... significance and define the character of the cultural landscape" has recently been further articulated in a report for Parks Canada on the Rideau Canal Cultural Landscape (Institute for Heritage Education 1994). The methodology used in this project directly links the values of the cultural landscape to the analysis of authenticity, creating an evaluation process that responds to the site's cultural context and considers site-specific factors. Importantly, this methodology can also guide the conservation program. The following examples represent the three categories of cultural landscapes described in the Operational Guidelines for the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO 1994). These examples briefly illustrate the linkage between identification of significant values and the evaluation of authenticity, and are meant to serve as illustrations of the principles discussed in this paper. Designed landscapes include a wide array of landscapes such as historic gardens, public parks, estates, cemeteries, parkways, and city plans. These landscapes are similar to other cultural monuments and, in fact, historic gardens were recognized as monuments in the Florence Charter ( 1982). The significance of
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designed landscapes, as with other monuments, is primarily related to the artistic value of their design as well as their workmanship, materials, and setting. Thus an authenticity assessment should focus on those characteristics that embody the design values. In assessing integrity, the designed landscape can, in general, be compared to the landscape at the time it was created. The impact of alterations made since then are judged in the integrity analysis. If change has been so great that the landscape no longer conveys the historic design, then integrity would be substantially diminished and the property would not be significant (Keller et al.1987). However, there are designed landscapes where alterations to an original design have significance themselves. For example, at Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge, Massachusetts) the multiple layers of design history represented on the landscape contribute to its significance (Berg 1992). Analyses therefore must consider all significant layers of history in the gauging of authenticity. Alterations may be necessary to perpetuate the historic use of a designed landscape. For example, in Central Park (New York City), modifications to the historic design and to individual features may be needed to respond to changing patterns of urban recreation (Rogers 1987). On the Blue Ridge Parkway (in Tennessee and North Carolina), alterations to the historic design may become necessary to meet modern safety standards (Firth 1992). In these cases, the authenticity evaluation should consider the retention of important design values as well as the more intangible value of continuity of historic use. Assessing the impact of change on a landscape's authenticity is particularly challenging for the World Heritage category of continuing landscapes (Cameron 1993). These landscapes, by definition, express many layers of history, and traditional land use often continues to shape the landscape today. The significance of these landscapes is often related to the continuity of cultural systems and associated traditional uses or beliefs; thus these characteristics are important when assessing landscape authenticity. In many continuing landscapes, the traditional activities such as agriculture, mining or fishing created the pattern of land use that is characteristic of the landscape (McClelland et al.1990; Mitchell and Page 1990). Interwoven with the economic and social systems, these traditional activities may, together with continuity of use, be among the most important characteristics in an authenticity evaluation. Boxley Valley, a traditional agricultural settlement in Buffalo National River in Arkansas, is one such example. In the integrity evaluation, loss or alteration of individual features was less important

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than the overall structure and character of the landscape and the on-going role of the agriculture in the life of the seven-mile long valley community (Webb 1987). In associative landscapes that reflect traditional cultural values, the most important parameter of authenticity may be whether or not the property retains its association with the culture and its role in their practices or beliefs (Parker 1993). In the United States, for example, traditional cultural properties derive their significance &from "the role that the property plays in a community's historically rooted beliefs, customs, and practices" (Parker and King 1990). These places, such as "sacred sites" of American Indian tribes, are often important in maintaining the cultural identify of the community. Blue Lake, for example, provides the primary source of water for the Taos Pueblo (in New Mexico) and is also the "sacred center of the tribal life" (Gordon-McCutchan 1991 ). In some cases, these landscapes can retain their cultural significance in spite of substantial modification if, in the view of associated cultural group, the associative value is intact. IV. Position Recognizing that the cultural experience of the United States is at once ancient (as evidenced by sites occupied 10,000 years ago) and relatively young (having only with the last twenty years celebrated its bicentennial as an independent nation), and noting that we are many peoples, diverse in our heritage but joined in the predominance of our aspirations, we offer that authenticity in the conservation of our cultural legacy cannot be separated from the living attributes of our cultures which are in a constant state of decline and rebirth, and that our approach be characterized by acknowledging that: our uniqueness is only the uniqueness of circumstances;.

y

2 this uniqueness is reflected through the layering of cultures, and that the physical as well as the living manifestations of these cultures have many forms and many identities; 3. the protection of a living culture which surrounds and uses cultural properties, whether static or dynamic, is fundamentally more important that the properties themselves;

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4. a conservative standard in matters relative to archaeological sites, monumental architecture, and other properties generally associated with specific dates and interpreted for those associations, is generally appropriate; 5. there is a broad continuum from resources which are relatively static or erudite (such as archeological sites, structures with unequivocal national and human importance, and monuments celebrating persons and events) to those which are dynamic (such as cultural landscapes, urban and rural districts, traditional cultural properties, and vernacular buildings which transform over time as a function of use and emerging cultural identity, and homes and communities which celebrate a profound past but whose occupants have requirements to meet today's standard of living); 6. all periods of use may be inherently important, including the present and the future because our culture, as all cultures past and present are changing, and change is a valid reflection of experience. To ensure recognition of all values inherent in any historic place, a careful assessment is needed to determine which characteristics are essential to maintain its significance. Those characteristics hold its authenticity as a reflection of some important aspect of our history and culture. Responsible management decisions for heritage resources that are preserved as living parts of communities need to protect those important characteristics and recognize the dynamism inherent with continuity of use. V. Conclusion With a broadened definition of cultural heritage, the diversity of values and the dynamic nature of many cultural properties test the established approach for evaluation of the authentic. The traditional focus on material authenticity is appropriate for certain cultural properties which are more static with persistent materials but proves insufficient for heritage whose significance derives from dynamic processes and associated cultural values as well as physical features. It is therefore important that the existing test of authenticity expand to encompass new aspects and a wider range of values. These additional aspects of authenticity related to use and function, tradition and technique, and spirit and feeling will allow consideration of these significant characteristics in the evaluation process (Stovel 1994; Larsen 1995). This test of authenticity with an expanded range of aspects respects the world's diversity

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of cultural heritage and its full spectrum of values, and sets the stage for the conservation of those values. Literature Cited Berg, Shary Page.1992. "Approaches to Landscape Preservation Treatment At Mount Auburn Cemetery." APT Bulletin, The Journal of Preservation Technolo, vol. 24, no. 3-4: 52-58. Cameron, Christina.1993. "The Challenges of Historic Corridors." Cultural Resources Management, Thematic Issue, vol.16, no.1 l: 5-7, 60. Conzen, Michael P., ed.1990. The Making of the American Landscape. Boston: Unwin Hyman. Firth, Ian J. W.1992. "The Blue Ridge Parkway Historic Resources Study." Unpublished draft. Gordon-McCutchan, R.C.1991. The Taos Indians and the Battle for Blue Lake. Santa Fe: Red Crane Books. Institute for Heritage Education,1994. "Evaluating Cultural Landscapes." Unpublished draft of a study for Parks Canada of the Rideau Canal as a Cultural Landscape. Keller, J. Timothy, and Genevieve P. Keller.1987. National Register Bulletin 18: How to Evaluate and Nominate Designed Historic Landscapes. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources Division.** Larsen, Knut Einar, ed.1995. Nara Conference on Authenticity in relation to the World Heritage Corrvention, November I-6,1994, Nara, Japan. Trondheim, Norway: Tapir Publishers in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Japan Agency for Cultural Afúairs, ICCROM, and ICOMOS. Lee, Antoinette, ed. I 992. Past Meets Future, Savin America s Historic Environments. Washingto, D.C.: The Preservation Press. McClelland, Linda Flint, J. Timothy Keller, Genevieve P. Keller and Robert Z. Melnick.1990. National Register Bulletin 30: Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscapes. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources Division. * * Mitchell, Nora J., and Robert R. Page.1993. "Managing the Past for the Future: The Stewardship of America's Landscape Legacy." Historic Preservation Forum, vol. 7, no. 3: 46-61. Page, Robert R., ed.1990. Cultural Resources Management, vol.14, no. 6. * Parker, Patricia L., ed.1993. "Traditional Cultural Properties." Cultural Resources Management , vol.16, Special Issue. *

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Parker, Patricia L., and Thomas F. King.1990. National Register Bulletin 38: Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional Cultural Properties. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources Division.** Rogers, Elizabeth Barlow.1987. Rebuilding Central Park: A Management and Restoration Plan. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Stovel, Herb.1994. "Notes on Aspects of Authenticity, Reflections from the Bergen Meeting." in Conference on Authenticity in Relation to the World Heritage Convention, Preparatory Workshop, Bergen, Norway, 31 Jarruary-2 February. Knut Einar Larsen and Nils Marstein (eds.) Norway: Riksantikvaren,121-125. Tishler, William H., .ed.1989. American Landscape Architecture: Designers and Places. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press. UNESCO.1994. Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Paris. U. S. Department of the Interior.1991. National Register Bulletin I5: Haw to Apply National Register Criteria for Evaluation. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources Division. * * U.S. National Park Service.1994. Management Guideline for Cultural Resources, NPS 28. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. von Droste, Bernd, Harald Plachter, and Mechtild Rossler, eds.1995. Cultural Landscapes of Universal Value. Jena, Stuttgart, New York: Gustav Fischer Verlag in cooperation with UNESCO. Webb, Melody.1987. "Cultural Landscapes in the National Park Service." The Public Historian , vol. 9, no. 2: 77-89. * Back issues of Cultural Resources Management may be obtained by writing to Editor, CRM (400), U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Cultural Resources Division, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127. **Copies of National Register Bulletins referenced here and others on a variety of historic property types may be obtained by writing to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.

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