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historic preservation



  • Part of Vasari Corridor roof collapses in Florence

    Emergency restoration work started today on a section of Florence’s famous Vasari Corridor, after some plaster and tiles fell from the roof on Friday. The damage occurred in the section of the raised corridor that passes next to the church of Santa Felicita, just over the Ponte Vecchio, on the south side of the river Arno.It is reported that no one was hurt, and museum professionals are already establishing the best course of action to restore the damage to the building. Around ten portraits have been removed from the walls as a precaution while restoration work begins, but the popular tourist site will remain open.Coincidentally, the same portion of the corridor was due to be closed most of next month while curators install a series of self-portraits of 20th-century and contemporary artists for an exhibition that is scheduled to open at the end of September....



  • Saving Lahore’s fabled walled city

    Down the muddy monsoon-soaked path and through the towering red brick Delhi Gate of Lahore’s fabled walled city, there is an ambitious project to turn back decades of neglect and unchecked commercialization and save the city’s remaining treasures.The area is abuzz with labourers digging up the roads. Already, workers for the conservation project have demolished a cloth market and a line of shops that was built against a 17th-century mosque, damaging its facade and structure.For a city more than 1,000 years old, a powerful conservation effort of this kind – backed by political will, money and restoration expertise is critical....



  • Sign by sign, history is told on London's walls

    LONDON — Not that it is unusual to see shabby old buildings being gutted by construction workers in a rapidly gentrifying area of east London like Hackney Road, but I felt a pang of regret when I spotted them starting work on one last week. I wasn’t concerned about its architecture, which is much the same as that of any of the other 19th-century terraced houses in the neighborhood, but about the signage.“To all responsible person” is painted in big black letters on the front of the building, and a description of a locksmith and safe maker is engraved on the side wall. “John Tann’s Reliance Locks, Fire & Burglarproof, Safes, Iron Doors,” it begins. Both signs have long outlived their usefulness: like the missing “s” at the end of “person,” Tann’s workshop disappeared decades ago.Will those signs survive the house’s renovation? I doubt it. The only reason they are still there is because the building has been neglected for so long, and was not deemed to be worth repairing or rebuilding until recently. Yet if the signs are removed, the neighborhood will be the poorer, having lost part of its character and some poignant symbols of its history....



  • WWII tanks roll in western France ... again

    SAUMUR, France – On a quiet Friday afternoon in western France, German Panzer tanks rolled out at a quick pace. They didn’t go unchallenged. They were met by British Stuart and American Sherman tanks, as well as some impressive armored vehicles that once packed plenty of firepower.That isn’t a description of a battle that happened 70 years ago, but of a mock battle that went down here on Friday and Saturday. It was a part of the annual two-day Carrousel de Saumur, the highlight of which was a 45-minute demonstration of tanks and armored vehicles on the big field at Ecoles Militaires de Saumur.... [Pics follow in original story]



  • Anger over Bothwell Bridge battle site building plan

    A PLANNED housing development on the site of a 17th-century battlefield is an “insult” to the soldiers who lost their lives there, critics have said. Cala Homes wants to move a war memorial and build a multi-million-pound estate on Covenanters’ Field in Bothwell, Lanarkshire. There are plans for 15 homes on the site of the 1679 Battle of Bothwell Bridge.But the move has drawn fierce protests from objectors, who claim it would be an “act of desecration” at an important historic site.Ten objections have been lodged so far, with some from as far afield as the United States....



  • Rescuing the farm where Wellington won the battle of Waterloo

    In an isolated corner of bucolic Belgium, down a dusty track that cuts through great fields of lettuce and shivering wheat, stands the farm that won Waterloo. Of the 170,000 people who visit the battlefield each year, few find their way to this particular spot. Fat wood pigeons coo undisturbed from the crumbling walls. The view across the miles of rolling fields over which Napoleon launched waves of attacks, is unspoilt by any building. The only sound of modern life is the faint roar of a motorway, hidden by a bank of trees.Hougoumont is largely unchanged from where, on Sunday June 18, 1815, it was the centre of action throughout the Battle of Waterloo. Of the tens of thousands who died that day, 6,500 men were killed, or suffered terrible injuries, at Hougoumont. Many were dumped in a mass grave there to deter thieves....



  • Road through Roman history creates colossal headache

    ROME — Via dei Fori Imperiali, a multilane artery running through the heart of Rome, is typically a frenzy of swerving Vespas, zipping Smart cars and honking Fiat taxis.But Mayor Ignazio Marino is seeking to transform the avenue to something calmer, where Gucci loafers and sensible sneakers would rule.Mr. Marino’s plan to ban private traffic on the roadway, which bisects a vast archaeological site, from the central Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum, has prompted grousing and histrionic debate over a project that conservators say would solidify the world’s largest urban archaeological area.This being Rome, the first high-impact initiative of his seven-week-old administration, which goes into effect on Saturday, has provoked its share of unfavorable comparisons with the overweening ambitions of emperors past. “The mayor’s job is not to pass into history, but to work for his citizens,” said Luciano Canfora, a professor of classics at the University of Bari. “We already had Nero, that’s more than enough.”...



  • Artifacts from Virginia-area museums in running for top 10 ‘endangered’ designation

    RICHMOND, Va. — At the William King Museum in the heart of Appalachia, a panel of 16 small paintings depicting water mills along the region’s landscape is deteriorating, and along with it, important chronicles of southwest Virginia’s rural culture.The series of canvases taped to flimsy wood paneling is flaking and curators at the Abingdon museum are hoping to conserve it through a program has helped some of those previously involved apply for grants and help with fundraising efforts....



  • Library of Congress races to preserve TV history

    (CBS News) CULPEPER, Va. -- There are moments that define America, and the record of many of them are stored in a vault in Culpeper, Va.But these videotapes, some 50 years old, are deteriorating, and there is a race to preserve the history they contain."I think an important thing is to capture people's memories, to take people back to the day when they first saw Carol Burnett tug on her ear, or the day when Walter Cronkite couldn't hardly finish his sentence in November 1963, when Kennedy was shot," says Rob Stone, the Moving Image Curator of the Library of Congress....



  • OKC Historian Fights To Save Old Film Exchange Building

    OKLAHOMA CITY - The fight to save an historic building downtown is beginning to gain some steam.The old Film Exchange building is set to be demolished, but a local historian is fighting to keep it. The plan is to make way for the new $130-million 70-acre central park planned downtown.There's a couple of things that the MAPS planning committee is going to want for this building to have a future. It has to work within the scope of the original plan, and somebody has to pay for it to be renovated.It's the beginning of what supporters believe could be a long fight to keep an historic piece of downtown Oklahoma City....



  • Museum Relaunches Wooden Whaler Built in 1841

    MYSTIC, Conn. — A national historic landmark slowly slid into the water on Sunday, to cannon fire and the cheers of thousands of spectators on land and in boats.After nearly five years, about $7 million and a painstaking restoration by more than 60 people, the Charles W. Morgan, believed to be the last surviving wooden whaling vessel in the world, was again afloat — 172 years after its construction.“Once it’s floating, it’s alive again,” said Quentin Snediker, the director of the shipyard at the Mystic Seaport museum, who was in charge of the restoration....



  • National Trust for Historic Preservation moving to Watergate

    WASHINGTON — The National Trust for Historic Preservation was looking for a building with a story to it, and it found one — the Watergate.In February, the trust — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect historical buildings — announced that it was selling its Dupont Circle headquarters, which was built in 1917 and once served as a luxury apartment building for the likes of then-Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon.The search began for another historical building in town, and the group announced last month that it had settled on the Watergate office building, home to Washington’s most famous burglary....