6 Tips to Document Historic Details Before They Disappear
6 Tips to
DOCUMENT HISTORIC DETAILS
BEFORE THEY DISAPPEAR
1. Prepare yourself
Think to yourself, “What will be lost?
What materials have been used?
Where are the visible signs of
craftsmanship? What do I think is
important to remember?”
2. Think worst-
If you feel confident a structure
will stand for eternity, or that if
disaster struck someone else
could save the day, a lot of
important historic features and
architectural elements could be
gone for good.
3. Learn how to
Start with the big picture. Next,
take detail shots. Try to capture
details head on—shooting from
an angle or trying to be artsy
warps perspective and can lead
to a false interpretation.
4. Write it down.
If you are familiar with architectural terms, that’s great—otherwise, be as descriptive
as you can when documenting interior configuration, construction materials, etc. Even
describing something intangible like the atmosphere of a place can be helpful.
5. Test your math skills.
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of simple addition. Grab a rigid ruler (soft ones
stretch out over time, so measurements won’t be accurate), measure what might
not be saved, and then write it down.
6. Trust your gut.
Things you may believe to be
insignificant usually won’t be. If
they are—no harm done!
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit SavingPlaces.org.
Billy Wilson/Flickr/CC BY-NC-2.0;
Archigeek/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0; Everyman
Films LTD/Flickr/CC BY-2.0; Bruce
Aldridge/Flickr/CC BY-SA-2.0; 8 Kome/Flickr/CC
BY-NC-ND-2.0; Gatanass/Flickr/CC BY-SA-2.0;
Wayne Stadler/Flickr/CC BY-NC-2.0.