Day: September 21, 2015


Walking through autobiography

Friday evening I was at the Grey Barn and Farm on Martha’s Vineyard listening to Presidential historian Michael Beschloss. I was there in my role at the National Trust for Historic Preservation with a group from the National Trust Council and special guests from the region. Beschloss – in speaking to the importance of preserving the places where history happened – made two points that spoke directly to our last four days of touring, learning, and generally soaking in as many new experiences as possible. First he noted that in seeing places where people lived in the past, “You are walking through their autobiography.” Beschloss added – as a good historian should – that is was important to try with all your might to “get the interpretation – the story – right.” On my first visit to Martha’s Vineyard, I hoped to gain an understanding of the many layers of history where the autobiographies are derived from its past as Native American settlement, a working whaling port, Victorian resort, a vacation refuge for African-American professional …