In historic preservation, it’s good to let the future people who come along know that you have been there in some way. To leave a paper trail, document with drawings and photographs, even physically leaving a small mark – at least I believe that!
In the vein of leaving a mark and marking history and when something happened, I asked all the MMA employees last week to “sign” the new concrete ramp that the mason created between the two basements in the Research Center – you know that three-foot thick piece of concrete? Well now, it’s a perfect doorway with a great ramp for moving collections back and forth! It also allows us to maintain the two old basement staircases from the 1920s and 1930s.
So, everyone showed up at 1:30 and patiently tried to write their names in wet concrete that was made with a heavier mixture to offer a non-slip surface. Added to that, I wrote MMA and 2017.
The other influence in this “marking for the future people who come along” is the fact that I distinctly remember my Dad doing this when they poured the concrete floor of the garage addition at our house that also had a second floor apartment for my Nana. Bent over the wet concrete in his old Air Force khakis and white t-shirt – his working outside wear of my youth – he carved out all of our names – Jack, Melodee, Jascin, Jarrod, Sahsha, Gloria, Greta. Sahsha was our Siberian Husky and Great was my Nana’s (Gloria) Miniature Schnauzer. Our house is now owned by a woman who worked for my Dad for many years – I consider that still in the family – and our names are still there.
Everyone leaves a mark – we are all just the shepherds of the houses we live in and the buildings we work in. It’s our responsibility to take care of them properly and pass them along to the next owners. We are just stewards – it really is never ours.