Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being
by Thompson M. Mayes
The Providence Preservation Society and Books on the Square present Thompson M. Mayes reading and discussing his book Why Old Places Matter on Friday, January 25th at 7:00 p.m.
Thompson Mayes presents the case for being loyal to places we love. Actually, he makes the case for falling in love and remaining true through a series of thoughtful and stimulating essays. Rome is Mayes’ muse. One of the world’s oldest and most significant cities, Rome provides the inspiration for his clarion call for preservation. The interdisciplinary community of the American Academy in Rome, where Mayes was a Fellow, enriches his deep grounding in the historic preservation institutions built heritage of the United States. Mayes’ essays are lively and full of insight and hope. Why Old Places Matter is essential reading for anyone engaged in the design or planning of the built environment.—Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor, Co-Director, The Ian L. McHarg Center: Urbanism + Ecology, University of Pennsylvania
Why Old Places Matter is the only book that explores the reasons that old places matter to people. Although people often feel very deeply about the old places of their lives, they don’t have the words to express why. This book brings these ideas together in evocative language and with illustrative images for a broad audience.
The book reveals the fundamentally important yet under-recognized role old places play in our lives. While many people feel a deep-seated connection to old places -- from those who love old houses, to the millions of tourists who are drawn to historic cities, to the pilgrims who flock to ancient sites throughout the world -- few can articulate why. The book explores these deep attachments people have with old places –the feelings of belonging, continuity, stability, identity and memory, as well as the more traditional reasons that old places have been deemed by society to be important, such as history, national identity, and architecture.
Thompson McCord Mayes, vice president and senior counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has spent his professional career preserving old places. In 2013, Tom was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in Historic Preservation by the American Academy in Rome, and subsequently spent a six-month residency in Rome as a Fellow of the Academy. The essays that are collected in this publication came about as a result of that experience. They were previously published in 2014 and 2015 as a series on the National Trust’s Preservation Leadership Forum Blog, http://blog.preservation leadershipforum.org.