This lecture is part of the National Council for Preservation Education meeting held July 15-16, 2014 in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Technology, Preservation Education, and Managing Change in the Alamo by Carolina Manrique and Robert Warden, Texas A&M University
Managing change constitutes a key concern in order to address uncertainties associated with economic fluctuations, political instabilities, environmental hazards, climate change, etc., in heritage sites. Approaches to deal with uncertainty have evolved with the development of knowledge in each discipline and with the cross disciplinary efforts to establish new links and insights. Technological innovations provide increasing opportunities for recording, documenting and monitoring material change in heritage sites. However, integrating the information obtained from these resources and transforming data into knowledge to improve preservation efforts constitutes the challenge today. This challenge is embraced by preservation education in order to provide the insights towards a new era for managing change in heritage sites.
This conference paper presentation, aims to contribute towards understanding the role of current developments in documentation, recording and monitoring technologies in the emerging efforts in preservation education towards managing change in heritage sites. The development of a preservation management model for the Alamo historic mission (San Antonio, Texas) using cutting-edge documentation equipment and computer-aided design software by a team from the Center for Heritage Conservation (CHC) at Texas A&M University in collaboration with other institutions is presented. The CHC leads the effort to create digital models to track erosion due to rainwater and the effects of temperature changes on the structure, reconstructing how the Alamo existed in three representative historical periods (1836, 1885 and 1961), and providing a database to help keep track of preservation work and maintenance issues currently in development.
The Alamo is used as a case example in order to show how state of the art preservation technology enhances the capabilities for managing change in heritage sites and contributes towards developing new trends in preservation education that, on one hand, embrace tangible remains as dynamic and prone to continuous reinterpretation, and on the other hand, recognize an increasing role of digital resources as improving the public accessibility to heritage knowledge and triggering the potentiality for integration of developing technologies in diverse disciplines.
A discussion introducing the preservation technologies relevant to recording, documenting and monitoring used in the Alamo is performed in order to establish a state of art and the contributions of this particular case. The various preservation technologies involved are then explained as integrated within the preservation management model developed, and their role in providing new opportunities for managing change and expanding the impact of preservation education is explained.