Posted February 24, 2009
THE POWER OF THE PAST
The power of the past to inspire and enlighten is evident in the extreme efforts the Iraqi government has made to reopen their National Museum this week. Many parts of Baghdad still are without reliable electricity or even a working sewer, yet tremendous efforts have been made to reopen the museum so that Iraq’s national treasures (those that have not been looted) can be shared with the people of Iraq and with the world. Check out this article from the New York Times for more details: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/world/middleeast/24museum.html?_r=1&th&emc=th
This should put into perspective the Ohio Historic Preservation Office’s efforts to have historic preservation projects considered for the federal stimulus funding that is coming to Ohio. Some people might regard using a little of the stimulus money for restoring historic buildings and monuments or for conducting a geophysical survey of the Newark Earthworks as frivolous, but investing in our heritage is vital to our sense of identity and our understanding of who we are and where we’ve come from. History teaches us that our ancestors survived a Civil War and a Great Depression. Archaeology teaches us that ancient Ohioans survived episodes of global climate change and catastrophic droughts. Each generation has faced and overcome formidable challenges. If they could do it, then there is hope that we can overcome the great challenges we now face. There are other reasons for supporting the plan to invest in Ohio’s past. The Newark Earthworks, along with Fort Ancient, Serpent Mound, and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, soon are to be nominated to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Within the next few years, Ohio is likely to become a tourist destination for the world! Supporting projects that will enhance the experience of visitors to these places makes good economic sense. People coming from the other side of the planet to visit the earthworks might well be interested in seeing other points of interest while they’re here. (I know from long experience, for example, that many of the folks that come to the Newark Earthworks also want to go see the Longaberger Company’s home office. If visitors stay in local hotels for a week instead of a couple of days, that translates into a significant boost for local economies. Support the investment in Ohio’s heritage!