Some 50 exhibitors from the public, private and non-profit sectors provided information about the role of historic preservation as an important element of community interaction and quality of life, as well as demonstrated the importance of historic preservation to elected officials as they consider preservation legislation.
“It’s inspiring to visit the exhibits and meet those individuals who are dedicated to protect and preserve historical properties, cultural sites, and sacred places,” said Representative Cindy Evans, chair of the state legislature’s Heritage Caucus. “This day is an opportunity for the public, organizations and individuals active in preservation, and the legislature to come together and celebrate our heritage.”
A special exhibit was used to gather public input to the Hawai‘i Preservation Plan, by asking community members their priorities for historic and cultural resource protection and policies. The “Speak Out” booth solicited input for the State’s policy document that is being developed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to serve as a five year plan for statewide preservation efforts.
In addition to the Speak Out booth, other organizations also showcased their efforts to celebrate and support various aspects of preservation.
“Historic Preservation Awareness Day is part of the collaborative effort to demonstrate the range of business, education, advocacy and arts organizations engaged in preserving Hawaii’s historic and cultural resources,” said Kiersten Faulkner, executive director of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.
“As preservationists, many of us speak often about community character and quality of life benefits that come from preserving Hawaii’s historic, architectural and cultural heritage. But in these times of difficult economic decisions and competing values, that isn’t enough. It is increasingly important to demonstrate that preservation offers measurable economic impacts,” Faulkner said.
“There is a direct link between investing in historic properties and the economic return for both property owners and government. Historic preservation is a powerful economic engine. The exhibitors at Historic Preservation Awareness Day all contribute to these industries in various ways. They not only preserve Hawaii’s heritage, they also contribute to its bottom line. We are pleased to be able to use this opportunity to demonstrate the broad scope and deep value that they provide,” Faulkner added.
The annual event started in 2002 as an activity of the Legislature’s Heritage Caucus, founded by Representatives Corinne Ching and Cindy Evans, as a bi-cameral, bi-partisan group of legislators working to preserve and promote Hawaii’s cultural heritage. Historic Hawai‘i Foundation became a co-sponsor and principal organizer in 2006. The event is also sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.