Fayetteville — Last May, the Washington County Historical Society won an Award for Excellence in Heritage Preservation from the Arkansas Preserve for its promotion using political campaign-style signage and electronic media.
A month-long celebration in May called “The Significance of This Place in Washington County” promotes historic preservation, raises awareness, and provides public and social outreach to many of Washington County’s historic sites and homes. It was born out of an idea of how to show the importance of starting a good conversation. , bridges, roads, and even phone booths on the Arkansas and National Register of Historic Places.
In the past month, a 5-day “restoration period” sign was placed on Facebook at the historic site, resulting in over 75,975 views of hits on the Washington County Historical Society’s Facebook page and a month of yielded an additional 327 different shares.
More than 160 historic sites in Washington County are listed on the National Register. Using a simple 18 x 24 inch weatherproof campaign yard sign, imprinted with the “This Place Matters” orange balloon logo, the circular Washington County Historical Society logo, and a small text box, each sign reading: It is written like Historic Preservation Month. The Washington County Historical Society wants the public to see this historic site in the county. These historic sites are located on both public and private land.
The 31 signs were distributed at 31 different locations within the county.
Volunteers set up signs and took pictures at designated locations. The sign he left May 31 and was recovered after June 1 and reused in the future. Some of the signs and pictures were ‘selfies’, others were pictures of buildings and she already had one volunteer holding the sign. All sites were posted with a prominent “This Place Matters” sign in the photo.
One sign was not posted. Access to Blackburn Cemetery was not available due to a locked gate. Commissioner Mayron Rice said it’s a sad reality that not all historic buildings in Arkansas are easily accessible or open to the public.
Another “This Place Matters” sign is placed on the grounds of the nearly demolished St. Joseph Catholic Church in Tontitown, reminding the historic church that only its freestanding bell tower remains It was something.
“This sign is one of the most shared entries on the WCHS Facebook page,” Rice says.
“This Place Matters” signs were also placed near the historic bridge and near the Airlight Outdoor Phone Booth in Prairie Grove. The phone booth was flooded with many likes, additional stories, and even old personal photos attached to his Facebook comments.
The intention of this program was to use less than 250-300 words for each site.
National registry page descriptions, the Arkansas Encyclopedia, and other sources were used to provide the narrative.
Each day in May, a photo and a short description (limited to 250 words) used to describe the location were posted to Instagram and the Washington County Historical Society Facebook page. These posts brought many local untold stories, memories, and questions about preservation, and continued the debate as to why ‘this place matters in Washington County.
The Washington County Historical Society plans to continue the program during National Historic Preservation Month this May.