When we study a certain subject or read about a specific period of time, we tend to seek visual information. Normally this will be achieved by paintings and photographs, but nothing can be compared to having physical contact with the place in question. It’s understandable that the world is constantly changing and it is a given that it affects our day-to-day lives, so the preserved locations are usually monuments and venues that hold important historical context. I personally think that preserving houses and the contents inside it are just as relevant.
Being able to visit properties – great or small – gives us an understanding of our society that can be more accessible than any reading material. Some people are no avid readers, and end up visiting these locations out of curiosity with no previous knowledge. It also applies to younger generations; children who would not yet be inclined to seek for such places on their own, but once they are exposed to a pleasant experience along with their families, it can have an important impact on their lives.
Globalisation has its good and bad aspects. Cultures become intertwined and individuals are more inclined to accept what was once a reality too far from their own. However, sacrificing a country’s identity in order to catch up with other locations brings no benefits to its own integrity. We ought to preserve our identity in order to understand our history, which is essential to comprehend our present and improve our future. Making history accessible raises awareness to the importance of this matter while certifying the value of our heritage.
A single building may seem bleak before you experience what’s inside. Every house tells the story of those who built it and the ones who lived there. An architect’s work is immortalised by their design, and much of what inspired them can speak for that period of time and the goals it aimed to achieve. How certain objects were placed and the use of each room gives us an insight of how one lived their everyday life in decades or centuries past – and when applied to a large group of people, we get to know what may have shaped a whole community.
The great works of art kept within Kenwood House’s walls could have been transferred to a larger museum, but the beautiful designs by Robert Adam as well as a the life once led by the Murray family would have been partially lost. Keats House was never his own, but the months the poet spent in that location were crucial to his work and personal life. We can all read about it, but why not stand where he was stood and let those rooms inspire us with the happy and sad moments employed in that house. Even a staged property such as Dennis Severn’s House, carefully created to present how a Victorian household would have functioned, will give the visitor a more thoroughly understanding of our past as well as an experience that words could not provide.
For these and other reasons, I urge every person to cherish the locations we have inherited and understand their value. We should stand against developments that endanger this legacy and guarantee that generations to come can no only savour what we have but also continue to preserve our heritage, perpetuating the very essence of our society’s foundation and the memory of those who took part in it.