Guest Blog: Jason Norris

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Preserve Durham 

Guest Post By:

Jason Norris

Hello, my name is Jason Norris and I am going into my second year in the Public History Master’s program at North Carolina State University. Thus far I have focused primarily on heritage studies, though I do eventually want to get my Master’s degree in Library Science so as to enter the field of archives and records management. This summer I have been interning in the file room at the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh. My primary responsibility is helping the SHPO with their backlog of the photographic slides which are an integral part of National Register applications and surveys.

My project, beyond the above duties, concerns the Preservation Equity Project, the College Heights neighborhood National Register nomination, the integration of select records from Preservation Durham with those of the SHPO. In essence, I am trying to make a space in which the information related to the College Heights nomination can reside. This primarily means oral histories, but it also includes items such as interactive maps and links to resources about the history of College Heights, the surrounding neighborhoods, and Durham generally. It is important to note here that once the space is completed and integrated, hopefully, into Open Durham, community residents and researchers will be able to upload their own stories onto the website. Basically, this space will hopefully one day be a kind of central starting point for those trying to research Durham.

My ultimate goal in this process is to go beyond the built environment which, necessarily, dominates the National Register nomination process. In working with both Preservation Durham and the SHPO, it is my hope that my final project will be a model for cooperation between local and state preservation groups. In addition, this project will also hopefully be a model for other preservation groups who want to create a site wherein they can house data related to the individual neighborhoods in their areas. In short, this project is meant to help facilitate the goal of the SHPO and Preservation Durham for this National Register nomination: a nomination from the community up, not from the top down.