By Sarah Marsom:

This month we have the pleasure of sharing a post by Sarah Marsom, one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 40 under 40 people: People Saving Places

Sarah Marsom has been collecting Junior Ranger badges from National Park Service sites since she was a youth, developing her appreciation for the past and sense of place. She works to improve the movement’s accessibility by empowering the next generation of community advocates and increasing representation of lesser known histories. According to her, “if historic preservation is inaccessible, it is neither relevant nor revolutionary.”

With almost 10 years of experience working at historic sites, she’s developed a keen understanding of storytelling and connecting people to the past. She has crafted hands-on workshops, tours, special events, and specialty items. Sarah’s work extends into building research to help your building restoration, feed your curiosity, or gain historic designation for your property.

Are you looking to expand your historic preservation perspective?
Here are a few titles to add to your preservation toolkit.


For Kids

No book tells the story of a structure’s decline and revitalization better than The Little House! The story is amplified with vivid illustrations that will surely capture a kid’s attention and turn them into the youngest preservationist. You can also pair the book with the Disney short film inspired by the book with art by Mary Blair here.

Inspire youth to be activists for the built environment by reading this newly released book. Jane Jacobs was a leader of the modern historic preservation movement in America and this beautifully illustrated biography details her youth in Scranton, PA and fight against Robert Moses to save Greenwich Village in New York City from demolition! You can even pair this book with a Tiny Jane Jacobs doll.

You will love this book series, which includes Iggy Peck Architect, Rosie Revere Engineer, and Ada Twist Scientist! Sometimes saving a building requires an architect, an engineer, and a scientist (conservators). Your little preservationist will be inspired to think outside the box and problem solve. Bonus: There are complementary workbooks, which pair with each book in the series.

For Adults

Published in 2017, What’s Worth Preserving instantly became my favorite historic preservation book. The Chicago Design Museum sent letters asking people “What’s Worth Preserving?” This beautifully designed book was published thanks to the support of a successful Kickstarter campaign and includes hand written letters from 50 individuals from diverse backgrounds (including Jane Goodall). Their responses range from the intangible to edible to the built environment. Historic preservation is diverse and this book is a reminder that preservation can be defined in a myriad of ways.

We save structures not because they are old, but because they played an integral role in people’s lives of the past and present. This book will give you a glimpse into what it is like to live in a National Historic Landmark, which was constructed in 1956 as a part of Detroit’s urban renewal efforts. You will enjoy the short essays and photographs detailing why residents love living in this historic neighborhood.

Are you looking for a better understanding of the fundamentals of historic preservation? Ilene Tyler, Norm Tyler, and Ted Ligibel have reworked their essential historic preservation text to reflect historic preservation today. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of historic preservation ranging from history to technology to sustainability. You can pre-order the text online and I can assure you, it is worth the wait.

For Your Visual/Audio Enjoyment

Jane Jacobs helped catapult the modern American historic preservation movement into the news. Her efforts against urban renewal in New York City are told in a dynamic manner utilizing archival imagery and interviews with topical experts in this documentary. You may be surprised by how many of the preservation issues from the 1960s are still relevant today.

Columbus, Indiana is an architectural mecca with architecture designed by Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and I.M. Pei, among others. With tourists from around the world traveling to this small community and marveling over the architecture, one wonders how do the locals connect to these surroundings? This fictional film provides a unique perspective into a woman’s life in Columbus.

If you enjoy podcasts, you cannot miss 99% Invisible. You will enjoy the deep dives into everything from the history of U.S. road sign designs to architectural ruins to broader urban planning topics

HistoriCorps is deeply grateful for Sarah’s submission. If you would like to share your thoughts on the HistoriCorps blog, please email