May 30, 2018

Preservation Playlist: The Music of Places We Love

  • By: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Note: This Place Matters is a campaign that the National Trust started in 2009, before Black Lives Matter had come into being as a movement. Out of respect for Black Lives Matter and the important message behind it, we retired the campaign in June 2020. We encourage National Trust supporters to instead celebrate places that are important to them using the hashtags #SavingPlaces or #TellTheFullStory.

Old places and music go hand and hand. They connect deeply to our identities, and they reach out to a very personal place in each of us. That’s why the National Trust put together two preservation-themed playlists on our new Spotify channel, perfect for listening during a summer road trip, while you’re restoring a historic home, or even when you’re at work, writing about old places you love.

We asked a few members of our staff to let us know why they connect to a particular song on our curated Spotify playlists, #ThisPlaceMatters and Preservation Playlist.

Emily Ditsch, Individual Giving Coordinator: “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” by Arcade Fire always makes me think of growing up in Phoenix, Arizona. My friends and I would listen to that album while driving around the city at night, where you’d wind your way up the side of a mountain and suddenly have a view of the whole city and surrounding desert spread out before you.

Carson Bear, Editorial Assistant: “The Lighthouse’s Tale”by Nickel Creek really drives home the connection between person and place for me. Chris Tile personifies a lighthouse who experiences a great loss—not only is the song showing how a place is marked (literally and figuratively) by the events that happened there, it’s also creating a dynamic, active relationship between a building and its owner.

I also really love Open Mike Eagle’s “My Auntie’s Building” (I recently wrote about his 2017 album, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, for the National Trust). The song is protesting the demolition of the Chicago housing projects Open Mike Eagle grew up in, but it’s also connecting to systemic racism, housing discrimination, and other issues that stand in the way of saving people’s lives and homes.

Diana Tisue, Project Manager for Marketing Campaigns: Taking over a German Meeting House in Columbus, Ohio, two young preservationists climbed on stage to perform the greatest karaoke rendition of “Mansard Roof” by Vampire Weekend. Since that memorable moment, I have been looking up more.

Guzel duChateau, Senior Manager of Email Marketing and Engagement: Having songs like “I Am a Town” by Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Beautiful” by Eminem, and “The Village Green Preservation Society” by The Kinks all mashed together on one playlist reminds me of how truly eclectic the preservation movement is. We might have different ways of telling the story, but ultimately we all care about place.

Listen to the full #ThisPlaceMatters and Preservation Playlists below, and let us know what your favorite preservation-themed song is on Facebook or Twitter.

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