July 31, 2013

Twitter Chat Reminder: Getting Kids Interested in Preservation

  • By: Sarah Heffern

On our way to a baseball game a few weeks ago, I had an awkward moment with my 9-year-old nephew as we passed a building slated for demolition near the ballpark.

“Auntie Sarah,” he said, “I want to be here when they blow up that building. I think watching a building blow up would be so cool!”

My preservationist heart skipped a beat. How could the boy I’d been indoctrinating with architecture-themed LEGOs since he was 6 think blowing up a building was cool?

Because he’s 9, of course. And kids that age dig destruction.

But -- perhaps because of all those LEGO sets -- I think he also understood when I explained that while maybe this particular building wasn’t a good candidate for saving, it was important to always be thoughtful and deliberate when making decisions about buildings, and that a lot of the time, it’s better to re-use a building than to tear it down.

This conversation came to mind the other day when I read my colleague (and soon-to-be first time aunt) Priya’s post on her plan to help her niece-to-be fall in love with history. Knowing that we can’t be the only adults out there trying to instill a love of history and preservation in the kids we know (as the popularity of our toolkit on the topic can attest), it occurred to me that this was a perfect topic for August’s #builtheritage Twitter chat.

We’ll be gathering around the hashtag for an hour’s lively conversation on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 4:00 EDT. Come armed with your best ideas -- or biggest questions -- about how to get children interested in history, architecture, and preservation.

Here’s how to participate:

1. Sign in to Twitter, or into a chat-specific site such as TweetChat, tchat.io, or twubs.com. (Using a chat site allows you to filter just the chat-specific hashtag, and also appends it to any tweets you send, allowing for a more streamlined experience.)

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

The Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and tangents still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

Looking forward to chatting with you all next week!

Sarah Heffern is the National Trust's director of social media. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having first fallen for historic places in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.


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