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Calling Kris Kringle!

December 15, 2011

Did you finish your Christmas shopping yet?

Are there a few people on your Xmas list that just have you stumped?

Historic preservation offers lots of unique gifting opportunities.

Support your local historic site by shopping at their gift shop or Christmas Fair.  Some even offer online stores so you can hit a button in the middle of the night and cross a name off your personal naughty-or-nice list.

Mill at Anselma, Pennsylvania (Photo by Sabra Smith)

I’ve previously noted gift ideas from the National Historic Landmarks the Mill at Anselma (“The Gingerbread Man Gives This Gift Idea Five Stars) and Historic Harrisville [New Hampshire] Historic District (“Knit One – Gift Two”).

There are obvious classics like membership in the National Trust for Historic Preservation or Historic New England, which have the double benefit of giving the beneficiary free admissions and discounts while at the same time supporting important preservation, advocacy, and education work.  Each of these organizations offers special interest possibilities, for instance….

Know a garden enthusiast?  Historic New England‘s “Garden & Landscape” membership category includes discounts at the Lyman Estate Greenhouses [a National Historic Landmark site], Logee’s Greenhouses, exclusive horticultural programs and special preview plant sales.

Old house owner?  What could be better than ‘Historic Homeowner” membership, which grants expert consultation on historically appropriate paint colors, evaluation of construction or design proposals, special events, topical e-newsletter, and members-only online resource center.

Engine room of the USS Olympia, like a giant jewelbox (Photo by Sabra Smith)

Know someone in the Navy?  Or a fan of Steampunk?  Consider making a donation in their name to the National Trust’s fund for the USS Olympia, the one-of-a-kind battleship, historically notable because it straddles the technological leap from the days of sail to the age of steam.  This National Historic Landmark vessel is also noted as a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark for its state-of-the-art engines — a jaw-dropping, room-filling array of shining brass, dark wood, and powerful shafts that are a steampunk dream come true.  Deferred maintenance has left this marvel in danger of sinking at its moorings in Philadelphia unless substantial sums are raised so new owners can get her into drydock for an overhaul.  A donation to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s USS Olympia Fund is a wonderful way to pay tribute to the history of the United States Navy and help preserve a beautiful old ship.

Check out the National Historic Landmark program Facebook page for other historic site information and marvelous gifting ideas and event inspiration.

And what suggestions do you have for preservation-minded gifting?

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