Seeking Asylum: Race, Memory, and the American Landscape

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The stories and places we choose to preserve tell us who we are as a people. What does it say about ourselves when the stories that are associated with a particular place are ones that we wish to keep in the dark? As we look towards the future of preservation it has become clear that our perception of what is “significant” has shifted. Modern preservation has expanded to include tangible and intangible landscapes, environmental conservation, and more voices at the table. This thesis explores how to use preservation, storytelling, and sustainable practices to respond to places of difficult history and reclaim that space, while using Crownsville State Hospital as a model. The racial and systemic trauma experienced at the formerly racially segregated mental health facility permeated the campus grounds; not only does the community need to heal, the land does too.