Wow, is it really 2015? You know what they say, time flies when you are having fun. Not only are we celebrating the one year anniversary of the Nevada Preservation Foundation, but this month marks the one year anniversary of the Preservation Press as well! With 12 issues under our belt, it’s time to reflect on our past work and look ahead to what the future brings. That’s right folks! It’s time to make those oh so dreaded New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.
For those of you that think resolutions are just a hoax that gyms and weight watchers use to guilt you into healthier lifestyles, there’s actually some real history into the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. In fact, the first known celebration of New Year’s took place in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago. The festival celebrated the new moon following the vernal (spring) equinox in late March. You read that right, News Year’s was originally celebrated in March! In ancient Babylonian culture, it was custom to make promises to the gods in order to remain in good standing with them over the following year.
While the Babylonian calendar was based on a 10 month year, ancient roman culture aligns more closely to what is commonly associated with New Year’s today. Recognizing that a 10 month calendar system was increasingly out of sync with the sun, Julius Caesar sought the advice of roman astrologists and added two months and 90 days to the year. This move created the 12 month Roman calendar, which is very similar to the Gregorian calendar used today, and moved New Year’s Day to January 1st.
The first of these new months was Januarius, named for the Roman God Janus who symbolizes new beginnings. The god had two faces, one for looking into the past and the other for looking towards the future. Ancient roman culture celebrated the god with raucous parties, sacrifices and gift giving. After a late night of celebrating the god and the past year, Romans would wake up New Year’s morning and make promises for the new year that Janus would see into the future. Thus began what is similar to modern day versions of New Year’s celebrations.
Following ancient Roman tradition, lets take a look now into the past and future of the Preservation Press.
A Nod to the Past
The last year of the Preservation Press was all about establishing an identity, creating a following and building the Preservation Press staff. The beginning of the Preservation Press was primarily run by the Foundation’s executive director Heidi Swank. The newsletter was created as a means of publishing Foundation news, keeping members and newsletter subscribers up to date on state and national preservation efforts and providing some insight into historic home ownership and like topics.
By July of 2015, I volunteered to take on the role of Preservation Press Editor. As editor, I not only contribute each month by writing an article, but I also coordinate with all of the contributing writers and organize the final newsletter template. In addition to myself, we have two other contributing writers on staff as well as a person who oversees the website. Together, we make up the Communications Committee and directly control the information coming out to the public every month.
My first six months as editor were primarily spent getting to know the newsletter system and identifying areas for improvement. Areas of focus were overall organization, timeline development and website design. In the last few issues of the newsletter, we worked on creating stronger links between the article topics and having a common, monthly theme for each issue. In addition, we’ve worked to create a six month running timeline with article topics and NPF news to allow for ample time in researching our articles and ensuring quality information. The Communications Committee has also been working on a website re-design that will launch early 2015.
A Look to the Future
After reflecting on last year’s accomplishments, it’s time to look towards the future of the Preservation Press. As the editor, I’ve made some resolutions and goals for the coming year and the next twelve months of the Preservation Press.
First and foremost, we want to increase our readership! Our goal is to publish information that you want to read. As preservation enthusiasts, we share a common interest in the relationship between past and present. We’d like the Preservation Press to be your one-stop source for keeping up to date on preservation news and related topics.
In addition, we’d love to have some feedback on our articles. Currently, we have a comments section below each article, however, this has been mainly underused. In an effort to create a preservation community among our members and readers, we will be re-working the comments area to encourage conversation within the newsletter. If you have additional sources and information, agree or disagree with the information, or just want to get your voice out there, we very much want to hear from you.
Along those same lines, we would also like to add a handful of contributing and guest writers to our staff this coming year. If you or someone you know is interested in publishing an article on preservation, please email us! Even if it’s just an idea, we would love to hear from you. We believe multiple voices will help make our publication more diverse and interesting from a reader’s standpoint.
Happy New Year!
Now that we’ve shared some of our resolutions with you, it’s time to hear yours! Leave us a comment below and let us know what promises you’ve made to yourself and loved ones for the new year. Whether it’s finally redoing the bathroom tile that has been cracked for years or smiling at strangers you pass on the street, let us know what your future year holds!
We look forward to the coming year and the improvements we’ve planned for the Preservation Press. On behalf of the staff at the Preservation Press, we’d like to wish you all a Happy 2015 New Year!