Share to Google Classroom

Should historic buildings be preserved?

Like any material object, buildings decay over time. While some buildings are chosen for preservation, perhaps for their historical or cultural significance, most are eventually torn down to make room for new constructions. But how are these decisions made, and who makes them? If a building is chosen for preservation, what will the preserved building look like? Should conservationists attempt to halt its decay and keep it as is, or should it be restored to its original design? Should we preserve historic buildings?


What Will A Reconstructed Notre Dame Look Like? The Answer Is Up For Debate

Colorado Highway Expansion Routed Over Ancient Native American Sites

Additional resources to think about

A Map of Our Places | Preservation Connecticut
Check out a map of the local nonprofit Preservation Connecticut, and their historic preservation projects. Are there any near where you live?

UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Discover which global sites have been deemed worthy of preservation and conservation by the United Nations and identified as World Heritage Sites.

In Iraq, A Race To Protect The Crumbling Bricks Of Ancient Babylon
Learn about how workers in Iraq are trying to protect an Ancient Babylonian site by having it declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Destruction of Penn Station
The demolition of the original Penn Station, opened in 1910 and destroyed in 1963, which caused national and international outrage, is often cited as one of the catalysts that led to the architectural preservation movement in the United States.

China's Great Wall Is Crumbling In Many Places; Can It Be Saved?
Learn about local efforts to conserve the Great Wall of China.

J. Frederick Kelly: Constructing Connecticut’s Architectural History
Read about one of Connecticut's first historic preservation advocates and his legacy.


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What's the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Should historic buildings be preserved?

How was your Thinkalong experience?

We actively use feedback to provide better resources to students and educators, so please take 1 minute to provide feedback and help us improve.