Theses Master's

A City, Asleep: Revisiting and Reevaluation History and Interpretation at Mesa Verde National Park

Maziarski, Andrew

This thesis investigates past and present preservation methodology, especially as it relates to interpretation, in order to illustrate the disciplines tendency to present carefully crafted, yet exclusive narratives at cultural sites. The problem with these subsequent stories, however, is that their positivist approach fails to acknowledge the multi-layered nature of history, which rarely is limited to one specific period or event. Using Mesa Verde National Park as my primary case study, I have taken a close look at those topics and concepts, like the National Park idea, nation building, federal legislation, tourism promotion, and Native American relations, which are seldom acknowledged in park interpretation. To further illustrate the shortcomings of these efforts, I also detail roughly 100 years of Mesa Verde's own interpretive history. This comprehensive study demonstrates how Mesa Verde has been promoted and interpreted, by who, and what it can ultimately tell us about the evolution of preservation. What emerges is a clear picture of how interpretation has adapted over the years, and also how it has remained a relatively static and cursory tool. Thus, I argue that it is increasingly important for practitioners to revisit and reevaluate their work, as well as the work of others, in order to promote more comprehensive and inclusive understandings of our nation's cultural sites.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Dolkart, Andrew S.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 5, 2012