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An analysis of the role of historic significance in decision making at public horticulture institutions

Posted on:2015-07-30Degree:M.SType:Thesis
University:University of DelawareCandidate:Quirey, Matthew JFull Text:PDF
This research focused on how public gardens fit into the context of cultural identity. Given that cultural landscapes form an important part of our heritage and public horticulture institutions are cultural landscapes, the purposes of this research were as follows: first, to analyze historic significance from an international and domestic perspective through literature and interviews; next, to analyze the factors affecting a manager's decision to use historic significance in his or her decision making; and finally, to investigate how specific organizations use historic significance in decision making.;After the review of literature both international and domestic, the research was conducted in three phrases. First, interviews were conducted with leaders of principal historic landscape and garden advocacy organizations in the United States. Next, a quantitative online survey was developed based on The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to measure existing attitudes and beliefs of 425 directors and managers of American Public Garden Association members (APGA) regarding the role of historic significance in their decision making process. Finally, case study visits were made to three historic cemeteries to investigate the factors affecting historic significance in their decision making.;The advocacy interviews reiterated the multiple factors that influence how the United States sees its cultural landscape resources in terms of specific missions of specific groups who champion their vision. For the future of these cultural landscape resources, the best recommendation would be to increase partnerships to facilitate education and cooperation beneficial to all. With diminishing federal funds, more of these partnerships will be needed to advance the education of both the public and directors of public gardens about the importance of the role of public gardens as cultural resources (Birnbaum, 2009). The quantitative survey conducted with members of the APGA confirmed that when directors have an attitude that values historic significance, and those around them reinforce that value, then they are more likely to build expertise and funding to support those efforts. The case studies confirmed those findings.;Public gardens are positioned to lead the way to merge the joint resources of natural and cultural values. Historic gardens are in a unique place to combine environmental and cultural resources into one location as just such destinations. In the era of diminishing resources when public institutions are being asked to justify their missions tied to budgets, public gardens with historic significance can use this environmental component to increase their value as destinations for not only cultural resources but environmental education and recreation. Not only can they preserve historic sites and plants collections, but they can serve as locations for public focus on both the past and the future.
Keywords/Search Tags:Public, Historic, Decision making, Cultural, Role
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