A look at the choices and tensions that exist in conservation and interpretation of heritage. Preservation and presentation are central activities, arguably means and ends in the conservation of the historic environment. But are they self-reinforcing or do they work against each other? In a series of essays which span from prehistoric sacred sites to World War II military remains, from medieval monastery to 1970s housing estate, this text looks at contemporary concerns and debates about the way the past is shaped, physically and metaphorically, by these two aspects of heritage management. Starting from the position that the fundamental purpose of the whole process is to communicate understanding about the human past, these essays examine how far the ideologies, strategies, tactics and techniques of preservation and presentation are mutually supportive. The success of integrated approaches that are inclusive of social, economic and green environmental concerns is understood, but the value of developing truly sustainable management for individual historic places is only just becoming evident.
At the heart of such an approach lies a crucial relationship between the activity of preserving historic places and of promoting understanding of their significance.