Sunday, April 2, 2017

Why I Like Old Things

“Once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.”

Richard Zampella
Restored American Empire Dresser leaving my workshop at Idylease and resting in it's rightful place in the Historic Landmark located in Newfoundland, NJ

I like to surround myself with old thing. They have character. There’s something to be said for having a sense of history. Old music, old movies, old cars and old furniture to name a few. Old things are just more interesting

There is something special about old things. The incredible craftsmanship, the quality materials, but most precious is the history behind them. If these things could tell stories, imagine what they might share. Everything has a story. Often, many old things end up in the trash. Well, it’s said that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Surrounding yourself with traces of history is a way of connecting to the past. Old things also tell the story of another time. They have an innate history.

I also like to restore things that are forgotten. I like the idea of preserving objects for future generations. Perhaps with the hope that one day someone like me will appreciate that something from another era survives.

As a preservationist, I am a proponent that the past can also educate. Architecture as an example, is a direct and substantial representation of history and place that can teach us about our collective past. By preserving historic structures, we are able to share the very spaces and environments in which the generations before us lived.

Historic preservation is the visual and tangible conservation of cultural identity. There is something about running your hand down a banister that previous generations have held in their hands for centuries. It gives you a intrinsic sense of place and time and a perspective on where you fit in this impersonal world. Old things ares. a part, a small part, but an important part of a much greater story.

Preserving historic buildings―whether related to someone famous or recognizably dramatic―strangers or longtime residents are able to witness the aesthetic and cultural history of an area. Old buildings maintain a sense of permanency and heritage. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving buildings of historic significance―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.

About Richard Zampella

Richard Zampella is a preservationists that own and operates Idylease, a former resort hotel located in Newfoundland, NJ. He is also a documentary film producer who has produced and edited several films with writer and director, John Mulholland. His productions include skillful use of archival materials such as film footage, photographs, periodicals and correspondence, narrated by actors including Len Cariou, Sam Waterston, Frank Langella and Liam Neeson.  Production credits include Sergeant York: Of God and Country, Inside High Noon and Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen which was awarded a Crtics’ Pic by the New York Times.

His upcoming projects include a documentary on author/screenwriter Elmore Leonard, the release of the Director’s Cut of Inside High Noon and a BluRay of Margaret Mead’s New Guinea Journal written, directed and produced, written and directed by Craig Gilbert, the creator, writer and director of the landmark PBS series, An American Family.