Getty Conservation Institute Releases Free Online Publication: “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework: A Tool for Assessing Heritage Places”

Heritage Stewardship – Tools

Getty Conservation Institute Releases Free Online Publication: “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework: A Tool for Assessing Heritage Places”
February 04, 2021
LOS ANGELES – Getty Conservation Institute released today “The Twentieth-Century Historic Thematic Framework,” a free online tool for architecture and heritage conservation professionals around the world.

The 20th century was a time of rapid growth, technological advancement and political upheaval, resulting in a proliferation of new buildings, cities, and landscapes. However, the existence of so many potential heritage places from the 20th century can make it difficult for professionals to determine what is significant and why. This publication provides a structure to help users identify and assess 20th century heritage, which is often the first step needed to conserve and sustain these places.
The publication uses broad thinking to identify the principal social, technological, political, and economic drivers that shaped the 20th century globally, and these have been distilled into ten succinct historic themes seen in the diagram below:

The publication is offered for free and can be utilized and adapted by anyone involved in heritage conservation around the world.

Themes
The Framework uses ten succinct themes to organize and define history, helping to identify heritage sites and place them in context:
1. Rapid Urbanization and the Growth of Large Cities
2. Accelerated Scientific and Technological Development
3. Mechanized and Industrialized Agriculture
4. World Trade and Global Corporations
5. Transportation Systems and Mass Communication
6. Internationalization, New Nation-States, and Human Rights
7. Conserving the Natural Environment, Buildings, and Landscapes
8. Popular Culture and Tourism
9. Religious, Educational, and Cultural Institutions
10. War and its Aftermath

Beginning with an overview of the themes, subthemes, and places that exemplify them, readers can quickly navigate to any one theme that is of particular importance to their area of research. Each section concludes with a photo gallery showing a diverse range of buildings, sites, structures, and landscapes that illustrate the issues discussed.

Although globally structured, this framework can be used locally to survey and assess places within the context of the twentieth century and to conduct comparative analyses of places. It can be utilized and adapted by anyone involved in heritage conservation around the world. Our hope is that it will aid many forms of research, analysis, and survey work, and ultimately help sustain and conserve the heritage of the twentieth century.

Commissioned by the Getty Conservation Institute working in collaboration with the ICOMOS Twentieth-Century Heritage International Scientific Committee, this publication is an outcome of the Conservation Institute’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.
Thematic frameworks are already being used to identify and assess heritage places in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, and internationally by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), and other heritage organizations.
This new publication meets a global need by creating a thematic framework for assessing 20th century heritage. Previous Getty initiatives such as the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative and Keeping It Modern have addressed these issues using international conservation management planning and grant funding, respectively.