In response to protests involving Confederate monuments on public property, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) Board of Directors offers the following recommendations for the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage.
Regarding Confederate monuments, the Confederate States of America seceded from and declared war on the United States of America to perpetuate the forced labor of enslaved African American people and their descendants. Some Confederate monuments were erected soon after the Civil War to mourn the death of loved ones. However, many Confederate monuments were erected years later, as symbols of white supremacy and the oppression of African Americans and other people of color. All Confederate monuments have thus become tainted with the stain of slavery, bigotry, and racism, and have recently become lightning rods for civil unrest and violence.
To promote truth and reconciliation, ensure public safety, and preserve these challenging commemorative works of art, all monuments on public property in North Carolina that glorify the confederacy should be relocated to appropriate museums, historic sites and other cultural spaces that interpret American history honestly and completely.
Ultimately, in a democratic society, decisions to relocate, reinterpret, and preserve Confederate monuments should be made by local custodians in dialogue with members of their community. To empower custodians of Confederate monuments to make these decisions, representatives of the people in the North Carolina General Assembly should repeal the law, enacted in 2015, that prevents custodians from removing, relocating, or altering monuments, memorials, plaques and other historical markers on public property without permission from the North Carolina Historical Commission.
If custodians of Confederate monuments decide on relocation they should collaborate with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and adhere to best practices for moving and preserving works of monumental art.
Effective security should be deployed to safeguard the relocation of Confederate monuments to protect custodians, work crews, and the public.
If Confederate monuments are damaged before, during, or after relocation, custodians should strive to procure the services of a professional conservator for treatment advice and appropriate restoration.
Preservation and conservation professionals in the North Carolina Preservation Consortium are available to advise and assist custodians of Confederate monuments as decisions regarding relocation and long-term preservation are implemented.
The North Carolina Preservation Consortium is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to the preservation of collections in libraries, museums, archives, and historic sites; monuments, memorials, and outdoor art; archaeological sites and collections; historic and cultural architecture; and private collections of family treasures. NCPC supports proper care and handling; storage and environmental control; disaster preparedness; conservation; and collection security. NCPC is committed to preserving tangible and intangible heritage for present and future generations.
NCPC Board of Directors