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Evaluating Authenticity: Reconstructed Timber Swing Bridges

Robert W. Passfield
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 31, No. 2 (2005), pp. 5-26
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40968698
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Evaluating Authenticity: Reconstructed Timber Swing Bridges
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Abstract

When Parks Canada acquired the Rideau Canal in 1972 under a mandate to preserve its historic structures, there were five reconstructed timber swing budges extant on the waterway. Subsequent research revealed that the design prototype for the timber swing badge had been introduced on the Rideau Canal in 1866; that the bridges had evolved within a continuing traditional culture of conservation through replacement-in-kind reconstructions; and that the swing bridges had been reconstructed at 12-to 15-year intervals over the course of more than a century. This article evaluates the authenticity of the five reconstructed timber swing budges within that particular cultural context to determine whether they were what they were purported to be—an evolved integral form of the original timber swing bridge that conserved the genuine heritage values that conveyed the significance and character of the original structure within its setting, in so doing the article adapts and applies the test of authenticity, developed by the UNESCO World Hentage Centre at the Nara Conference on Authenticity (Japan, November 1994) to industnal archaeology and provides a case study of a new approach to industnal hentage evaluation that recognizes reconstruction as a legitimate conservation approach.

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