Historic preservationists, architectural historians, public historians, and archaeologists have wide-ranging responsibilities. From extensive and intensive research to detailed and technical writing, the fields of public history, encompassing preservation and cultural resource management, also involves interactive mapping – digital history – to preserve, interpret, and engage the public with how our historic, cultural, and natural resources are incorporated into our everyday lives. Our preservation and education team undertakes an ever-changing array of day-to-day and week-to-week tasks. But now, they will tackle a new project: an extensive re-surveying of all the county’s historic, cultural, and natural resources to Preserve Williamson.

While many county resources were documented in the 1970s and 1980s, and then partially, in 2002, our comprehensive survey project will use technology to capture all our resources in real time. GIS, Geographic Information Systems, captures, stores, documents, and displays data related to where places are located anywhere on the planet. Through cultural resource management, we adapt these technologies to field surveys and inventory maintenance, and address how best we can effectively steward our resources while navigating an ever-changing landscape of development throughout Williamson County.

While Williamson County has an array of resources catalogued at the county archives, the library, local historic sites, and preservation organizations, there is not one repository that houses – digitally – all documented resources. By incorporating GIS with thorough fieldwork, we plan to change all of that. While in the field, we can gather highly accurate data, better illustrate cultural resource management issues in rural and urban areas, and even use this mapping project as an educational component, highlighting historic and modern-day maps, photographs, and along with historic context and content all based on sound research. Creating a fully accessible (and what will be, a very large) database, embedded within the comprehensive map will benefit every municipality, developers, and citizens with building a better future for Williamson County.

Though this project will provide a lasting methodology for documenting Williamson County’s historic, cultural, and natural resources, a survey of this magnitude will take time, resources, and most importantly, assistance with our many historic property owners and citizens. Our accessible resources map will have multiple layers, complete with the original reports demonstrating changes over time. This means we can document and show where all lost resources, including cemeteries, historic homes, corridors, and any additional material culture, were once located on the landscape.

While we know this is an exhaustive project, our team is excited to launch our first comprehensive survey of all Williamson County’s resources that will be fully accessible to the public! As we begin the first phase of fieldwork and documentation, we encourage our members and local citizens, to find us in the field, read our blogs, and check us out on social media, as we travel around the county collecting data and meeting with everyone who may guide us on our quest to fulfill our vision to provide a significant digital resource for the entire community. As we complete each phase, we will release components of the map for the public.
Once fully completed, our team will provide their report, a guide, for how the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN will be the resource, serving the County’s local municipalities, the State, and citizens to ensure all resources are preserved and protected.

Get Involved!
At the Heritage Foundation, we look to our members and citizens across the county to be preservation advocates! If you own a historic property, including cemeteries, stacked stone walls, old roadbeds, outbuildings, creeks, or any resources you think we should include in our survey, we would love to hear from you!
To have our team schedule a site visit to your property, please contact us at info@williamsonheritage.org. To donate to the preservation and cultural resource management work pertaining to this significant advocacy and preservation education project, please email Chief Advancement Officer Grant Martin at gmartin@williamsonheritage.org.