David Lowenthal has labeled the idea that cultural heritage “deserves to be preserved in toto” one of the “sacrosanct fictions” of cultural heritage. Lowenthal is not just a random commentator: he is a highly respected historian and geographer who has spent decades studying our relationship with the past. One of Lowenthal’s most important conclusions is that how we conceive of the past is not a natural or static thing — the past is not something embalmed — but is culturally contingent and constantly in flux. Our compulsion to preserve as much of the past as possible is a development of the last few decades in particular, and primarily an American and European one. The National Register of Historic Places was established only in 1966, after most of the jazz landmarks mentioned above were already demolished. From UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites to Antiques Roadshow, over the past 50 years we have encountered the incentive to value every material trace of the past more and more, like a society with collective hoarding anxiety. Lowenthal observes that, contrary to what we generally believe, cultural heritage is not shrinking but constantly expanding. It is not a finite source gradually disappearing, piece by piece, but something that we keep discovering and reinterpreting, and keep adding to as the present continues to become past.