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Insights and Information for Preservation Professionals

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For many, the diversity affinity sessions at the annual PastForward conference are a highlight of the program. Conceived to provide a dedicated time and place for under-represented groups to gather at the conference, these sessions offer room for dialog and exchange, as well as the opportunity for people to meet, network, and share information and best practices.  The content for the diversity affinity sessions is developed by groups working to promote recognition and preservation of a wide range ...
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Following last year’s enactment of the most significant funding levels ($144.3 million) for historic preservation to date, the Biden Administration released its FY22 budget with a record $151.8 million in proposed funding for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) at the end of May.  It is particularly noteworthy and somewhat unusual for the Administration to support increasing the authorized level of funding for the HPF and may signal its willingness to consider future increases above the Fund’s statutorily ...
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As our nation continues to grapple with significant challenges—from racial injustice to climate change, and pandemic recovery— the work of preservation must adapt and respond to ensure our movement remains a resilient, relevant force for positive change. The complexity and scale of these challenges require collaborative, coordinated action. In response to calls from the movement for change in practices and policy, the National Trust volunteered to convene conversations and collect ideas with our ...
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By Carolyn Kiernat  It may seem contradictory, at least at first, but a change is afoot in historic preservation.    Surely, preserving traditional influences is important to historic preservation, but with more women leading successful organizations and major initiatives dedicated to preservation and re-use, one tradition is moving beyond its historic past. Today, women are proving to be of more influence in preservation architecture than ever in a field that has been traditionally dominated ...
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In the last year there has been an increase in violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander American community. Read the statement from the National Trust condemning race-based hatred, violence, and misinformation . As with other underrepresented communities, there is no single narrative about what it means to be an Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA); the stories are wide and varied and often go unrecognized. Each of the resources on this list—along with three podcasts that I found ...
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By Peter C. Williams Stockbridge, Massachusetts, located in the Berkshire Hills in the western part of the state, is best known as the hometown of Norman Rockwell, who famously painted the town's Main Street, whose historic buildings are largely unchanged in over a century. Stockbridge, however, has an even deeper and richer history. With the land originally inhabited by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans , the town’s colonial charter was implemented in 1737 as a mission to its Native ...
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The National Trust Preservation Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s small-dollar grant program, offers a timely look at issues preservation organizations are tackling across the country. Applications to the fund’s February 2021 grant round featured a number of new diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives within preservation organizations as well as continued efforts to tell the full American story at historic sites through expanding interpretation and increasing ...
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The Chelsea District Health Center is a 2020 recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards , the highest national recognition bestowed upon a preservation project by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Award recipients represent the best of the best in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the re-imagining of historic buildings for the future. Built in 1937 and located in Manhattan’s Chelsea Park, the Chelsea District Health Center is one of New Deal-era ...
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Fowler Clark Epstein Farm is a 2020 recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards , the highest national recognition bestowed upon a preservation project by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Award recipients represent the best of the best in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the re-imagining of historic buildings for the future. In 2015, Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) purchased the designated Boston landmark and federal period farmstead, Fowler ...
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By Farrah Varga When the calendar rolled over to January, we did not expect everything to immediately change for the better, but no one in the path of the almost benignly named “Winter Storm Uri” in February 2021 had anything quite like a “snowpocalypse” in mind. For those of at Villa Finale, a National Trust Historic Site located in San Antonio, Texas, we learned a lesson in resilience. For almost a week in February, temperatures all over Texas dropped well below freezing and stubbornly stayed ...
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By Melissa Mortimer Melissa Mortimer was one of the recipients of the 2020 American Express Aspire Award . My first memories of preservation go back to driving to my grandparent’s house in Missouri as a kid. The trip from Tennessee took our woody minivan through Cairo, Illinois, where for 31 years, we watched the slow decay and demolition of the commercial district, as well as its historic homes. Every trip, my mom would pull down a side street to go look at her favorite school building, ...
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By Shaw Sprague, Ross Bradford, and Raina Regan Introduced in both the 115 th and 116 th Congress, the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act has gained considerable support to address specific ongoing abuses in donations of preservation and conservation easements. This legislation addresses egregious syndicated conservation easement transactions which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) described in IRS Notice 2017-10 . The National Trust supports reintroducing and passage ...
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By Lois Lee Pioneering Black architect Paul Revere Williams, FAIA (1894-1980), is finally receiving well-deserved, national recognition 40 years after his death.  Williams’ extensive portfolio transcends the racial boundaries of the architecture profession during his time , and his story continues to be told today. The recent acquisition of Williams’ archives—previously thought lost in a fire—by the Getty Institute and the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture has heightened ...
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By David Preziosi, FAICP Preservation Dallas is the recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2020 Trustee’s Award for Organizational Excellence . From its early days, newer, better, bigger has been the attitude in Dallas, Texas. As a result, a constant tearing down and rebuilding led to countless historic buildings being lost over time in the pursuit of the shiny and new. Against tremendous odds, Preservation Dallas has fought for nearly 50 years to change the philosophy ...
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The latest issue of Forum Journal captures the proceedings from PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation movement’s first-ever all-virtual national conference which drew more than 4,000 registrants. Like the national conference, Forum Journal opens with introductory remarks by President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Paul Edmondson. Paul’s remarks are followed with insightful keynotes by national thought leaders like Darren Walker, President of the ...
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“If you go to Capitol Hill with Nellie Longsworth, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.” A generation or more of historic preservation advocates heeded that advice and earned the chance to walk the halls of Congress with Nellie as she championed laws and incentives that define how we save historic places.  Nellie died March 1, 2021, at the age of 87. She leaves behind her beloved children Jennifer, Jeff, and Mark, and a community of historic preservation activists who adored her. Courtesy of ...
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By Zulmilena Then Zulmilena Then was one of the recipients of the 2020 American Express Aspire Award . One day, I had a dream where I was in danger. Like in a horror movie, I screamed for help, but my voice didn’t come out. I was surprised. I tried again, but I was mute. It felt distressing and exhausting trying to use my voice to be rescued and not heard. In the waking state, this is the same feeling I felt as a Brown woman advocating preservation as a way to protect my Black and Brown childhood ...
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Editor's Note: For more on Moynihan Train Hall and its part in the legacy of Pennsylvania Station, read a Q&A between Tom Mayes and Holly Leicht on SavingPlaces.org. A project decades in the making, the new Moynihan Train Hall opened to Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers in January 2021. While it does not fully replace the underground warrens of the present Penn Station below Madison Square Garden, the train hall serves as a symbol of what is possible for adaptive use transportation ...
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Last October, more than 500 preservationists participated in the PastForward Online 2020 Town Hall on climate change. This virtual gathering generated a range of opinions, ideas, and suggestions for how the preservation movement can more effectively engage in climate change advocacy and action. What did we learn and how can we build on this important discussion? The Town Hall on Climate Change began with a series of short video commentaries from practitioners around the country. A brief overview ...
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By Debra Mecky   In 2020, Greenwich Historical Society was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship . We are now accepting award nominations for 2021 through February 15 .  In 2018 Greenwich Historical Society completed a five-year plan to advance its mission and make a greater contribution to the community. At the heart of our $13.5 million dollar capital project was the reimagining of our suburban campus to restore and ...
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