Forum Connect

Continuing Education & Mentorships

  • 1.  Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Ambassador
    Posted 13 days ago
    Although some members of Forum Connect are trained in preservation, many more came to this field through other avenues. Thinking back on the two decades I've worked in the preservation field (the vast majority of which has been in state or quasi-state government), I've come to realize that my best education has been on the job figuring out how to work through real-world situations. I've also discovered the best mentors for me have almost always been my peers or people working outside of preservation. Conferences often provide me with inspiration and leads to resources I might not otherwise run across in my daily work, but they seem like just the starting point to learning something new. The same could be said of social media exchanges like Forum Connect. I'm curious how others learn new ways of approaching things in preservation and how important mentors (or being a mentor) have been in your career. If you were giving advice to someone outside the field on how to learn about preservation, what would you suggest to them?

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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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  • 2.  RE: Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Posted 12 days ago
    Barbara,

    I agree with you. My preservation background and formal education started in archaeology (and museum studies), but my career has transitioned over the years. I am now a Certified Local Government coordinator. In this role, I work much more with communities and their standing structures instead of their archaeological resources. I have learned so much on the job by talking to colleagues about the preservation field. Conferences have been immensely helpful, too, both for content and the connections I'm able to make with other people.

    I would definitely suggest making connections with people. It's great having a community of people around you who can help you along the way. Those people can be near and far, in-person and online.

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    Kelli Bacon
    Lincoln NE
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  • 3.  RE: Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Posted 12 days ago
    Obviously, if we are lucky and if we are receptive, we can and do meet wonderfully enriching mentors and teachers along our professional journeys. I know that I certainly benefited from many amazingly gifted and talented colleagues and supervisors. I also know now after four decades of practice, that without the strong educational preparation I received in architectural design, architectural history, planning and historic preservation - an education that included  the fundamentals of the history of the built environment (architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, interior design) and the development of the historic preservation as an ethos and as a practice, I could not be as successful nor as comfortable with the role I fill today as a public servant safeguarding and educating others about the need to preserve and steward our irreplaceable resources.

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    Phillip W. Neuberg, FAIA
    Federal Preservation Officer
    National Institute of Standards & Technology
    Gaithersburg, MD 20854
    301-975-6940
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  • 4.  RE: Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Posted 11 days ago
    Well, I'm now 45 and came into the preservation field later in life. I originally started doing documentary videos and began to focus heavily on historic sites. I've always had a passion for architecture but never pursued it professionally, since I had another degree. I guess it was more natural for me to fall in love with some of the buildings I was documenting, especially areas where there were threats I found out about through research. I felt that, since I like doing this so much, why not make a go for it and pursue a career change? I also feel by doing this I would be doing something that has meaning. So I am going back to school with a focus strictly on historic preservation. Where is that going to take me? I have no idea, really. It could definitely make for much better documentaries, that's for sure. But it could also lead me into something more enlightening, working with historic structures, allowing me to preserve sites or buildings for years after I'm gone. I have come to be kind of annoyed at the growth of what some have come to call disposable structures, especially when knowing that demolition of old buildings often makes way for this kind of activity. In the Charlotte area of NC, they have even talked about reducing the size of a few of their historic districts due to ill-advised construction. I feel we need to educate those in these regions about the need to preserve while working as best as we can to ensure significant structures are cared for and protected.

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    Raymond Majewski
    Bryson City NC
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  • 5.  RE: Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi all,
    I don't have a degree in historic preservation but came to this work with background in studio art, geography, museum studies and applied cultural anthropology.  As a kid I wanted to be an architect but have realized really I love architectural design so no wonder I love historic buildings and communities.  After finishing my BA in Geography & studio art I considered a planning degree but I somehow I must have known I'd be at odds with future planning trends (there have been many trends through time--some quite destructive to our communities).

    I started this historic preservation work to preserve the National Register listed neighborhood where I live.  I learned a lot creating our local historic district and can't express strongly enough how much impact your zoning code, and your planners' understanding of the values of preserving history has for your ability to be successful preserving buildings and community character.  Historic Preservation has to become part of an urban planning education before our resources are all redeveloped.

    I think a diverse background is very useful as it opens eyes and minds to various perspectives, approaches, and what influences people and so, the world.  I too have found that the community of historic preservation to be open, accepting, and people have been generous with sharing their knowledge.  This has been enriching, encouraging, and at times keeps me going.  Thanks.




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    Duffie Westheimer
    Flagstaff Townsite Historic Properties Community Land Trust (Townsite CLT/TCLT)
    Board Member/Director
    Flagstaff, AZ
    www.townsiteclt.org
    townsiteclt@gmail.com
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  • 6.  RE: Continuing Education & Mentorships

    Ambassador
    Posted 4 days ago

    I love seeing how people learn and grow in this field. Whether your training in preservation came from a university, on the job, through continuing education, or from some outstanding mentors, it is so important to keep your mind open to new ways of doing things and ideas that may challenge your preservation perceptions. I love that those who responded came to this field from archaeology, film, and art. I also love that at 45 you are going back to school, @Raymond Majewski! At 46, I've toyed with the same thought. One of the wonderful things about this field is the interdisciplinary nature of all that we do.

    Speaking of educators and mentors, let me put a quick plug in for taking some time to thank those who helped you in your career journey. I had the opportunity to attend the Preserving the Recent Past 3 conference last week and ran into a professor from graduate school. I never had a class with him, but he served as our faculty sponsor on a trip to Prague over 20 years ago. That trip had such a profound influence on the way I approach preservation today. I took a moment to say hello and let him know how transformational that experience was for me. In a world where we get so bogged down in the everyday preservation battles and challenges, it helps to remember all of our successes and the people who impacted our careers in a positive way. A small thank you can go a long way. So, thank you all for taking the time to respond to my musings!

    Barbara



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    Barbara Howard
    Stonebridge Learning, LLC
    Minneapolis MN
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