First Undergraduate Historic Preservation Education Symposium

The Center for Historic Preservation hosted the First Undergraduate Historic Preservation Education Symposium on June 10-12 at the University of Mary Washington. The symposium brought together faculty from undergraduate preservation institutions from across the United States. Topics of discussion were focused on curriculum, pedagogy, and student placement.

There are many programs teaching historic preservation in America, the vast majority of them at the graduate level. However, although there are only eight undergraduate programs, they graduate many more students. Therefore, understanding the specific issues in teaching historic preservation to undergraduates is of particular interest. Who are these students? How and what are they taught? What are the emerging issues in teaching this population?

This was the topic of the symposium, which was the first meeting of its kind. It served to create a community and start a conversation so that preservation educators can learn from each other to better teach our students. The symposium showed that even with the variety of schools, locales, and student populations, the goals of the programs are remarkably similar, as are the issues faced.

Some of the major questions discussed at the symposium included the following:

–       Considering the increasingly specialized field of historic preservation, how can undergraduate programs further a multidisciplinary approach while delving deeply into foundations students will need to further their careers?

–       In view of the articulation but also overlap between two year, four year, and graduate programs, how should students be guided through preservation education at different levels?

–       Preservation is often taught from an architectural perspective, sometimes at the expense of history courses. Should this be remedied, and how?

–       Technology, both old and new, plays an important part in preservation. How can this remain up to date, accessible, and valuable to students?

Results from the symposium are being analyzed and proceedings, including recommendations, will be posted by the Center for Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington, to serve as a resource for preservation educators nationwide.

James Ward College of Charleston
James Garman Salve Regina University
Jeanne Lambin and Connie Pinkerton Savannah College of Art & Design
Steven Hoffman S.E. Missouri State University
Robert Ogle Lamar Community College
Michael Spencer and Andrea Livi Smith (symposium chair) University of Mary Washington

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