And Another Year Here and Gone…

This past year was a busy one for the Center for Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington. Hosting numerous speakers in addition to sponsoring the annual Historic Preservation Book Prize, the 2011-2012 year was one filled with much success.

The year began with a visit from public historian Dr. Heather Huyck on October 5, 2011. Dr. Huyck’s visit was co-sponsored by both the Center for Historic Preservation and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Mary Washington. With a lecture titled, “Hard Hats & High Heels: Women Working in Historic Preservation” the main focus of Huyck’s presentation was to discuss future job opportunities for preservation students and the preparations they should be making in order to maximize their potential.

October continued with a visit from Lois Olcott Price, author of Line, Shade and Shadow: the Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings and winner of the 2011 Book Prize. Currently the Director of Conservation and Senior Conservator of Library Collections at the Winterthur Museum in Winterthur, Delaware, the Center sponsored Ms. Price’s visit to the University of Mary Washington on October 12, 2011 so that she might speak about her career and her prize winning book.

In partnership with the University of Mary Washington’s Historic Preservation Club, the Center sponsored the attendance of four Mary Washington Historic Preservation majors(Senior Cameron Henry, Juniors Susanna Parmelee and Sarah Sanders, and Sophomore Danielle Payne) to the 2011 National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s annual conference. Titled “Alternating Currents,” this year’s conference was held in Buffalo, New York from October 18 through October 22, and focused primarily on newer, trending topics in the world of preservation such as adaptive reuse and preservation practices under current economic conditions. The students were accompanied by Center Director Dr. Andréa Levi Smith and asked to write about their experiences following the conclusion of their trip.

During the first week of November, the Center invited architectural conservationist Chris Betts, a partner with Purcell Miller Tritton, an architectural conservation firm located in the United Kingdom. Having over 25 years of experience, and currently working at the firm’s Colchester office, during his visit, Betts had the opportunity to speak to individual Historic Preservation classes in addition to holding a larger lecture at the university. During his week-long visit to Mary Washington, Betts provided an inside look into the daily demands of his position within the firm in addition to speaking about preservation efforts currently taking place within Europe.

On February 18, 2012, the Department for Historic Preservation hosted a mini-symposium titled “Research Perspectives on Historic Virginia Kitchens: Architecture, Slavery and Interpretation.” The event began with a series of sort lectures, the first given by Dr. Douglas Sanford of the University of Mary Washington who spoke about his extensive research of urban slave kitchens within the Charleston, South Carolina area. Professor Kelley Deetz of Randolph College followed speaking about cultural, social hierarchy and tradition as they related to slave kitchens. The lecture portion of the event was concluded with a presentation by Erika Debroekert ‘12 and Christopher Young ’11 of their research completed on the Mary Washington House Kitchen, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The morning ended with a Mac-and-Cheese cook-off, which was judged by symposium attendees. Center Director Dr. Andréa Levi Smith and UMW Junior Susanna Parmelee tied for first place in the competition.

The event concluded with an afternoon tour of the Mary Washington House kitchen led by University of Mary Washington Professor Michael Spencer.

The last sponsored speaker of the semester was Ms. Sonja Ingram, a field representative for Preservation Virginia who spoke at the university on March 21, 2012. Ms. Ingram spoke to students about the numerous projects currently being undertaken by Preservation Virginia in addition to ways in which students and other interested groups might be able to volunteer their time and assist in the ever struggling preservation movement.

On Saturday, April 21, the 2012 Book Prize Committee comprised of Committee Chair Michael Spencer, Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington; Cristina Turdean, Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation, University of Mary Washington, Ashley Wilson, Graham Gund Architect, Historic Sites Department, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Mike Klein, Archaeologist, Dovetail Cultural Resource Group; and Sarah Sanders ‘13, student juror, University of Mary Washington selected this year’s prize winning book: Saving Wright: The Freeman House and the Preservation of Meaning, Materials, and Modernity by Jeffrey M. Chusid (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012).  Please click here for the official announcement and more details about this year’s prize winning book.

The academic year concluded on April 26, 2012 with the end of the year department picnic. Attended by both students and faculty of the department, the picnic served as a final summer sendoff. Musical entertainment was provided by Department Chair Gary Stanton, with Professor Douglas Sanford heading up the coordination of the annual “Egg Toss” contest which was won by Juniors Paige Gibbons and Jennifer Sustar. In addition to these festivities, scholarships and awards for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year were announced , with special recognition being given to graduating seniors.

For more details concerning the happenings of the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington, please visit the department website.


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