Dr. Henry’s work to commemorate the Freedom Riders featured in the Freelance Star

Three recent graduates of our program are conducting work at Gari Melchers Home and Studio in Falmouth, Virginia. As employees of Dominion Traditional Building Group of Marshall, Virginia, Sam Biggers (Class of 2016, middle), Lawrence King (Class of 2020, left), and Hunter Shackelford (Class of 2020, right) document, demolish, repair, and reconstruct the Horseshoe Staircase at Gari Melchers Home and Studio. This ca. 1850 staircase is a distinctive architectural feature and a powerful example of the work carried out by enslaved black people at Belmont for their enslaver in the decades before emancipation. Visitors are expected to see the renovated staircase at the end of October.  

HISP alums at Gari Melchers Home and Studio
Discover some of our recent student work

The Historic Preservation Club’s 37th annual Ghost Walk was a success! On October 15-16, 2021, 270 guests braved the haunted tour of downtown Fredericksburg. After downsizing last year due to COVID-19, two new sites, the Masonic Lodge and the Rising Sun Tavern, were added this year. The club thanks everyone who came out to this event, as well as the community partners who made the Ghost Walk possible.

Since 1981, the Historic Preservation Department at the University of Mary Washington has taught a multi-disciplinary approach to the theories and practice of preservation as it has evolved in the United States culminating in a Bachelor of Arts in Historic Preservation. The Department stresses developing student understanding of the intellectual practices of: history, architectural history, archaeology, museum studies, preservation law, land use planning, and principles of architectural conservation, as well as the ethical and technical understanding of how public policy decisions are made and affect the survival of historic resources. Each student undertakes documentation and directed research on historic buildings, sites and structures in the region, first through classroom exercises and then at the upper level through personal research projects.

We focus on the past but are prepared for the future, offering hi-tech instruction in an unpredictable educational environment.

The Historic Preservation Department prepares students for work in the fields of preservation, cultural resource management, museum management, as well as further work toward graduate degrees in archaeology, history, architectural history and conservation, urban planning, and museum studies.

HISP Office Hours


Contact the HISP Department Chair: Prof. Michael Spencer mspen1bi@umw.edu (540) 654-1311