Center for Historic Preservation

Established in 1980, the Center for Historic Preservation is a research and public outreach organization affiliated with the Department of Historic Preservation. The Center has two main missions that govern its activities:

  1. The Center supports the undergraduate academic major in Historic Preservation by sponsoring lectures, workshops, symposia and conferences; by organizing fieldwork and international study opportunities for students and faculty; and by sustaining activities that expand opportunities for students to participate in preservation-related research. To this end, the Center participates actively in local, regional and international preservation organizations.
  2. The Center supports Historic Preservation activities by offering public programs, by undertaking cooperative research, by providing professional services and technical assistance to organizations, property owners, and local governments and agencies.

The Center facilitates the Department of Historic Preservation’s newsletter. Annually the Center awards the nationally competitive Historic Preservation Book Prize.

UMW CHP Book Prize

The Center for Historic Preservation at The University of Mary Washington seeks nominations for its 2020 Historic Preservation Book Prize. Established by the Center in 1988, the Historic Preservation Book Prize is awarded annually by a jury of preservation academics and professionals to the book with the most potential for positively impacting the discipline of historic preservation in the United States. In making its selection, the jury focuses on books that break new ground or contribute to the intellectual vitality of the preservation movement. Entries may come from any discipline that relates to the theory or practice of historic preservation. Nominations may be made by any source.

In order for a book to be eligible for the 2020 Historic Preservation Book Prize, it must be available in the United States between January 1, and December 31, 2019. Letters of nomination and seven (7) copies of the nominated book must be postmarked by January 5, 2020, and sent to:

Cristina Turdean
Center for Historic Preservation
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue, Combs 135
Fredericksburg, VA 22401-5300

Announcement of the book selected for the 2020 Historic Preservation Book Prize will be made during Preservation Week in May 2020. The author will receive a check in the amount of $500.00 and will be invited to deliver a lecture at The University of Mary Washington. Both the author and the publisher will receive certificates in recognition of the award. N.B: Second and later editions of previously published texts will not be considered for the Book Prize unless substantial revisions to the book’s contents have occurred. Publishers are urged to contact the Center ( if they have any questions regarding this stipulation.






Michèle Valerie Cloonan The Monumental Challenge of Preservation: The Past in a Volatile World


Caitlin Desilvey Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving


Catherine Fleming Bruce The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good Through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements


Barbara Miller Lane Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs, 1945-1965


Marta Gutman A City for Children; Women, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland, 1850-1950


Françoise Bollack Old Buildings New Forms


Paul Hardin Kapp and Paul J. Armstrong SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City


Jeffrey Chusid Saving Wright: The Freeman House and the Preservation of Meaning, Materials, and Modernity


Lois Olcott Price Line, Shade and Shadow


Edna E. Kimbro and Julia G. Costello with Tevvy Ball California Missions: History, Art, and Preservation


Stephanie Yuhl A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston


Alison Isenberg Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It


Nancy S. Seasholes Gaining Ground, A History of Landmaking in Boston


Susan L. Klaus A Modern Arcadia: Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and the Plan for Forest Hills Gardens<


Joseph C. Biggott From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago, 1869-1929


Daniel Reiff Houses from Books: Treatises, Pattern Books, and Catalogs in American Architecture, 1738-1950


Richard Longstreth The Drive-In, The Supermarket, and The Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941


Roy R. Rosenzweig The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life


Kenneth E. Foote Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy


Mike Wallace Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory


Elizabeth Collins Cromley and Carter Hudgins Gender, Class, and Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture


Carl R. Lounsbury An Illustrated Glossary of Early Southern Architecture and Landscape


Martha K. Norkunas The Politics of Public Memory: Tourism, History, and Ethnicity in Monterey, California


Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar The Park and the People: A History of Central Park


Daniel Bluestone Constructing Chicago


Catherine W. Bishir, Charlotte V. Brown, Carl R. Lounsbury and Ernest H. Wood Architects and Builders in North Carolina: A History of the Practice of Building

1990 (tie)

Samuel N. Stokes and A. Elizabeth Watson and others Saving America’s Countryside: A Guide to Rural Conservation

1990 (tie)

T. H. Breen Imagining the Past: East Hampton Histories


David Lowenthal The Past is a Foreign Country

Recent CHP Activities

2018-2019 Book Prize
Michele Valerie Cloonan, Monumental Challenge of Preservation: The Past in a Volatile World

2018-2019 Preservation Lecture Series
Julia King (September 2018): Researching Rappahannock Indian History: Archaeologists and Tribal Members Working Together
Caitlin DeSilvey (February 2019) – winner of the Book Prize 2018: Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving
David Givens (February 2019): The Angela Site: An Archaeological Study of Race, Inequality, and Community in Early Jamestown
Student Choice Lecture: Kate Wagner (April 2019): McMansion Hell

2018-2019 Workshops

Dendrochronology Dating (October 2018)
Tax Credit (November 2018)
College Heights Neighborhood Association (November 2018)
Historic Lime Mortar Repointing (April 2019)

2018-2019 Student and Alumni Events
Grad School Fair (November 2018)
Career Fair (March 2019)

2018-2019 Grants
Project: Prince William Forest Park Cultural Landscape Field School
Grantor: Prince William Forest Park
Grantee: Prof. Michael Spencer

Project: Permanent Exhibition for John J. Wright Education and Cultural Center Museum, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Grantor: Virginia Humanities
Amount: $3,000
Grantee: Prof. Cristina Turdean

Project: Processing of 2018 Survey of Nomini Plantation
Grantor: 2019 Threatened Sites Grant, Virginia department of Historic Resources
Grantee: Prof. Lauren McMillan

Project: Archaeological Field School 2018
Grantor: sub-award from St. Mary’s College of Maryland: “Rappahannock Rover Valley Survey”
Grantee: Prof. Lauren McMillan

Older CHP Activities

2017 Student Choice Lecture

In its second year, the student choice lecture, sponsored by the Center, provides students with the opportunity to invite someone that they feel is making a positive impact in the field of Historic Preservation. This year their choice was Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project.


Preservation Club President (2016-17), Sarah Rogers and President Elect (2017-18), Gracie Hardy stand with Joseph McGill.

Center for Historic Preservation Book Prize (2017)

Established by the Center in 1988, the Historic Preservation Book Prize is awarded annually by a jury of preservation academics and professionals to the book with the most potential for positively impacting the discipline of historic preservation in the United States.  The book prize was awarded this year (2017) to Catherine Fleming Bruce for her book, The Sustainers: Being, Building and Doing Good through Activism in the Sacred Spaces of Civil Rights, Human Rights and Social Movements.


Catherine Fleming Bruce’s Book “The Sustainers”, winner of the 2017 UMW Center for Historic Preservation Book Prize.

2016 Preservation Lecture Series

During the 2016 fall semester the UMW Center for Historic Preservation sponsored its second lecture series entitled “Re-imagining Ruins”. The series consisted of four speakers who presented on how they are working to interpret vanished cultural landscapes and buildings.

  • “The Menokin Glass Project”, Calder Loth
  • Landscape, Preservation, and Reconstruction…Why can’t We be Friends?”, David Muraca
  • Reconstructing the Spatial Footprint of Richmond: Connecting the Past and Present”, Justin Madron
  • “Returning Slavery to the Plantation Landscape: The South Yard at James Madison’s Montpelier”, Jennifer Glass

Historic Structures Inventory and Integrity Assessment of the Blue Ridge Parkway (2014-2015-17)

The UMW Center for Historic Preservation received $13,670 in funding from the National Park Service to assist in  the processing of data collected as part of a National Historic Landmark nomination for the Blue Ridge Parkway.  During the process two UMW students, Linda Komp and Heather Kennedy, entered survey information from the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway into the Virginia Department of Historic Resources VCRIS system.  The project was led by Assistant Professor Michael Spencer.

Pope-Leighey House Wood Conservation Workshop (2015)

Students participated in the conservation of the wood siding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House in the spring of 2015 by sensitively removing years of dirt and grime.  The workshop was facilitated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the UMW Center for Historic Preservation.