The University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation engages UMW Historic Preservation students and the preservation community in a number of ways. Below is a selection of the Center’s current and past projects, events, and initiatives.
Cultural Landscapes Inventory Summer Field School – Prince William Forest Park (NPS)
During the summers of 2019 and 2020 University of Mary Washington Historic Preservation and GIS students worked with Professor Michael Spencer and National Park Service personnel at Prince William Forest Park to conduct a series of cultural landscape inventories for the parks C.C.C. era cabin camps. During this time students honed their research and documentation skills as well as learned new methods associated with the interpretation of large scale landscapes. These new methods included learning how to use GPS in conjunction with cultural landscape survey methods defined by the National Park Service.
Mortar Re-pointing Workshop at the Mary Washington House
During the spring of 2020 the University of Mary Washington, Center for Historic Preservation partnered with the Washington Heritage Museums, Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc., Kjellstrom & Lee, and Dominion Traditional Building Group to conduct a mortar re-pointing workshop. The objective of the workshop was to provide students as well as community members with a free, hands-on opportunity to learn traditional lime re-pointing methods. At the same time the workshop would address needed Portland cement remediation on the rear (west elevation) of the historic Mary Washington House. Due to the scale of the project the number of participants were limited but included three UMW students and three community members.
Dendrochronology Study at the Mary Washington House
Simply put, dendrochronology is an accepted method of dating historic buildings using tree rings. While there is lots of science and database creation behind this process, UMW students were just exposed to the basics during a fall 2018 study of the Mary Washington House done by Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory. This study was funded in part by the Center for Historic Preservation as well as the Stuart Jones Charitable Trust. Ultimately the south wing of the Mary Washington House, where Mary lived, was dated to 1759, indicating that it was built by none other than Fielding Lewis!
Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference (REARC)
The Center for Historic Preservation helped support the Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference during the start of the fall 2019 semester. This conference provided UMW students an opportunity to try their hand at using some of the historic techniques used to manufacture items which they not only study but might one day excavate. Such experiences offer additional insight and allow for a deeper understanding of cultural artifacts.
Permanent Museum Exhibition “For the People Had a Mind to Work”: A Century of African American Education in Spotsylvania County – John J. Wright Education and Cultural Center, Spotsylvania, Virginia
The Center for Historic Preservation serves as a grantee in applications for external funding that support student-faculty projects. A $3,000 grant from Virginia Humanities made possible the completion of a new permanent exhibition at John J. Wright Museum in Spotsylvania. 250 sq.ft. of new museum displays were planned and installed by Professor Cristina Turdean and the students enrolled in her Museum Exhibitions course in Spring 2019.
Lecture “Ordinary Treasures: The Material Culture of the Enslaved” (February 2020)
Some of our lectures are organized in partnership with local museums and historic preservation organizations. Scholar Marta Katz-Hyman presented her research on the material culture of enslaved people at the invitation of the Center for Historic Preservation and James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. The subject of this talk supported the research interest that our students and faculty have in the subject of diversity in historic preservation.
Lecture “Virginia Tribes and the Challenges of Smithsonian Repatriation Efforts” (November 2019)
In support of the Native American Heritage Month, which is observed every year in November, Dr. Dorothy Lippert, Tribal Liaison with the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, lectured on the challenges of repatriation of Native American artifacts in the museum’s collections. Several representatives of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia were in the audience.
Workshop “Introduction to historical surveys and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources standards” (October 2019)
The mission of the Center for Historic Preservation is to link the resources of our department with those of the preservation community at local, regional, and national level. For several years, Professor Spencer has been assisting the College Heights Civil Association in Fredericksburg with information on preserving the character and physical integrity of their neighborhood. In two recent workshops, College Height residents learned about historical surveys and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources standards.
Grad School Fair (November 2019)
Every fall, as some of our majors prepare to apply for admission in grad school, the Center for Historic Preservation organizes a grad school fair, whose panelists are recent alumni of our program. They hold graduate degrees in historic preservation disciplines (i.e. urban planning, museum studies, anthropology/archaeology, historic preservation) and are employed in the field. The fair has an informal format, with current students asking questions on topics ranging from preparing for the GRE test and selecting a graduate program to financing studies and employment prospects.
2019 Book Prize Lecture “The Monumental Challenge of Preservation: The Past in a Volatile World” (September 2019)
Every year since 1988, the Center for Historic Preservation has been conferring the Historic Preservation Book Prize to the book with the most potential for positively impacting the discipline of historic preservation in the United States. As the 2019 winner of the Book Prize, Dr. Michele Valerie Cloonan, Dean Emerita and Professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, gave a talk on her book The Monumental Challenge of Preservation. The Past in a Volatile World published by The MIT Press.
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 Indigenous Cultural Landscape Survey.”
Grantee: Prof. Lauren McMillan
Project: Analysis of the Nomini Plantation (44WM0012) Archaeological Collection
Grantor: 2017 Threatened Sites Grant, Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Grantee: Prof. Lauren McMillan
Alumni Talks, Danny Messplay (September 2019)
Student Choice Lecture: Kate Wagner (April 2019): McMansion Hell
Career Fair (March 2019)
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
Julia King (September 2018): Researching Rappahannock Indian History: Archaeologists and Tribal Members Working TogetherCollege Heights Neighborhood
Tax Credit Workshop (November 2018)
Grad School Fair (November 2018)