Historic Preservation

Cover of Getty Conservation Institute newsletter showing people working on an ancient mosaic
Recently, the Getty Conservation Center convened a panel for a virtual conversation on built heritage conservation education and training. Frank Matero, professor and chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at Weitzman, and director of the Center for Architectural Conservation, spoke with Tony Barton, chair of Donald Insall Associates in the United Kingdom; Jigna Desai, associate professor, CEPT, chair for the master’s program in Conservation and Regeneration in the Faculty of Architecture, University in India, and executive director, Center for Heritage Conservation; Jeff Cody, senior project specialist, Getty Conservation Institute; and Jeffrey Levin, editor, Conservation Perspectives, The GCI Newsletter. Their conversation is exccerpted here.
Cover of Meskell book
A recent book by Lynn Meskell, a newly appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with an appointment in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, lays out the complex history of UNESCO and its World Heritage program. In an excerpt from A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace Meskell writes that for “conservation to fulfill its midcentury promise for the future, it must strive to include the people who matter most, whose heritage it is, and to consider those who have most to win or lose in the fate of World Heritage sites.”
Lynn Meskell

Photo Eric Sucar

President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett announced today the appointment of Lynn Meskell as the University’s twenty-sixth Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professor. She is the Weitzman School's first PIK Professor.
A person walking down the sidewalk next to a wall painted with a mural

A woman walks by a mural dedicated to Patrice Lumumba in L.A.’s Leimert Park. Photo by Joey Zanotti on Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

This fall, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a report co-authored by alum Di Gao (MSHP’14) that reframes the work of historic preservation as part of a larger struggle for social justice. Released through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, which launched in 2017 with the goal of preserving more sites with significance to Black history, it demonstrates the need to promote equity in historically Black neighborhoods facing the pressures of gentrification and displacement.    
The Weitzman School is launching a new initiative to advance the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage sites relating to African American struggles for equality. Led by Randall Mason, assocciate professor in the graduate program in historic preservation, CPRCS will draw on the expertise of the National Trust for Preservation's Brent Leggs, in the role of senior advisor and adjunct associate professor.
A black tarp covers a pedestal surrounded by CAUTION tape
From the statue of Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia, to those of Albert Pike in DC and Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia, memorials are coming down.
Black and white photo of Standard gas station

Streets of Los Angeles Archive. The Getty Research Institute, 2012.M.1. © Ed Ruscha

Francesca Russello Ammon, an associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning and Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at Weitzman, is part of a team that has been awarded an $86,000 digital humanities grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Sunset over Sunset, as the project is called, will tap the vast body of photographic work by legendary Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha which has been begun to be digitized by The Getty Research Institute (GRI) to analyze small-scale urban change in a manner never before possible.
White wooden sided two story home with workers on scaffolding in front

Photo Nancy Pierce courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation

A recent panel discussion brought together alum Monica Rhodes (MSHP’12) and Randall Mason, associate professor and faculty director of the Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites, who shared ways that the historic preservation field is moving toward being a more inclusive practice. “Valuing the cultural authority of black communities is crucial,” Rhodes said.
A group of women dressed in white uniforms pose for a 1934 photograph.

Courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum

As Americans navigate the pandemic and economic downturn, elected officials and activists alike have called for ambitious new public initiatives the likes of which we have not seen since the 1930s.
panoramic photograph of students, masked, in a cemetery.

A panorama of socially distanced students at the Woodlands

June Armstrong (HSPV/CPLN ’23) describes the new and unprecedented experience of the Historic Preservation Summer Institute as the 2020 cohort started their Penn careers from the comfort of home.
The National Park Service and  Preservation Maryland logos

Sara Stratte (MSHP '18) received a $5,000 grant to pursue a unique self-directed project under the guidance of a mentor, Stratte will research non-destructive technology to document seismic damage on historic adobe.

Sara Stratte (MSHP '18) received a $5,000 grant to pursue a unique self-directed project under the guidance of a mentor, Stratte will research non-destructive technology to document seismic damage on historic adobe.
Black and white photo of an ocean coast with a sculpture of a man in the waves

Antony Gormley sculpture, “Another Place,” on Crosby Beach, Merseyside, at high tide. (Peter Williams, Historic England)

In an essay from the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation’s Change Over Time journal, Meredith Wiggins, senior environmental analyst at Historic England, describes the importance of heritage to understanding how climate gentrification and heritage are inextricably linked, and outlines the importance of heritage to understanding how climate gentrification will shape landscapes, cities and neighborhoods in the future.

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