Historic Preservation

 Workers in hard hats operate machinery at a stone temple

Photo: Lynn Meskell

In a new course for students at Weitzman and across the University, celebrated archeologist Lynn Meskell—who was appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor and the Richard D. Green University Professor in 2020—is deepening the investigations she documented in her award-winning book A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace.
Weathered single-story white wood-sided structure with red roof in a wooded setting

Photo: Sarah Lerner for CPCRS

The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites (CPCRS) at Weitzman and the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science at Tuskegee University have each received a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build capacity among Black-led institutions to reimagine, redesign, and redeploy historic preservation to address the needs of the historical places, organizations, and communities devoted to the legacy of civil rights. The initiative entails training the next generation of preservation professionals to take on the cultural and technical work needed to redress the imbalances in what heritage places get preserved and conduct research into best practices in all areas of historic preservation work.
A cluster of red earthen structures under expanse of blue sky in the desert

Photo: National Park Service

The Center for Architectural Conservation at Weitzman has received a $1.3 million grant from Getty to develop a conservation and management plan and professional training program for Wupatki National Monument in Arizona. Wupatki National Monument and its sister Monuments, Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater Volcano, are unique in North America for their exceptionally well-preserved archeological record, their geographical diversity, and their ancestral significance to Northern Arizona American Indian communities. As part of its engagement at Wupatki, the Penn team and partners will also expand professional training, cultural heritage education, and career discovery opportunities for Native youth focused on the conservation of American Indian ancestral sites.
Portrait of Erin Tobin in front of nature trail

Photo by Jayana LaFotos, courtesy of Erin Tobin.

Erin Tobin, alumna of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, has been named the new Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH).
South facade of the Pennsylvania Hospital's Pine Street building

Courtesy Penn Medicine

Pennsylvania Hospital has been in continuous operation at the current site in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood since 1755. Recently, the hospital commissioned a Conversation Management Plan from the Center for Architectural Conservation to help guide planning and upgrades for the Pine Street building, grounds and collections; it's being developed by Kecia Fong (MSHP‘99), a lecturer in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and Starr Herr-Cardillo (MSHP‘17).
Cover of Change Over Time 9.1, with text reading A Heritage of War, Conflict, and Commemoration
Change Over Time is a semiannual journal of the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment based at the Weitzman School and edited by Frank Matero, professor and chair of historic preservation, and Kecia L. Fong (MSHP’99), managing editor and lecturer. The latest issue focuses on the heritage of war, conflict, and commemoration. Articles in this issue examine sites including Pearl Harbor, Sarajevo’s “Tunnel of Hope,” and contemporary migrant camps in Thessaly, Greece, an excerpt of which appears here. In “Sites of Refuge in a Historically Layered Landscape: Camps in Central Greece,” Kostis Kourelis, an associate professor of art history at Franklin & Marshall College, writes about the potential commemoration of recent political turmoil, using refugee camps in Central Greece as an example. The article has been edited and excerpted for brevity. The complete article can be accessed through Project Muse.
Two photos side by side: Ali Cavicchio in the field and Ying Wang in front of a big arched door

Ali Cavicchio (MSHP '22, left) and Ying Wang (MSHP '23, right) will update the Program's blog with news from students, faculty, alumni, events, site visits, and more.


The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation would like to introduce the new Student Communications Assistants, Ali Cavicchio (MSHP '22) and Ying Wang (MSHP'23).
Students gather for lecture in lush green cemetery

John Carr lectures during tour of Old Swedes Cemetery. Photo courtesy Kecia Fong.

The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation greeted its incoming students—live and in person—at the Summer Institute, a two-week program filled to the brim with lectures, site visits, and walking tours.
Birdseye view of grassy site with red-roofed L-shaped structure

Photo Kwesi Daniels

Launched last fall, Weitzman’s Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights sites is fostering new and ongoing partnerships while preserving the legacy of civil rights in the U.S.
Grand interior space of an old building with elaborate metal staircase
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia announced its 2021 Preservation Achievement Awards for exemplary historic preservation projects. Many Weitzman alums had a role in the list of 24 projects that received Grand Jury Awards. The awarded projects range from the refurbishment of the industrial Huntingdon Mills building into housing for workers in the health and human services field, to the conservation of the tympanum panel on the pediment of the First Bank of the United States, to the restoration of the soaring interior of The Bourse.
A young Black woman in a fur coat sings at a microphone

Image: University of Pennsylvania/Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs

For hundreds of years, there’s been a history of erasure and forgetting of Black heritage and achievements, not just in Philadelphia, but in America in general. Weitzman's Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites is working to change that through partnerships with organizations like the Marian Anderson Museum, the residence of the legendary American artist-activist.
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.