Historic Preservation in Modern American Cities: A Three-Part Course with Sheila McElroy

Historic Preservation in Modern American Cities: A Three-Part Course with Sheila McElroy


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This course is for anyone interested in learning what's at the core of every historic preservation project in America. From small towns to our largest cities, buildings are retained for hundreds of years – sometimes for the same purpose, and other times for a new, adaptive use. Utilizing the National Park Service's Secretary of the Interior Standards as the basis for the coursework, we will explore how and why buildings are designated historic (it's not always pretty), and how modern solutions can keep them operating for another hundred years.

Led by an expert on historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization Sheila McElroy, this course will dig deep into how and why historic buildings survive, or not, in modern cities. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with increased awareness and understanding of historic preservation principles and practices and see old places in a new way.

Please download (for free) this course reading material here.

Lecture 1: Why are Properties Considered Historic and Why Do We Care

In our first session, we’ll discuss the four areas of historic assessment, and how to use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.

Lecture 2: Understanding Context and Historic Integrity, and Why it Matters

In our second session, we’ll examine and discuss why some buildings are saved, others demolished, and whose stories matter.

Lecture 3: Historic Buildings in Modern Cities

In our third and final session, we’ll explore how things change and seek to answer the question: how do cities genuinely honor the past while accommodating the needs of modern American cities?

Please download (for free) this course reading material here.

Sheila transplanted from New York to San Francisco in 1994. She was principal of her own historic preservation consulting firm for over 15 years. Recently she began a travel blog to inspire folks to discover lesser-known San Francisco neighborhoods and take a fresh look at familiar landmarks. Sheila earned her Master's Degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. Sheila brings her unique background in historic preservation/architectural history, destination management, and travel guide experience to provide discerning travelers with an insider’s knowledge of San Francisco – her home of almost 23 years. She loves an adventure, whether around the world or around the corner.

How does it work?

This is a three-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $105 for three lectures.

Is a recording available?

Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording after the event.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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