Last week, Christina and I had the opportunity to attend the 30th annual Preservation Conference hosted by Preservation Virginia. The conference was in Richmond this year, and many of the speakers and events took full advantage of the presence of so many historic preservation sites and milestones here in Richmond.
As we have for the last two years, VAM co-sponsored a program for historic house museums at the conference. This year, the Historic Structures Roundtable Event topic was Interpreting Preservation, and it took place at Preservation Virginia’s headquarters on Franklin Street. It was great to see VAM members there.
The conference was organized differently than in previous years, with most afternoon concurrent sessions taking place at a local museum or preservation-related venue. I got to visit The Branch Museum, where staff led a discussion of their unique challenges with a Tudor-revival building that has been an office building far longer than it was ever a home. We got a behind-the-scenes (and on the roof!) tour of the home originally built for the Branch family over 100 years ago. I also attended the session at Monumental Church. Long one of my favorite buildings in Richmond, it was wonderful to see it again, and to participate in a discussion on historic structures reports and specifically how the laser technology they used to complete their most recent structures report was a great leap forward for learning about historic construction and issues.
Each morning of the conference, keynote presentations and discussions were offered for the entire group. The first was a recap of preservation in Virginia since the passage 50 years ago of the Historic Preservation Act. The second turned its focus to the future of preservation, and introduced some frightening, but important data on climate change and what that will mean for preservation in the next 50 years. The main speaker for this conversation was Steven Nash, someone who so impressed Christina that we plan to invite him to speak for VAM at some point.
While the audience for the Preservation Virginia conference is very different than for VAM’s conference, it was nice to run into some of VAM’s members during the conference, and to talk with Preservation Virginia staff as well. Congratulations to them on a conference well done!
Photo Captions: Capitol Opening Reception, Keynote with Stephen Nash