Today I spent the morning going on the Overview tour, I’ve never done one before and since I felt like I didn’t see much of the city last year in Spokane, I decided to do it this year.
I found it great to give an overview of the history of the city, it also focused on several preservation saves in the City. Most of the tour was done on a bus (wish I took a window seat) which was good because it was raining. Our first stop was at Bulter University at the Hinkle Fieldhouse, apparently a cathedral to Basketball. It is a 1920s indoor stadium. They’re undergoing restoration currently, so it was cool to hear about the combination of sport and preservation considerations. The stop was also about the experience, they brought out Trip, the bulldog mascot, and allowed people to shoot hoops on the basketball court.
The second stop was the Indiana Landmarks headquarters, a Methodist church that was brought back to life by the organization. The sanctuary was stunning, and the theater’s wood paneling was impressive. The church, and adjacent house also owned by them, was rescued from demolition by a local preservation hero. The highway was planned to knock down large tracks of land in the neighbourhood, including these two buildings, but due to advocacy the route of the highway was changed slightly. Today you can see it out the windows, a constant reminder of their almost fate.
The highlight for me, was a cool project in the city: a 1920 baseball stadium which was converted to lofts. The project was not completed with any tax credits, because of a change from outdoor to indoor space that occurred. However, the lofts sold out. It’s an example, that sometimes our guidelines stifle creativity. The sale of the lofts also show that creative and authentic spaces are big draws.
Politics, PR, Preservation and Prentice
This session was amazing. I did not get to stay for the whole thing, since I had to prep for my presentation, but I was enthralled.
The efforts to save Prentice weren’t getting local traction with decision makers, so a collation of five local organizations brought it national in the hopes that other people/mayors would weigh in, and put pressure on the city. To do this, they hired a professional PR firm. They worked with the firm, and did not just let the firm take over.
• Dozens of sold out events
• Strong local coalition of five key partners
• Over 75 earned media stories (you play a role in gaining the story)
• 80 architects world wide signed letter of support
• 4000+ petition signers
• 200+ supporter commission hearing
• Over $850, 000 in pro bono professional services
• Nearly $500, 000 raised in funding
• Estimated total publicity value of $416,000
• Over 2 million impressions from digital ads
The key message from the session was that you need to set the course for your campaign. You need to decide on the objectives, audience as well as your assets and liabilities.
To decide the objectives, all the partner organizations meet to decide, should you focus on adjacent buildings, do you need to save the building in current form, or would alterations be ok.
Regarding Audiences, you should consider who are your audiences? What do they currently believe? What do you want them to believe? To get a sense of the views of the general public, ask people outside preservation (e.g your friends, your mom).
New Media, New Audiences
My session was of course on social media. I got to present with an amazing group of ladies: our moderator Julia Rocchi, Dana Saylor of City of Night, Meagan Boco of Histpres.com, and Michelle Kimball of Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. We each did 7 minutes on case studies of projects we’ve been working on. I learned so much from each of them, from incorporating more photos to using your network more to spread the message of your event. We hen we broke out into small groups for questions and helping people deal with their social media issues. People were then asked to tweet about their take-aways or action items, either online or on paper! We like to make people work for it.
Saving Tribal Resources: Overview of Proposed Guide
I went to this short power session on a proposed guide. They reviewed several recent lawsuits going on and the outline for the proposed guide by the National Trust. Its going to be a great guide once its completed. In the meantime, you can look at the Guidelines for evaluating and documenting traditional cultural properties – Nation Register Bulletin (#38).
The rain put a bit of a damper on this event. I’ve gone the past two years in Buffalo and Spokane, and its always my favourite event. I love seeing how people chose to restore and decorate their properties. This year’s houses did not disappoint! I loved that many of the houses had historic photos or drawings on the walls, incorporating them into the décor of the house. The houses in the area were large, but for many years were run down, so the current owners were for the most part trailblazers in bring the neighbourhood back. There were various approaches, from restoring it themselves to working with contractors. The houses were styled from complete restorations, to more modern interiors. There was even a sympathetic modern home on the tour. I really liked how the tour not only focused on the historic aspect of the buildings, but also how they were restored, it brought in the preservation aspect and made me dream even more about buying and restoring a house!
Today I went on the Modernism tour of Columbus. I chose to go on this tour because I don’t know a lot about modernist architecture, nor do I come across it a lot in my work. So with a title like “Discover Columbus: A Mecca of Modernism” how could I resist?
On the tour on they way there (about 45 mins on a bus) they showed two videos about the city and the most infuencial citizen, J Irwin Miller, who started the modernist crazy in the city. It was a good background on the man, who took over a struggling part of the family business in town (the Cummins Motor Factory) and made it into a Fortune 500 company. Because of this influence he started the Cumming Foundation Architectural Program, which offered to pay for the architects fees for public buildings if they were able to narrow down the list of architects, and thus provide more innovative structures for the city. Under this agreement, the first project funded was the Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary School.
The last stop of the day, was the most stunning, the Miller house, built in 1953. It was a collaboration of three professionals at the height of their carrers: Eero Saarinen (architect), Alexander Girard (interior designer) and Dan Kiley (landscape architect).
This year is my third year attending the National Preservation Conference. I think I have a rhythm now for preparing. Here are the four things I do before I go:
1) Read the conference program and chose my sessions
I’ve finally had a chance to read though the program and chose my sessions. Its always hard because there are so many great offerings. I try to get a good balance of tours, session related to work I’m currently doing, as well as some new exciting ideas.
2) Research the location
One of the best parts of going to these conference is seeing the highlights and heritage projects of the host city. This time I’ve booked two tours, and I’ve also researched places I want to ensure I see including the Indiana Historical Society, Oldfields Lily House and Gardens and the White River State Park.
3) Read about the topics & speakers
Its helpful to know about bit about the people you’re going to listen to, or the theme of the conference before you go. Luckily, the Trust has taken some of the work out of this and given three reading list related to the three morning sessions:
4) Pack my tools!
I bring with me both my cameras, my point and shoot and my DSLR, and of course their chargers and my card read. I also bring my computer, not only to take notes, but also so I can blog at the end of each day. Of course I also have a paper note book too, that gets my list of to-dos and ideas to follow up on!
What do you do to prepare for conferences?
This year’s National Preservation Conference will host the third annual #builtheritage chat tweet up!
If you participate in the chat, just follow the hashtag on twitter, or just want to meet some of the coolest social media and preservation folks, join us!
The tweet up will take place:
After the opening plenary at the Athenaeum (site of the opening reception), upstairs by the maroon banquette at 7:15 p.m. Take the elevator to get to the second floor.
I’m so excited to announce that I’m speaking next week at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Indianapolis.
The session is called New Media, New Audiences: Case Studies in Social Media.
Its on Thursday October 31 from 3:00-4:30 pm.
I’m presenting with a great group of ladies who are going to tell their amazing social media stories, and it will be unlike any conference session you’ve ever attended! I won’t tell you why, but trust me you’ll want to be there.
To get you antiquated with some of the things we’re going to touch on, here is a list of our top social media tips:
And here is our panel:
I hope to see you at the session!