‘Difficult History’ subject of annual Historic Preservation Symposium

Alex Hurley

The Department of Historic Preservation in the College of Design will address “Conflict, Violence, and Preservation: Interpreting Difficult history” in this year’s annual Historic Preservation Symposium.

There are many speakers attending which include: Anne Thomas, Coordinator of the Stolpersteine project; Bernadette Johnson, superintendent of the Manzanar National Historic Site; Sia Sanneh, senior attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative; and Sean Kelley, the director of interpretation at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

“There is an understandable temptation to preserve and protect stories that make us feel good, stories that show us at our best, great works of historic architecture, sites that validate respect for our heroes,” Doug Appler, assistant professor of Historic Preservation in the College of Design, said. “We aren’t defined by just our best days, but also our worst; without historic sites, we have an incomplete picture of who we were, and where we are today. If we don’t recognize and protect these sites, we are telling a false story about who we are.”  

The event will give the audience a chance to engage with the speakers in discussing conflict, violence, preservation and the importance of continuing the conversation about these historic events.

“You can expect a solid day of thought provoking presentations and discussions by people actively engaged in communicating the significance of four very different sites that reflect ‘difficult’ history,” Appler said.

The event will take place Friday at the Singletary Center for the Arts.