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Workshops share strategies for local preservation

May 17, 2016

Leading Locally

To kick off Preservation Month on May 6, Historic New England and the Massachusetts Historical Commission hosted the first of three workshops in the series Leading Locally: Preservation Strategies That Work. The series is designed to help professionals and volunteers charged with the preservation of historic districts and buildings.

Thirty-five members of local historic district commissions, along with professional staff from ten preservation commissions across Massachusetts, gathered at Historic New England's Codman Estate in Lincoln for a training workshop focused specifically on the challenges they face.

Local historic district commissions, which review and approve exterior changes proposed for some of Massachusetts’ most significant historic properties and areas, operate under state statute but rarely have the chance to come together to share information about their work. The May 6 workshop covered all aspects of historic district commission operation. Most importantly, it gave the group a chance to collaborate and learn from professional staff on a range of issues they deal with every day, from the Secretary of Interior’s standards for preservation treatment, to case examples covering typical alterations, to a mock public hearing taken from an actual application.

By engaging this specialized audience around a central issue in preserving local heritage, Historic New England aims to share expertise and help strengthen preservation advocacy at the local level. Two more workshops on rarely discussed topics for local preservationists are scheduled for June 10 (Introduction to Establishing and Administering Preservation Restrictions) and September 9 (Caring for Municipal, Museum, and Non-Profit Property).

Learn more and register here.

May 6 workshop

Posted by Susan Sherwood on November 8, 2016
Rockton, Illinois has a rather new Historic Commission, which I have just been appointed to. The information exchanged at your May 6 and June 10 workshops would be of enormous benefit to us, is there any way to access? We are using the Sec. Int. standards as a beginning, but things like a mock hearing would be a big help for our little town. There are many Greek Rev. homes here to protect, only one landmarked so far, 1850 limestone Federal which I was wildly lucky to buy in Dec. 2015

Leading locally preservation strategies

Posted by Sally Zimmerman on November 8, 2016
Wouldn't it be great if we could attend all the useful programs that pop up all over? In terms of where to look for advice on working for preservation locally, each state has a State Historic Preservation Office which is a conduit for localities on information about preservation advocacy. A mock hearing is a great way to "test" out a historic district commission's procedures. You might contact a more experienced historic district commission in your area for help setting up a mock hearing as a training session for your commission to get more familiar with some of the ups and downs of running a district.


Posted by Susan Sherwood on November 8, 2016
Thanks, Sally. I was hoping someone had recorded these sessions ... I was on the Historic Sites board Village of Wayne, Ill. for @ 6 years, has an Historic District designation which is easier to work with than historic homes mixed w/ those much newer. I will share your ideas at tomorrow night's meeting.

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Workshops share strategies for local preservation