By Susan West Montgomery, National Trust for Historic Preservation
This year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference, PastForward, kicks off a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act with educational opportunities, Field Studies and networking events. PastForward, to be held Nov. 3-6 in Washington, DC, will convene the diverse and expansive constituency of preservation players in the nation’s capital, from individuals to elected officials, federal agencies to architects, scholars to activists. Online registration closes on Friday, Oct. 30 — after that date, preservationists can register onsite. For more information, visit http://www.PastForwardConference.org.
Core conference programming provides focused education and new ideas in order for attendees to elevate the role and expand the meaning of their preservation work within their communities. Programming this year emphasizes urban strategies, federal innovation and excellence, and telling a more inclusive story by featuring multiple voices and experiences. Finally, we will launch a rich and engaging discussion about the future as we approach the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Groundbreaking Discussions at TrustLives
Back again this year are the four marquee PastForward presentations, TrustLive. Launched at last year’s conference in Savannah, not only did the TrustLive presentations draw record numbers (including overflow seating in an additional theater for the first TrustLive), but more than 800 virtual sites tuned in live from around the world to participate. Viewing parties with more than 30 attendees participated virtually and joined the discussion on Twitter, expanding these discussions to reach a much broader and more diverse audience. Virtual attendance during the TrustLive presentations is free and open to the public.
The first TrustLive, preservationFUTURE, looks ahead to the next 50 years, including how we can adapt and grow to respond to the ever-changing landscape of the movement. At preservationVOICES, sponsored by the National Park Service and the Kellogg Foundation, you will hear from those using place to seek justice, foster inclusivity and tell the full American story. Sponsored by The 1772 Foundation, preservationURBAN explores the tools and solutions to take preservation to scale in our downtown communities, with particular focus on property redevelopment, creative financing and Main Street approaches. Finally, the last TrustLive, preservationINNOVATION, brings the work of federal agencies into the spotlight, as these agencies play a critical role in the stewardship of our nation’s heritage and are often on the front lines of innovation. This TrustLive is sponsored by Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, General Services Administration and US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Telling the Story of Local Preservationists
In addition to educational sessions and TrustLives, Field Studies highlight preservation in the host city, sending attendees into the field to explore local preservation projects and connect with the people who are defining preservation within the local community. Since we’re in Washington, DC, this year, attendees are afforded the opportunity to explore not only the host city, but also get to learn from local efforts in Virginia and Maryland through these half-day and day-long activities. This year Field Studies explore the intersection of arts and preservation in Baltimore and learn from the stories of Maryland Rosenwald schools. It’s apparent that attendees are excited to explore the DC metro area as many Field Studies are already sold out.
Celebration and Inspiration at the National Cathedral
PastForward isn’t all about education and training—networking is a key component to the conference, and the number one networking event is the opening reception. Not only does the reception follow the first TrustLive, preservationFUTURE, but it serves as the venue to celebrate the National Historic Preservation Act and the Historic Tax Credit. This year, the Opening Plenary and Reception take place at DC’s beloved treasure, Washington National Cathedral. This is a special experience for attendees to spend time in a spectacular historic treasure, not just to the city of DC but the entire nation.
One Day Options
If you can’t make it for the entire conference, there are several one day options that are ideal for local preservationists. From one day conference passes to day-long, skill-building Preservation Leadership Training (PLT) Intensives to a morning focused on inclusivity in preservation, there are conference options to fit any schedule. The PastForward Diversity Summit also has free programming that’s open to the public. The Conversation and Panel Discussion on Organizational Leadership and National Partnership (Wednesday, November 4, 9:00-10:15 a.m.) will start a powerful discussion on how we must work together to engage more communities of color, women and the LGBTQ community to preserve the places that tell the full American story.
We hope you will join us at PastForward 2015!