It has been a few days since we had to leave cool (and apparently unseasonably rainy) Portland, Maine to return to the humidity that is Washington in the summer, but the thirty-four participants of this year’s Preservation Leadership Training left with a lot more baggage (the good kind, of course). As Robin from Maryland said, “We're back home and all suffering from withdrawal! New friends, a great educational experience, a fabulous city!”
Let’s see what they took home with them:
Preservation Leadership Training Suitcase
- One massive ten-pound notebook filled with written resources ranging from fundraising tips to economics of historic preservation.
- A pocketful of Don Rypkema’s money (good questions everyone!).
- Tools for reenergizing their preservation work in states across the country.
- Maybe a little less sleep….
- And new network of 34 people from across the country that they can talk to on a regular basis.
The Team Project—The Baxter Building
At the dedication ceremony for the Baxter Public Library on February 21, 1889 James Phinney Baxter said: “I have reared a structure of wood and stone. You are to build character.” At the team project presentations this past Friday the five teams attempted to do just that. Each team made proposals ranging from a culinary school to mix use development for art and architecture, a retail arts incubator project, a center for preservation studies and folk arts, and finally the new home for two special collections which would effectively return the Baxter Building to its original use as a library.
These ideas fermented after early morning interviews, late nights and lots and lots of coffee. Additionally, each team pulled from personal experiences and lectures to come up with the five very unique presentations. In the end these projects will help the building’s developer to come up with a preservation friendly plan for the building that is compatible with the Portland community and mindset. As the blue team, quoting Judge Symonds at the dedication in 1889, stated at the start of their presentation, “What is the common possession of all must be preserved in the interest of all.“
Hopefully this group of newly minted Preservation Leadership Training alumni will take the knowledge and experiences gained from this past week and use it in their various capacities in the historic preservation field. As Judy from New York stated:
“I did not know how much I learned until after I came home from PLT. While describing the week to a friend, the amount of material and the practical experience we had with our group project suddenly dawned on me. The curriculum and project worked so well independently and together to make a great training experience”
Thanks for making this week a success! I know I took away a lot of information on preservation programs across the country all while enjoying the wide variety of food that Portland has to offer.
For more information on Preservation Leadership Training visit www.preservationnation.org and http://www.placeeconomics.com/2008/07/preservation-leadership-training.html
Quotations from the Baxter Buildings 1889 dedication ceremony are from the Special Collections at the Portland Public Library.
Photographs by Alison Hinchman, NTHP
Center for Preservation Leadership
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