Written by Priya Chhaya
I feel like it was just yesterday that we were all sitting in the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas as the lights dimmed for a peek into our next gathering in upstate New York…and then this began to play.
Now with only 14 days left, tasks are being checked off, speakers are being reminded, and plans for lunches are being finalized. So I thought I would put together a daily reminder list for myself, including some advice for my fellow conference goers.
October 5: (Day 1) Read and post Countdown to the National Preservation Conference: Fourteen Days To Go! Some of these have to be easy to complete!
October 6: (Day 2) Download a copy of the Final Program (paper versions will be available on site) for an initial read. What are the sessions I want to check out? What sites do I want to make sure I see?
October 7: (Day 3) Look up information on the special speakers, James Howard Kunstler and Isabel Wilkerson. Give in to the history geek in me and read Isabel Wilkerson’s book about the Great Migration. (I’m a fast reader, if all goes well I’ll have it done before I get on the plane on the 16th).
October 8: (Day 4) Question to my readers—did you buy all your field session tickets and luncheon tickets? At this point these are going fast! Don’t forget to buy them before you get to Buffalo! For a list of sessions visit the trip planner at www.preservationnation.org/conference. That’s what I’m doing today!
October 9: (Day 5) Today I’ll be working on final touches for the Forum Lunch. If you are a Forum Member, don’t forget to sign up for the interactive Forum Lunch on Saturday October 22, I promise you it will be the perfect way to cap off the conference.
October 10: (Day 6) Make sure to bookmark the National Trust Facebook page. This is just one of the social media platforms we will be using to keep those unable to attend the conference up to date. Which reminds me of another important bookmark—the National Preservation Conference homepage. More on this in the coming week, but trust me—if you are unable to attend the conference, this is where you’ll want to be for all the livecasts, tweets, and other social media goodness.
October 11: (Day 7) Make sure materials for the first ever Forum Unconference are ready. What is the Forum Unconference? Check out page 48 of the PDF (46 in the program) for the full description. The short version: The Forum Unconference provides an alternate track where you determine the topics and issues for discussion. This conference within a conference allows you to set the agenda, ask the questions, meet the people, and get the ideas most critical to achieving your preservation mission. Friday, October 21 1:15-5:15pm.
October 12: (Day 8 ) Run around the Office to the Rocky Theme. One week to go. Ahhhh!
October 13: (Day 9) Set my DVR. For the next week television doesn’t exist. After all when you’re about to interact with over 1500 preservationists who has the time to stare at the boob tube?
October 14: (Day 10) Since I’m blogging about the National Preservation Conference on my personal blog, I need to make sure I have my camera and my computer. I also need to make sure to bring my personal tweeting device so that I can communicate out about the great sessions to my fellow preservationists at home. Are you plugged in and are tweeting from the conference? Use hashtag #presconf or follow us @PresConf.
October 15: (Day 11) Pack. Pack. Pack. Electronics charged? Fall weather gear packed? According to www.weather.com the average temperatures for the week are low 60’s. Note to self—bring the Emergen-C. There is no way I’m pulling a Nashville where I got sick for the whole conference.
October 16: (Day 12) Fly out to Buffalo! Pssst. Today is the last day to Pre-register for the conference. Prices go up with onsite registration!
October 17: (Day 13) First day of set up! Study the map of Buffalo so I can give directions to attendees. Everything is very close by, but it doesn’t hurt to keep one close at hand. Open boxes, help set up registration, which opens today at 3!
October 18: (Day 14) Preservation celebrity sighting day! Watch as attendees trickle in to pick up badges. Catch up with colleagues from across the country.
October 19-22: Drumroll please ... Let the 2011 National Preservation Conference begin!!
As conference staff I know I won’t be able to attend as many sessions as I would like, but there are a few special events on my MUST ATTEND list: The Opening Plenary and Reception, both General Sessions, The Awards Ceremony for the National Preservation Awards, The Premiere of Buffalo Unscripted, and the Closing Plenary—and if you are coming on Tuesday swing by The PLT Pub Quiz (proceeds go to the Preservation Leadership Training scholarship fund!)
Finally I thought you would want to check out this article about how Buffalo has been gearing up for our arrival—if the level of excitement in the preservation world for this conference is slowly is gathering steam, the preparations from Buffalonians is roaring forward.
See you in two weeks at the National Preservation Conference, and keep an eye on this channel for information on how you can participate in the conference from the comfort of your living room couch, or office chair, or coffee shop ... anywhere you want.
Priya Chhaya is a Program Associate in the Preservation Division at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While she is really, really, excited about the conference this year (no seriously: really, really excited), she wants to know where July, August and September went. How is it October already?