Sessions | 2020 Annual Meeting & Conference

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WELCOME & Kathy Rodriguez Keynote Presentation - Thursday October 15 10:30am - 11:30am

Welcome remarks from Mike McGrath, PDI President and Tim Slavin, Director, State of Delaware Historical & Cultural Affairs.  Keynote presentation from Kathy Rodriguez, City of San Antonio Preservation Office.

SESSION 1– Thursday October 15, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Flipping the Paradigm: Preservation as the Foundation of Sustainable Economic Growth

Chair/Moderator: Alex Tarantino, PDI Board Member and Education Committee Chair

This session will function as a Q & A discussion about the state of historic preservation and how to make preservation a priority today and in the future. Participants will use the Tom Mayes essay, “Changing the Paradigm from Demolition to Reuse – Building Reuse Ordinances,” as a starting point for discussion. Mayes provocatively suggests a unique solution to the issue of demolition and neglect of historic structures -- to establish a “building reuse ordinance” that promotes widespread preservation based on the need for environmental sustainability, rather than just “historic significance.” His essay touches on several important topics and issues facing preservationists today: What are the goals/purposes of historic preservation? How can we make historic preservation a priority for those outside of the field? What are the benefits/drawbacks to preservation legislation/policy, and is it effective? How do we decide what warrants preservation? Panelists will come from a variety of professions, some preservation-related/adjacent, in an effort to engage with those from different backgrounds and consider various perspectives on preservation. 

All panelists will be provided with a copy of Tom Mayes’ essay in advance so they can review and reflect on it. The essay will also be made available to conference participants ahead of time for their review as well. The moderator will provide the panel with various questions to consider in their review and in advance of the discussion on the day of the session. Each panelist will be asked to give a short (~5 minutes) presentation about their thoughts on the essay/questions and then a discussion will follow.

Download Tom Mayes essay HERE



SESSION 2 – Friday October 16, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Making Preservation Public: Disseminating 50+ Years of Research & Documentation

Chair/Moderator: Michael Emmons, Jr., PDI Board Member & Special Consultant to the PDI President

Calling all historical researchers!

Despite more than 50 years worth of National Register nominations, archaeological reports, and architectural documentation projects, much of the general public -- and even historians -- remain unaware of the huge body of historical information that has been generated by practitioners and filed away in the SHPO offices and other Delaware repositories. This session aims to shine light on the valuable historical literature existing in these Delaware institutions, and also to discuss how the stewards of these collections can make such information more available to researchers and the general public.



SESSION 3 Friday October 16, 3:00pm – 4:30pm

Climate Change, Cultural Resources, & Historic Preservation: Mapping & Mitigating the Effects

Chair/Moderator: Wade Catts, PDI Officer

Climate change--and its accompanying sea-level rise and storm surges--promises to have an increasingly challenging effect on historical resources in Delaware, which has the lowest average land elevation in the United States. Since coastal areas and rivers often attracted some of the earliest settlement and development, the archaeological sites, historic districts, and other cultural resources in these areas are often particularly vulnerable when water levels rise. This panel discussion will explore how we can anticipate these problems through GIS mapping, and will also consider how to best preserve threatened historic resources through both adaptation and documentation.



Leslie Canaan, Keynote Presentation & SESSION 4 – Saturday October 17, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Leslie Canaan, Senior Field Officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation (10:00am - 10:30am), and Session 4, Inclusivity and Diversity in Delaware’s Historic Preservation Programs (10:30am - 12:00pm)

Chair/Moderator: Marion Werkheiser, Cultural Heritage Partners

Nationwide, scholars and practitioners are challenging the implicit biases that are encoded in our historic preservation programs and historic sites. From the National Register process and related tax credit programs, to gentrification and its social effects, to interpretation of difficult historical events and problematic monuments, thoughtful discussion is leading to a widespread reconsideration of historic preservation programs and how they affect underrepresented communities, and how to reconsider and reinterpret sites related to their histories. This panel aims to explore these issues in Delaware -- to consider the unique challenges inherent in recognizing, interpreting, and preserving underrepresented resources, and to discuss how we might attempt to make historic preservation more inclusive and beneficial for all.

REGISTER: Register for both Leslie Canaan Keynote and Session 4


PDI Business Meeting - Saturday October 17, 1:30pm - 3:00pm


1:30PM                       Welcome & Call to Order – Michael McGrath

1:35PM                       Final 2019/2020 Budget Review - Bryan Hudson

2:00PM                       Committee Chairs Updates

·       Coffin Gardens - Jules Bruck

·       Advocacy - Special Advisor to the President Dee Durham

·       African American Cultural Resources Task Force - Abdullah Muhammad

·       Education - Alex Tarantino   

2:40PM                      President Report, 2020 Review & 2021 SWOT analysis - McGrath                       

3:00PM                      Executive Director Update - Jay McCutcheon

3:20PM                      Election of Officers & New Board Members - Mike McGrath, Election Committee


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