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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

24th Annual RI Statewide Historic Preservation Conference

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Saturday, April 25, 2009 At University of Rhode Island-Kingston

April 16, 2009 --The 24TH Annual Rhode Island Statewide Preservation Conference will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2009 from 8:30am to 6pm at the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus and nearby sites. Organized by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC), the conference considers the theme of “Preservation Steps Out.” Our subject is the preservation of outdoor places—historic farms, woodlands, shorelines, campuses, and rural villages.

At the Opening Session, URI President Robert L. Carothers will welcome attendees to historic Edwards Auditorium on the campus quadrangle. Keynote speaker Steve Taylor is a dairyman and the former Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food for the State of New Hampshire. His talk, “Cows, Countryside, and Community: Can the Working Landscape of Rural New England Be Saved?” will consider the region’s delicate balance of forest, farms, and development. Taylor will discuss what is working and what more can be done to preserve New England’s rural landscape, using strategies from the agricultural, conservation, and preservation communities. The lecture will be followed by a Plenary Discussion that draws on the themes of the Keynote Address and relates them to local trends.

Following the Opening Session, participants will join a series of discussions, workshops, and tours. Panel topics include preserving barns and farms; conserving open land; the threat of rising sea levels, campus heritage and campus planning, and the economics of preservation during a downturn and recovery. Tours include walks through Kingston Village, the URI campus, and the mid-century modern Biscuit City neighborhood; bus tours of local farms, Shannock Village, and coastal Matunuck; and a bicycle trek along the former Narragansett Pier Railroad, now the William C. O'Neill Bike Path.

One of the highlights of the conference will be the opportunity to explore the University’s historic center campus. Thomas Frisbie-Fulton (Director of Capital Planning and Design), Ron Onorato (Honors Professor of Art History), Sandy Taylor (University Architect Emeritus), and Robert Weygand (Vice President for Administration) will lead a campus tour. Stops will include the old Oliver Watson farmhouse (1796) and newly rehabilitated Lippitt Hall. Professors Margaret Ordoñez and Linda Welters will lead a tour of the Historic Textile and Costume Collection, Textile Gallery, and Textile Conservation Laboratory, and Acting Head of Special Collections Sarina Wyant is featured in a panel about disaster planning for cultural institutions. Several graduate and undergraduate students are planning to volunteer for the day.

Funding for the conference is provided by a National Park Service grant administered by the RIHPHC, with additional support from AIA/RI; Preserve Rhode Island; Rhode Island PBS; Roger Williams University School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation; Salve Regina University; The Preservation Society of Newport County; ABCORE Restoration Company; Architectural Preservation Group; Armory Revival Company; Belvoir Properties, Inc.; Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; Cornish Associates; Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects; E.W. Burman; Gates, Leighton & Associates; Gray & Pape, Inc.; Heritage Restoration, Inc.; KITE Architects; Lerner, Ladds + Bartels, Inc.; Lincoln Mills, LLC; Nadeau Corporation; Newport Collaborative Architects; PAL; P. Schurman Contractors, Inc.; RGB; The Foundry Associates/The Promenade; The Ocean House; The Peregrine Group LLC/PK Rumford LLC; The Washington Trust Company; Urban Smart Growth; and West River Center.

The 24th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference is a great opportunity to learn about new initiatives, discuss issues, and network with experts in the field of historic preservation. The registration fee is $40, which includes morning coffee, lunch, and a closing reception. Pre-registration is closed, but you can register for the conference on site at Ballentine Hall, beginning at 8am on April 25. To register or request more information, call 401-732-1009, or visit our website www.preservation.ri.gov/conference/

Contact: Sarah Zurier, Special Projects, 401-222-4122/szurier@preservation.ri.gov