Erica Avrami, PhD, is the James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, an affiliate with the Columbia Climate School's Center for Sustainable Urban Development, and co-director of the Adapting the Existing Built Environment Earth Network. She also serves as an expert member of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation. Her research and teaching extend the heritage enterprise beyond a practice focused on sites and buildings, exploring preservation as a form of public policy that functions across geographic scales and diverse demographics. She interrogates the intentions, processes, and outcomes of historic preservation in relation to social justice and the climate crisis, and seeks to transition heritage tools and policies toward equity, resilience, and decarbonization. Recently published works include Preservation, Sustainability, and Equity (2021), Preservation and Social Inclusion (2020), Preservation and the New Data Landscape (2020), Values in Heritage Management (2019), as well as studies examining policy challenges and opportunities, including Energy and Historic Buildings: Toward Evidence-based Policy Reform and Confronting Exclusion: Redefining the Intended Outcomes of Historic Preservation. Her latest book, Second-Order Preservation: Social Justice and Climate Action through Heritage Policy, is forthcoming in fall 2024 from the University of Minnesota Press.

Photo credit: Flagler Museum©

John Blades grew up in California not far from Hearst’s San Simeon estate, whichopened to the public in 1959 as the Nation’s largest house museum and was laterdesignated as a National Historic Landmark. During his two decades at Hearst Castle,John held a variety of positions including Assistant to the Director, Senior Photographer,and Head of the Public Affairs Office. Perhaps the Nation’s most ambitious collector,Hearst’s broad collecting interests and the amazing time in which he lived inspiredBlades to pursue an understanding of America’s Gilded Age.

As Executive Director of the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum since 1995, John Blades has overseen the complete restoration of Whitehall and the construction of the first public building built in the Beaux Arts style in more than six decades. During his tenure, the Flagler Museum was designated a National Historic Landmark, re-accredited three times by the American Alliance of Museums and was one of only five museums in the Nation to receive those honors as well as the Ross Merrill Award for its Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections. Today, the Flagler Museum isFlorida’s premier house museum and one of a very small group of house museums considered among the best in the Nation.

Photo Credit: Scarlett Freund

Rosa Lowinger is the Founder and current working conservator at RLA Conservation, LLC. With over 35 years of experience as a conservator of historic buildings, monuments, sculpture, and contemporary art, Rosa is also the only working conservator who writes regularly for general audiences to promote conservation of materials and historic preservation. She holds an M.A. in art history and conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, the Association for Preservation Technology, and the American Academy in Rome. Her full-length books include Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub (Harcourt: 2006, 2016), Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction (FIU: 2016),  and Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair (Row House Publishing: 2023).

FORUM 2024

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