Accessible Commemoration: Navigating Barriers to Sharing Undertold Stories


The preservation field is currently grappling with the inadequacies in representation in the National Register of Historic Places, and cultural heritage professionals in the United States are increasingly striving to address similar challenges on the local level. This session will explore three case studies that were developed to navigate the traditional barriers to celebrating undertold stories, making commemoration more accessible, establishing innovative partnerships, and creating more inclusive commemorative landscapes.

CE Credits:
Jul 15, 2022 10:15 AM

Rachel Rettaliata

Rachel is a historic preservation specialist with the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), where she reviews modifications to historic structures as part of the Design Review Team. Rachel coordinates the local Historic Tax Incentive program and developed a Cemetery Stewardship Program for historic city cemeteries in collaboration with the Parks & Recreation Department. Rachel and her colleague Jessica Anderson designed and implemented the OHP Local Markers Program with the input of community partners with the mission to celebrate fun, obscure, meaningful, and previously untold stories by highlighting locations tied to these stories through an interactive map and public engagement. Rachel earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from The University of Texas at Austin; her thesis focused on U.S. investment in the preservation of international sites of trauma as a form of heritage diplomacy.

Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson is an historic preservation specialist with the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation, where she reviews demolitions and designations as part of the ScoutSA Program. Her primary areas of interest are documentation and interpretation: she researches and writes historic narratives for assessments of properties across the city, assesses them for eligibility under the city’s Unified Development Code, and leads workshops that teach citizen historians how to research their properties and neighborhoods using tools largely available for free through the public library. As part of a small team of OHP colleagues as well as a citywide working group, she helped design and implement OHP’s Local Markers Program, which includes two programs that aim to celebrate underrepresented histories in San Antonio. She and colleague Rachel Rettaliata work with content producers at Texas Public Radio to create the web series “There’s A Story Here,” which airs via Facebook and YouTube. Jessica earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from The University of Texas at Austin; her thesis presented models for the treatment of historic and aging motels and motor courts.

Michelle Michael

Michelle Michael, Historic Preservation Planner, Town of Wake Forest (Wake Forest, NC)

Wade Broadhead

Wade Broadhead is a senior planner for the city of Pueblo, Colorado. He is working to incorporate Hispanic history into the city’s preservation program, with a focus on expanding outreach to more diverse communities and broadening the types of sites featured. He is working on highlighting “hard history” within the city by engaging the community residents directly affected by the events, and spearheaded the Pueblo Modern Project, a citywide inclusive historic context titled “In Pursuit of the American Dream: Pueblo in the Modern Age 1940-1982,” and won the Colorado Governor’s award in 2013. The study was part for the Neighborhood Heritage Enhancement Program which conducted neighborhood historic contexts throughout the city. He has a Bachelor’s in Geology with an anthropology focus from Western State College of Colorado. Mr. Broadhead has served as an NAPC trainer since 2013.


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