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Dr. Lee M. A. Simpson

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History 282E: Historic Preservation

Syllabus:: Objectives:: Assignments:: Grading ::
Text and Materials


  • Download Syllabus (pdf file)

Goals and Objectives::

Course Purpose: This course will provide a general overview of the different aspects of historic preservation, including downtown revitalization, neighborhood organization, historic site management, preservation legislation, preservation education, and historic architecture.  It will also trace the history of historic preservation in the United States.  Much of the class is taught in a laboratory atmosphere with students making on site visits to historic preservation projects.  Students should come away from the class with the ability to identify historically significant structures and sites in their own community and to understand how they fit into a wider context.  The course will combine lectures by the instructor and guest lecturers, videos, in class discussion of assigned readings, and field trips. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the major issues and conflicts in historic preservation
  • Understand federal, state, and local preservation law
  • Identify historically significant structures



Assignment #1: Write a critique of a historic preservation project. Your critique should include:

a) Name and address of historic site
b) purpose of the site
c) audience
d) success in meeting the mission statement of the site (if any).
e) how factual and how much hype?
f) what is the overall message about preservation?

Assignment #2: Write a grant for a preservation project. Follow the guidelines for the appropriate granting institution.

Assignment #3: Complete a national register or state historic register application. Follow the guidelines for the appropriate register.


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Grading will be based on a semester-long preservation project (60 %), a grant application (20%) and a site review (20%).


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Text and Material ::

Required Texts:

  • William J. Murtagh. Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America, rev. ed. (1997)

  • Norman Tyler, Historic Preservation: An Introduction to Its History, Principles, and Practice (2000)

  • McAlester, Virginia and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses (1988)

  • Hamer, David. History in Urban Places: The Historic Districts of the United States (1998)

    All students should request appropriate National Register Manuals directly from the National Parks Service immediately after the first class.


Last Updated November 8, 2002 top of page