Office of Undergraduate Research

Picturing Milwaukee: Conserving Local Heritage

Project Picturing Milwaukee: Conserving Local Heritage is a summer research field school that aims to address a limitation in the current understanding of historic preservation. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation ecological conservation and sustainable stewardship concepts can produce an expanded understanding of our built heritage as part of a larger ecosystem and contribute to an enhanced understanding of the urgency of protecting our heritage. Recent experiences with historic preservation battles fought in the City of Milwaukee have taught us that successful practice of historic preservation must include the viewpoints of diverse stakeholders within this expanded understanding of our physical, cultural and ecological heritage. Our objective is to find ways to integrate values of environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and sustainable development into the discourse of historic preservation. In order to achieve that goal, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukees Departments of Architecture and Public History have teamed up with Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, and local neighborhood associations in creating a collaborative summer field school  where neighborhood residents, community groups and scholars share their knowledge of local heritage and ecology. As part of this project, every summer students will work with nationally renowned experts to collect stories of neighborhood heritage and accounts of residents relationship to their local ecosystem. This project is significant because it rethinks the way we practice preservation and reimagines the way we read a city. At the end of each summer we expect to produce a monograph listing stewardship strategies that complement more traditional approaches to historic preservation, produce exhibits of neighborhood places of cultural relevance using criteria suggested by the residents themselves, and disseminate a series of 4-minute multi-media documentaries.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Student Tasks: We expect the interested student participant to help produce multimedia documentaries and monographs from field school data. Tasks will includes the following: 1. Work with field school students to collect information necessary to produce a final project monograph. 2. Get trained in using Adobe suite software for desktop publishing and production. 3. Get trained in multimedia programs such as Reaper® and Audacity® to create short documentaries. 4. Work with students and Professor Sen to examine, analyze and interpret information collected during the field school to produce visual and text reports.