Does Williamsburg Still Matter?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Villa Terrace Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202

"Does Williamsburg Still Matter?
Preservation and Storytelling in the 21st Century" Free Lecture
by Jeff Klee, Architectural Historian – Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Contact Associate Professor Arijit Sen for more information about lecture.

Lecture Summary: Jeff will discuss how the practices of architectural research and historic preservation have evolved at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) since 1928, emphasizing the ways in which modern scholarly methods at CWF can inform the study of very different times and places. Modern, field-based scholarship proceeds from a generous understanding of the social qualities of architecture; it is bolstered by a rigorous empiricism and a high level of care in recording historic buildings; and it is sustained by an ability to find delight in many aspects of building. This work is motivated, above all, by a particular interest in preserving the stories of ordinary buildings and their inhabitants. Looking closely at a wide range of buildings—from tobacco barns to plantation houses; from Cold War tract houses to architect-designed mansions—permits architectural historians to develop an understanding of the broadest possible cross-section of social life and to ensure that modern preservation can work on behalf of entire communities, not just privileged institutions.

About Jeff Klee: Since 2004, Jeff Klee has worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the Department of Architectural and Archaeological Research, whose work he is easing into the digital age. His work for CWF includes an active program of field-based architectural research, the design of reconstructions in Williamsburg's Historic Area, and scholarly publications and presentations. Principally, he conducts fieldwork around the Chesapeake region and along the eastern seaboard, from the North Shore of Boston to Savannah, Georgia but he has also done work in Milwaukee, Bermuda, and Great Britain. Recently, he completed designs for the reconstruction of the Revolutionary-era armory complex in Williamsburg. Outside CWF, he sits on the City of Williamsburg's Architectural Review Board, the editorial board of the journal Buildings and Landscapes , and serves as co-editor of the image archive of the Society of Architectural Historians, SAHARA. Jeff has degrees from Yale and the University of Delaware, where he is completing his dissertation on Boston's Beacon Hill.

About the Field School The Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) collaborative project at UW Milwaukee and Madison is an interdisciplinary research track concentrating on the examination of the physical, cultural, and social aspects of our built environment. The program serves students enrolled in UW Milwaukee and Madison campuses with diverse research interests, including urban and architectural history, cultural landscapes, urban and rural vernacular architecture, material culture, public history, and environmental history. Fieldwork is an important aspect of this program and a cross-campus fieldwork school is a special offering of this project. The BLC summer field school provides students an immersion experience in the field recording of the built environment and cultural landscapes and an opportunity to learn how to write history literally “from the ground up.” The BLC field school won the 2013 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. This year, the BLC Field School focuses on the ethics of ecological stewardship and historic preservation practiced in the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood (HWTN) of Milwaukee. Nationally recognized faculty directing portions of this school include Jeffrey E. Klee , Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Anna Andrzejewski , Associate Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michael H. Frisch , Professor and Senior Research Scholar, University at Buffalo, Jasmine Alinder , Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Michael Gordon , Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Erin Dorbin , photographer, historian and community organizer. The field school is directed by Associate Professor Arijit Sen , Department of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee