The Historic Preservation Program
Historic Preservation focuses on the maintenance, conservation, advocacy, and interpretation of historic sites and structures and on cultural resource management. Historic Preservation provides opportunities for students to gain a deeper and richer understanding of America’s cultural and ethnic diversity and the ramifications of technological innovation and social change on people’s quality of life.
Mary Washington was one of the first academic institutions in America to establish an undergraduate curriculum in historic preservation and the first to establish an independent Department of Historic Preservation – now one of the largest undergraduate program of its kind in the nation. The department offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in Historic Preservation that acquaints students with a broad range of activities, methods, and theoretical perspectives. Students in the program may emphasize historic architecture, building forensics, folklore, archaeology, preservation planning, material culture, or museums in their course work.
Historic Preservation majors explore the theoretical, ethical, and philosophical issues that surround preservation practice. The acquisition of research and analytical skills is stressed and substantial fieldwork, laboratory, or research assignments are woven into most courses. The academic program of the department is strongly enhanced by the research and public education programs of the UMW Center for Historic Preservation.
The historic preservation program benefits by the location of the University in Fredericksburg, a city with an exceptionally rich history. Intellectual and professional skills are developed through intensive, hands-on involvement in preservation activities in the area, and opportunities exist for similar experience abroad. Students design and fabricate museum exhibits, carry out archaeology projects, conduct architectural surveys, and prepare diagnostic reports for local historic sites, structures and districts. Students interact with the local and University community through the activities of the student-organized Preservation Club. Special financial assistance is available for historic preservation students through a number of scholarships which are described within the Department’s website: http://cas.umw.edu/hisp.
Requirements for the Historic Preservation Major
Thirty-six (36) credits including HISP 100, 105, 200, 205, 207, 209, 305, 320, and 405; three credits from among 461, 462, 463, or 469; six credits from among 206, 208, 302, 303, 308, 309, 313, 323, 325, 327, 345, 360, 467, 470, 471, 491, and GEOG 250. HISP 499 is strongly recommended but does not count toward requirements for the major.
Historic Preservation Course Offerings
Historic Preservation course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of HISP in the course listings.
100 – The American Heritage (3)
Survey of the history of historic preservation and the practice of historic preservation with emphasis on the legislation, policies, and methodologies that form our present national, state, and local preservation system.
105 – The American Built Environment (3)
Survey of America’s architectural, cultural, and historical resources; analysis of the historic, social, economic, political, and environmental forces from both “the Old World” and “the New World” which have shaped them.
200 – Introduction to Museum Studies (3)
Survey of the history, philosophy, and management of museums, including curatorship and public interpretation.
205 – Documentation and Fieldwork (3)
Prerequisites: HISP 105. Methods of documentation and analysis of historic sites and structures through historical research, measured drawings and photographs.
206 – Introduction to American Folklore (3)
General survey of the forms of folklore found in the United States in the twenty-first century along with the methodologies and theoretical perspectives used in the analysis of folk forms.
207 – American Archaeology (3)
Introduction to field and laboratory methods and interpretive issues of North American archaeology, with emphasis on historical archaeology.
208 – Introduction to Conservation (3)
Overview of conservation as a specialized professional discipline, including the field’s history, ethics, and common practices for documentation, stabilization, analysis, and treatment.
209 – Planning History and Practice (3)
Introduction to the theories, methods and practical applications involved in the field of planning at the state and local level. Introduction to preservation planning.
302 – Preservation Law (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 100.Examination of the development and application of preservation law and policy in the United States, through the analysis of case law, legislation, and private techniques.
303 – Archives and Society (3)
Examination of the theory and practice of archival work, including the preservation, organization, and cataloging of manuscript collections.
305 – Historic Building Technologies (3)
Prerequisites: HISP 205. Intensive overview of the evolution of American building from early dwellings and towns to the glass and steel towers that dominate post-modern skylines. Special emphasis is given to building materials, technologies, and the development of structural systems.
308 – Cultural Resource Management (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 100. Examination of how historic preservation services are provided in legal and contractual contexts within the public sector. Topics include resource assessment, organizational management, proposals and budgets, and ethics.
309 – Preservation, Landscape, and Land Use (3)
Prerequisites: HISP 100. Survey of current land use issues and the impact on cultural resources.
313– Museum Education (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 200 or ARTH 315. This course give an introduction to the main theoretical and methodological approaches in the field of museum education, including learning theories, museum interpretation, and development of learner centered program aimed at conveying knowledge and experience to museum visitors of all ages.
317 – Museum Collections Management (3)
Prerequisites; HISP 200 or ARTH 315. This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of collections management in museums. Lectures, class activities, and hands-on projects provide students with a holistic view of collections management, including the care, preservation, and documentation of artifacts. Main course topics include collections management politics, museum registration methods, cataloging, preventive care and conservation, security, insurance, and the ethics and law of collections management.
320 – Material Culture (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 205. Interpretation and analysis of material culture in pre-industrial and modern American societies, with emphasis on research perspectives and methods.
323 – Heritage Tourism (3)
Examination of contemporary, market-centered approaches to Historic Preservation. This seminar explores the formulas of presentation and representation of heritage as attractions within the Tourism industry.
325 – Vernacular Architecture in America (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 205. A seminar in the research models, methods and theoretical approaches used to study commonplace architecture in the United States.
327 – Analytical Archaeology (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 207. Exploration of a selected series of archaeological topics at an advanced, analytical level. Incorporates an examination of how archaeological data are analyzed with respect to research objectives, theoretical concepts, and cultural interpretations. Class format based on student discussion and shared learning.
345 – Computer Applications in Historic Preservation (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 205. Introduction to the major applications of computer technology in Historic Preservation, including development of database structures, documentation using vector drawings, and the employment of three-dimensional modeling. Through projects that are specific to the practice of historic preservation students gain new means of documenting, interpreting and analyzing cultural resources.
360 – International Preservation (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 100. Examination of the origins and programs of major international preservation organizations such as UNESCO, ICOMOS and ICCROM and a survey of international preservation practice and projects in countries around the globe.
405 – Advanced Methods in Historic Preservation (3)
Prerequisites: HISP 305. An intensive survey and research-based study of building resources, with emphasis on the identification and analysis of sites and structures in their geographical, historical, and socio-economic contexts. Focus on assessing and writing National Register of Historic Places nominations.
461 – Laboratory in Building Forensics (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 305. Examination of the fundamental principles of building forensics related to the effects of time, gravity, humidity, temperature and light on building materials. Fieldwork monitoring and analysis of deterioration in historic buildings, including masonry, wood, metal and coatings.
462 – Laboratory Methods in Archaeology (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 207. Laboratory procedures for the processing, identification, analysis, and interpretation of artifacts, with emphasis on quantitative analysis and collections management.
463 – Laboratory in Museum Design and Interpretation (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 200 or ARTH 315A or permission of instructor. Examination of the principles of museum exhibit design and interpretation, including participation in exhibit preparation.
467 – Field Methods in Archaeology (3)
Prerequisites: HISP 207 or permission of the instructor. Fieldwork-intensive introduction to the techniques for sampling, excavating, recording, and interpreting archaeological sites. Summer only.
469 – Laboratory in Preservation Planning (3)
Prerequisite: HISP 405. This laboratory course expands on the methods and information learned in HISP 405 by providing students with practical experience in preservation planning at the local level.
470 – Historic Preservation Abroad (3)
Introduces students to the historic resources and to the public and private systems for historic preservation in another country or international setting. Participants investigate principal preservation organizations, methodologies, and standards. Participants engage in intensive fieldwork and sponsored projects. Summer only.
471 – Special Studies in Historic Preservation (3)
Seminar on a topic in historic preservation.
491 – Individual Study in Historic Preservation (Credits variable)
Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Intensive individual investigation of a significant research problem under the direction of a faculty member.
499 – Internship in Historic Preservation (Credits variable)
Prerequisites: HISP 100, 105, additional course work in Historic Preservation appropriate for the internship, and permission of the instructor. Field experience with a preservation- related institution or group outside the University. Does not meet major requirements.