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Press Release

May 9, 2014

Larry O'Dell

Historic Preservation ABCs - Oklahoma's 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference

NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office will host Historic Preservation ABCs: Oklahoma's 26th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference, June 4-6, 2014, in Norman, with most events on the University of Oklahoma campus. Conference registration and sessions will be held in Gould Hall, 830 Van Vleet Oval, home of the OU College of Architecture. Registration is now open at http://iqc.ou.edu/events/preservation. The basic registration fee is $40.00 per person until May 28.

Fifty-four Oklahoma preservation leaders and guest speakers from across the country will participate in the conference, which offers three concurrent tracks of sessions and several special events. A few highlights are described below:

Commission Assistance Mentoring Program (CAMP) is an intensive one-and-a-half-day training opportunity for design review commission members, local government staff and others. It is a program of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), and it is cosponsored by Preservation Oklahoma, Inc. and the State Historic Preservation Office. NAPC faculty will discuss how local historic preservation ordinances work and their benefits to local preservation initiatives. Specific topics to be addressed include legal issues (authority to enforce local preservation zoning, property rights issues, economic hardship concerns, etc.); design review standards; commission procedures and ethics; identifying and designating local districts and landmarks; and generating public support for historic preservation. The faculty includes Wade Broadhead, land use and preservation planner, City of Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado; Roxanne Eflin, owner/principal, Preservation Planning Associates, Buxton, Maine; Rory Hays, attorney at law, Phoenix, Arizona; and John Williams, founding principal, John Williams I Architect, Snohomish, Washington. CAMP will be presented on June 4 and 5, and there is a $25 fee for attendance in addition to the basic conference registration fee.

Preservation planner Elizabeth Watson, principal, Heritage Strategies LLC and coauthor of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Saving America's Countryside: A Guide to Rural Conservation" (Johns Hopkins University Press) will offer ideas for broadening any community's historic preservation agenda in a two-part workshop on Friday morning, June 6. "Encouraging Historic Preservation through Heritage Tourism" (Session 1) and "Encouraging Historic Preservation through Presenting your Community's Stories" (Session 2) are designed as either stand-alone or companion sessions. Heritage tourism is the tourism business generated by those who are traveling for pleasure to visit a historic site, museum or historic community. Heritage tourists stay longer and spend more money than other tourists, and they expect a quality visitor experience. The heritage area concept provides a framework for sharing the history and culture of a geographic region. These sessions introduce the heritage area approach, highlight case studies, and provide an opportunity for participants to consider how Oklahoma communities can benefit from similar initiatives.

The conference will conclude with Friday afternoon's Plenary Session. The Oklahoma Main Street Center sponsors the featured speaker, Linda Caldwell, who will present "Preservation: A Bridge to Saving America's Rural Places."Caldwell is the founder and former executive director for the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association (TOHA), a program that began in 1990 as a pilot project for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Heritage Tourism Initiative."TOHA is a national model for successful cultural tourism. Its mission is to promote and preserve the natural and cultural resources of McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties through cultural tourism. Caldwell has more than thirty years of experience working in the nonprofit sector on cultural tourism, community arts, rural economic development and preservation.

Many other sessions and events are on the agenda, including a special program at the headquarters of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey; Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.'s annual meeting and luncheon with featured speaker Joe Watkins, supervisory anthropologist and chief, Tribal Relations and American Cultures, National Park Service, Washington, D. C.; the State Historic Preservation Office's awards banquet; the opening reception on Norman's Main Street; and tours of local landmarks.

The conference provides a special opportunity for design professionals. Conference sessions qualify for HSW hours needed to fulfill requirements of the State of Oklahoma's Board of Governors of Licensed Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers.

Joining the Oklahoma Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office as conference cosponsors are the Oklahoma Main Street Center, Oklahoma Department of Commerce; Preservation Oklahoma, Inc.; University of Oklahoma, College of Architecture and Institute for Quality Communities; City of Norman; Cleveland County Historical Society; Norman Arts Council; Norman Chamber of Commerce; Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau; Norman Downtowners; and Oklahoma Archeological Survey.

To request a registration brochure, contact Melvena Heisch, deputy SHPO, at 405-522-4484 or mheisch@okhistory.org. The registration fee is $40 per person if you register by May 28, and there are optional ticketed events. The fee is $50 per person after the deadline or at the door. Information about the conference is also available at http://www.okhistory.org/shpo/conferencedetails.htm.

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