Stewarding History into the New Year (Winter 2023)

Past Matters Winter 2023; posted on 02/27/2023

A Note from the Executive Director

By Anjali Kaul Zutshi

A belated, but a very happy New Year to you all! We are happy to be back with our first issue of Past Matters for 2023. 

February is a busy time for the Friends as we co-hosted with the Texas Historical Commission the annual Real Places conference. Real Places 2023 was held in Austin, and in spite of the harsh weather this year, we had a record number of participants in what has become the premier historic preservation conference in Texas. We want to thank all of our sponsors, especially our title sponsor Phoenix I Restoration and Construction, LLC, for their continued and generous support of Real Places. 

The conference was hybrid, with a full in-person conference as well as virtual sessions. We launched the event with a unique audiovisual performance from Montopolis, combining history, music, and the Texas landscape. Nationally and internationally renowned speakers like Caroline Klibanoff of Made By Us, Joe Veneto of Veneto Collaboratory, Dan Goodgame of Texas Monthly, John Phillip Santos from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Jeff Greene of Evergreene Architectural Arts, and Texas native and the new chair of the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Sara Broninparticipated in the conference as keynote speakers, and another 70+ speakers presented during workshops and general sessions. Planning for Real Places 2024 is already underway, and we look forward to sharing additional information with you about the venue and dates soon. 

Winter is also the time when the Preservation Scholars Program application process is open. If you know of students who qualify for participation in this program, please share the information about the application process with them and encourage them to apply. The application period closes on March 19. 

I also want to take this opportunity to once again thank the Clay Family Trust for their support of this program through their 2016 Matthew and Larutha Odom Clay Endowment gift, which allows us to bring in a student from Prairie View A&M University for an internship placement. As we celebrate Black History Month this February, it is our privilege to recognize the story and history of Matthew and Larutha Odom Clay and their legacy of educational excellence, which allowed the Clay Family Trust to make this incredibly generous gift in support of this program. Please consider making a gift in support of this or any other Preservation Scholars endowments, so, we can continue providing this unique learning opportunity. 

Many of you have stayed connected with us through our regular virtual programming. We are back this month with our 2023 slate of programming and look forward to sharing fun and interesting presentations on topics ranging from the state’s painted churches to the history of the grapefruit in Texas, and everything in between. We hope you will join us for these events and help us continue to grow and deepen the connections to community that history and storytelling can provide. While these events are free, several of you have chosen to support us with a gift, for which we are truly grateful. Your gifts impact these connections in hugely positive ways, helping us preserve these stories, histories, and rich legacy for future generations. We hope you will continue to support us, and join us as we bring new content to youyou can find information on upcoming events at 

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission—warm regards! 

Anjali Zutshi, Executive Director