Real Places 2024 Round Up and Save the Date (Summer 2024)

Past Matters Summer 2024; posted on 6/7/2024

The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission (FTHC), in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission (THC), was delighted to present the 8th annual Real Places Conference in Austin on April 3-5. A beacon of opportunity for the historic preservation community, the conference brings together historic preservation officers, historians, county historical commissions, architects and engineers, archaeologists, curators, interpreters, managers of museums and historic sites, scholars, students, as well as Texas Historical Commission staff and partner organizations to network with and learn from one another. This year, the conference set a new record for registrations. One look at the incredible lineup of workshops, events, and keynote presentations and it’s clear why!

This year’s conference featured a schedule of events that delighted and fascinated attendees. Many reported being inspired by the powerful keynote speeches of Douglas Brinkley: bestselling author, professor of history at Rice University, and Presidential Historian for CNN; Sina Bahram: PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University where he researches Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and accessibility; Brian Luallen: Chief Executive Officer of Fair Park First, a 277-acre National Historic Landmark that welcomes over six million annual visitors; and Sarah Miller: Regional Director for Public Archeology Network.

With workshops on timely and important topics like “By and for Everyone: Building a More Inclusive Preservation Movement” and “Separate and Unequal: Preserving the Complicated History at a Segregated Texas School,” attendees had the opportunity to learn about telling a more complete narrative of our state’s history. Other workshops focused on incorporating technology into the work of historic preservation with sessions like “Cameras Rolling: The Surprising Impact of Documentary Film in Historic Preservation” and “Securing History: Integrating Security Systems into Your Historic Building.” Plus, our very own executive director Anjali Zutshi helped community organizations around the state level up their fundraising with her workshop “Nonprofit Fund Development—The Numbers, The Ask, and Stewardship.”

Real Places would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and partners. We were overjoyed to welcome Phoenix I Restoration and Construction as our title partner once again. We would also like to thank our conference sponsors – the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Heritage Grants Program for their generous grant, as well as the Texas Land Title Association for their continued partnership in supporting robust courthouse stewardship programming. We also appreciate the continued support from TxDOT’s Beyond the Road program; THC Chair John L. Nau, III; Captrust; HHM and Associates; Komatsu Architecture; The Powell FoundationUVA School of Architecture’s Center for Cultural Landscapes and the Texas Freedom Colonies Project; Texas Historical Foundation; City of Port Isabel; Architexas; Merriman Anderson Architects; Texas Heritage Trails ProgramiZone Sign Solutions; Siebler, Inc. ; and Texas Folklife. We are also extremely grateful for the support of over twenty-four preservation nonprofits and media organizations as our Partners in Preservation and Media Partners this year. Please see our sponsors page!

Those working in the field of historic preservation know that success requires partnerships and continuous learning. Opportunities to network with and learn from one another are key to staying abreast of the latest best practices and schools of thought. The robust Real Places Conference enables exactly this sort of collaboration, which is the reason why Real Places has become such a cornerstone in the historic preservation community.

We hope to see you at the next one! Please save the date! We tentatively plan to be back in Austin on April 23-25 for Real Places 2025. The FTHC and the THC will once again be designing a conference schedule not to be missed.