Guest Blog – LEARNing from Montpelier

guestblg1-2As a born and bred Pittsburgher, and YPA member myself I am excited to share with this community a unique opportunity for some hands on preservation not too far from home!  Only a five-hour drive south of Pittsburgh, Orange, Virginia provides a scenic backdrop for individuals interested in learning more about traditional log building, the life and home of our fourth president, and the often overlooked history of the enslaved African Americans that lived and worked at Montpelier.  

Montpelier, James Madison’s estate was home to not only James and Dolley, but his aging parents, countless guests, and as many as 100 enslaved individuals.  Unfortunately, only two buildings from James’s life remain; the main house, and Mr. Madison’s garden temple.  In an effort to more accurately represent the landscape during James and Dolley’s lifetime, and provide the public with a physical structure marking the sites of enslaved households, Montpelier’s LEARN reconstruction programs were born.  

LEARN is the logo and acronym for the public programs held at Montpelier.  Standing for Locate, Excavate, Analyze, Reconstruct and Network, these week long programs provide an opportunity for members of the public to stay on Montpelier’s property for a week, and work alongside archaeologists and historians to help interpret the vast history at Montpelier.  

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2016 Top Ten Soon Approaching


As you hopefully know by now, YPA’s annual Top Ten Preservation Opportunities event is quickly approaching.  This year’s Top Ten event will be held on Thursday, October 20th at The Frick in Point Breeze- if you have never had the opportunity to visit The Frick, this will be an excellent opportunity to experience one of Pittsburgh’s finest historic homes and multi-functional sites.

In this year’s Top 10 list you will find a diverse collection of structures from all over southwestern PA. As you may know, the Top 10 is culled together from a list of submissions sent in from the public over the course of the year and vetted by YPAs board of directors for inclusion. Interestingly enough, over a third of submissions this year included churches and places of worship. In Pittsburgh and across the country, finding a sustainable re-use to keep these beautiful buildings maintained and in active-use continues to be a challenge. To that extent, YPA will be hosting an event centered on that specific topic in February- be on the lookout for details in the coming months.

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