The Weitzman School of Design has decades of experience training professionals and scholars. The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation has educated hundreds of preservation professionals since the 1970s, and continues to be one of the bellwether preservation departments in the country.  The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites marks a commitment to use this legacy to shift the field – toward more diverse and community-facing practices directly serving contemporary needs through historic preservation expertise.

students outside
three people outside a stone building
two people inside a classroom

In classrooms, studios, labs, and in the field – and now, through Zoom – Weitzman School of Design educators and students collaborate to bring preservation philosophies and principles “down to the ground.” This is done both literally, where building meets site, and metaphorically, where desires to commemorate and reflect on the past meet the urgent political and pragmatic needs of the present.

Penn faculty and Center partners are actively applying new methods and new questions into curriculum, conversations, and initiatives. As our colleague Brent Leggs frames it, “we are telling the full story of the American experience.”

CPCRS is dedicated to creating training and educational opportunities for future ranks of preservation professionals. Deepening existing partnerships and continuing to create new partnerships is essential to success. We acknowledge that preservation must embrace sites and narratives representing core, abiding issues of civil rights for progress to be actualized -- and ultimately decolonize traditional preservation practices.

Header: Historic Preservation class in Macon County, AL. Photo by CPCRS/Sarah Lerner.