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National Preservation Month Begins with First Speaker of Lecture Series


April 11, 2014

For more information, please contact:

Nancy Hiestand, Program Manager, City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department, 349.3507,

National Preservation Month Begins with First Speaker of Lecture Series

Bloomington, Ind. - May is National Preservation Month and the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission and Monroe County Historic Preservation Board of Review will begin a month of activities with the Rosemary P. Miller Lecture Series on Friday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (BCT), 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. The first lecture is "Behind the Facade of Historic Preservation: Gay Sensibility and the Passion to Preserve." The evening will feature author Will Fellows, whose book, "A Passion to Preserve," documents a spontaneous American social movement often neglected by the people who write history. The event is free and open to the public.

In the mid-20th century, a loose alliance of gay men moved into blighted urban areas where more traditional family groups were least likely to venture. Fellows' book recognizes the impact of innumerable private decisions on the revitalization of older neighborhoods. This unprompted and unstructured movement brought about needed reinvestment in areas that had been leveraged for income and abandoned by former property owners. Fellows points out that this was not a result of government programming or social engineering; it was the natural response of this particular demographic to craftsmanship, quality, rarity and value. He places gay men in the pantheon of historic preservation leaders including the early women's groups who championed the protection of patriotic sites at the very start of the preservation movement.

At a time when federal assistance for preservation activities is at an all-time low, it is important to remind people that the bulk of work in most historic neighborhoods is done one house at a time. As a consequence of this work, vast areas of towns have been reclaimed as vital neighborhoods, contributing to a re-imagining of urban living for the next generation.

Mr. Fellows' presentation is funded by the Cornelius O'Brien Lecture Series concerning Historic Preservation administered by the National Council on Public History. Theater rental is supported in part by BEAD and the City of Bloomington through the Buskirk-Chumley Theater Grant Program. Fellows' books are available at the BCT Box Office. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, please contact Program Manager Nancy Hiestand at or 349.3507.