The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has announced that the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers-Camden has been selected for its Special Recognition Award for Preservation Education. The award recognizes public advancement of preservation knowledge achieved through the MARCH Continuing Education Program, the Learning From Cooper Street project, and The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.
The Historic Preservation Continuing Education Program, a partnership with New Jersey Historic Trust, invites adults to engage in personal enrichment courses including Introduction to Historic Preservation, American Architectural History, Materials and Techniques of Preservation, Preservation Planning, and more, all taught by preservation professionals. Offerings also include courses on historical topics and hands-on practical instruction workshops. The program awards a Continuing Education Certificate in Historic Preservation to participants who complete 15 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), representing 150 hours of class contact time. More than 500 individuals have registered for at least one course or workshop since the inception of the program, which has been directed by MARCH public historians Tamara Gaskell and Nicole Belolan.
Learning From Cooper Street is an ongoing project that involves Rutgers-Camden students in documenting past residents of the Cooper Street Historic District in Camden, New Jersey, together with adjacent blocks and the Rutgers-Camden campus. Through this project, led by MARCH Director and Professor of History Charlene Mires, students have learned to recover the stories of people and structures from city directories, census records, property deeds, local newspapers, and other sources. During 2020-23 the project reached a new phase of maturity with substantial completion of this basic research, with data made publicly available on the project’s website. The data is enabling an array of educational and public uses, including a digital map of house histories (added in 2022), walking tours developed by students, and preservation-themed assignments for undergraduate and graduate classes. The research is producing a far deeper and varied history than previously acknowledged, including the diverse population of domestic workers who worked on Cooper Street, considered the city’s most fashionable thoroughfare during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The project also has revealed the importance of inherited real estate and adaptive reuses of homes by single and widowed women.
MARCH has also contributed to foundational regional knowledge about historic preservation through essays published in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, which is produced at MARCH. The encyclopedia’s overview essay about historic preservation spans the history of preservation activity across southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northern Delaware. Related essays explain historic districts, building types, and the National Register of Historic Places; context for preservation is available in topic pages about geographic areas, transportation systems, and more. Throughout, the encyclopedia encourages readers to engage with historic places through “Places to Visit” lists and links.
MARCH is proud to be in the company of the outstanding people, organizations, and projects that will be honored by the Preservation Alliance at its Preservation Achievement Awards event on June 6, 2023, in Philadelphia.