Summit Program Themes
Historic New England is actively building the highly interactive Summit program that includes keynote presentations by regional and national leaders, panel discussions, provocations, networking opportunities, awards, and more. As we finalize details with our presenters, we are delighted to share this thematic structure for the program.
Day 1, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET)
Culture acts as a catalyst for inclusion and social justice, with regional impacts on placemaking and community livability. Places, stories, and collections can be powerful tools for community engagement, particularly when paired with 21st century technology and creative energy. Learn how institutions are reimagining their philosophic and physical structures to serve as critical community anchors, making their work accessible and inspiring to local, regional, national and even international audiences.
Forging a New Lens
How is the role of cultural institutions changing and what is the impact on placemaking and community livability?
Obliterating the Old Lens on Social History?
What does is really mean to share inclusive history? Thought leaders discuss how they strive to provide leadership in developing healthy, engaged, thriving communities through diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just storytelling.
The activity of stewarding sacred places has anchored New England communities for centuries. How are religious institutions innovating in their work and renewing their physical space to ensure relevance to communities in the 21st century?
Toward an Inclusive Collection
Institutional leaders discuss the evolving practice of collecting material culture and new efforts to create more inclusive, accessible, and engaging collections as a tool for community engagement and social justice.
Technology and Globalizing Cultural Heritage
Pervasive technological advances coupled with the reality of global engagement creates unprecedented challenges and opportunities for creating, preserving, and experiencing cultural touchstones in the 21st century.
Mechanics Hall: Anchoring Community Through Culture
Nationally recognized for its historic significance and as a premier 21st-century performance venue, Mechanics Hall represents the critical role of historic and cultural spaces in sustaining vibrant communities.
Remaking a City
Leading architecture and urban planning firms reveal their concepts for a vibrant cultural center in one of New England’s mid-sized manufacturing hubs.
How are the world’s foremost museum collections transforming into more open, accessible, inclusive spaces of community engagement that highlight the relevance of archived materials to the present and future? Panelists discuss new forms of archiving and collections care that challenge the traditional concepts of ownership and curation using new technology and creative, participatory structures.
Reimagining Post-Industrial New England
Factories, mills, and other large-scale buildings were once the lifeblood of New England communities, but many outlived their original use. How can these facilities provide the inspiration and the opportunity for today’s community revitalization?
Close the day with a celebration of instrumental efforts to preserve New England’s cultural heritage.
Day 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., awards ceremony 5-6:30 p.m. (ET)
Legacies of planning, development, and renewal are being reconsidered in the 21st century against priorities of equity, sustainability, and innovation. As New England responds to 21st-century challenges like climate change, resurging interest in heritage trades suggests important ways to leverage the region’s cultural legacies to build new models of resiliency and sustainability. Academic leaders take the conversation into communities as they facilitate an evolving public dialog about the relevance and impact of history, community, and placemaking.
A Civic Gateway: A New Vision for a Historic House Museum
Explore the theory and conceptual approach to revitalizing one of Boston’s house museums as a center for community activity and a cultural gateway.
Inherited Bias: How Past Structures Impact Future Resiliency
How do past theories and models for preservation and urban planning continue to influence the development of towns and cities across New England? How have policies and regulations evolved over time in response to public priorities and how does this continue to shape communities in positive and negative ways?
Intersectional Emergency: Climate Change Impacts to New England
From rising seas to rising population, disrupted seasons, increasing pests and decreasing traditional materials, considering the regional impact of climate change on New England’s cultural, natural, ecological, and economic sectors. Examine the roles of heritage preservation and cultural arts in building a resilient future.
Net Zero 20##: Decarbonization and Old Buildings
What are the implications of net-zero planning and related policies for communities with many old buildings? How can sustainability be achieved without sacrificing built heritage?
Resiliency Requires a Traditional Trades Infrastructure
Leaders in traditional trades work discuss the challenges and opportunities for their network and why traditional trades are essential to community resiliency in the 21st century.
Growing Community through Agricultural Preservation
With resurging interest in craft brewing, farm-to-table restaurants, and community agriculture, communities are realizing the growing benefits of getting in touch with their roots.
Opening Doors: Preservation Easements
An underutilized tool for developing strong partnerships and meaningful preservation strategies, preservation easements offer the opportunity to protect the rich cultural value of places that is contained inside their walls.
History Lessons: Transformations in Teaching…Good and Bad
As classrooms become the frontline for polarized debates about historical accuracy, cultural awareness, and critical reflection, educators are engaged in dynamic discussions about the goals of history education, not just with their students, but throughout their wider communities.
The conference closes with a live performance on stage at Mechanics Hall.