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Renowned Historians to Speak at the Presidio


Presidio of San Francisco (May 5, 2011) — The Presidio Trust is launching a new lecture series this month featuring some of the nation’s pre-eminent historians. Contemporary Historians at the Presidio: Voices and Views debuts Wednesday, May 11 at 7 pm at the Golden Gate Club. Admission is free.

The annual series will explore issues specific to the Presidio, as well as themes in American and world history which put the Presidio’s extraordinary past into a larger context.

“Because the Presidio’s history is particularly connected to national and international history it is the perfect platform for this type of programming,” says Dr. Randolph Delehanty, the Presidio Trust’s historian.

The series’ first lecture, Global Historic Preservation Now!, examines the challenges facing the preservation and conservation of culturally significant places around the world. Frank G. Matero, professor of architecture and former chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania will look at sites as varied as the fortifications of Cairo and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and from the American Southwest to ancient sites in Turkey.

Other talks will focus on what the creation of the Port of San Francisco meant to the city; the role women played in chronicling life in the 19th century American west; and what popular films of the 1930s and 40s tell us about how Americans viewed themselves during World War II, the different ways in which women and minorities were portrayed, and how certain former stereotypes were merely replaced by others. All lectures in the series are free.
Contemporary Historians at the Presidio was designed to appeal to a wide audience. The series expands the Trust’s history programming and will ultimately become part of the programming for the park’s new heritage center.

“It’s a way for the public to use the park as a portal to the study of history,” says Delehanty. “We’re giving voice to the great variety of interests in contemporary history, and to the many different ways in which history is being studied.”

The series is the first of its kind sponsored by the Trust.

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is one of the largest and most ambitious historic preservation projects underway in the United States. The Presidio’s historic buildings represent the nation’s most comprehensive collection of military architecture, dating from the Civil War through the Cold War, including homes and barracks that reflect how the military social hierarchy and domestic life evolved in the Presidio. Since 1994, approximately 75 percent of the park’s historic structures have been rehabilitated for new uses. The Trust has won numerous awards for planning and historic preservation.”

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