Issues in Cultural Heritage Management class at Drexel University


This summer, I taught a new ten week evening class in the graduate program in Arts Administration at Drexel University. The class, offered on Monday nights, is called Issues in Cultural Heritage Management.

The class is designed for non-preservation students who are interested in understanding how historic preservation is accomplished at the national, state and local levels. The promotional literature says it best.

“Every arts administrator, at some point in their career, will interact with an historic building or historic neighborhood. You may find yourself in these situations:

In all of these cases, the individual historic building or the historic neighborhood are assets that arts administrators must leverage and manage to ensure that the arts thrive in the community.

This class will acquaint you with how and why these important heritage assets are managed in the United States, based on the laws and practices undertaken at the national, state and local levels. You will be introduced to the various stakeholders in heritage management and be exposed to some of the critical issues being discussed across the country, such as declining attendance at historic sites, responsible hospitality in arts districts, and the ever widening definition of what is an “historic building.” Our focus will mainly be on heritage activities in the Delaware Valley in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.”

Class structure

The first three classes will deal with theory and practice to explain how heritage is managed in this country. With this framework, you will spend the remaining classes gaining practical skills that you can use immediately in your job and future career. One class will take place outside the classroom but on the Drexel campus to discuss building materials and building maintenance issues, because at its essence, maintenance is preservation.

The class includes both group and individual presentations and papers. The class will develop a comprehensive wiki of links and information on statewide and local activity in heritage management for a selection of states. Students will become proficient in using a minimum maintenance schedule for historic buildings and understand why maintenance is a critical aspect of heritage management. The final group project will be a critical assessment of a historic attraction, heritage area or heritage organization.

Contact the Arts Administration program at Drexel University for more information regarding this class 215 895 2551, and if it will be offered again in the Fall 2009 term.