Preservation Month 2022: Podcasting for Preservation

Historic place-savers pour their time, energy, and resources into protecting places they care about, often without recognition. So, the 2022 Preservation Month theme of “People Saving Places” is a national high-five to everyone doing the great work of saving places—in ways big and small—and inspiring others to do the same!

Podcasting for Preservation is one of the signature events the National Trust for Historic Preservation is presenting as part of its Preservation Month celebrations. In recent years, preservationists across the country have turned to podcasting to share the voices and stories behind historic spaces. Hear from the creators, and representatives of four different podcasts as they explore how this intangible form of communication has helped foster community, connection, and conversation about the places we love most.

Rita Cofield

Rita Cofield
Save As Podcast

Rita Cofield received her BA in Architecture and Planning from Howard University and a master's in Heritage Conservation from the University of Southern California. Her graduate thesis explored the tangible and intangible resources of Oakwood, Venice, one of three historic Black enclaves located along the Southern California coast.

As a cultural resource manager and public historian, she is committed to guiding communities in protecting and maintaining the integrity of their historic resources and ensuring they remain accessible to the surrounding community. Cofield is an advocate not just for buildings but for entire neighborhoods.

She worked with community leaders in Watts to help nominate and revive the Watts Happening Cultural Center, a community gem that was in danger of being demolished. In 2021 the work received a Docomomo US Modernism in America Awards special citation for a grassroots initiative. In addition to managing the architectural integrity of buildings, she has managed the artistic integrity of theatrical productions as a stage manager all over the country.

Rita is on the Board of Trustees for the California Preservation Foundation and serves on its Education Committee. The Getty recently hired her to lead efforts for the Los Angeles African American Historic Places project, a collaboration between the Office of Historic Resources and the Getty Conservation Institute.

Note: Rita Cofield is representing Save As—a podcast created and produced by Trudi Sandmeier, Willa Seidenberg, and Cindy Olnick for the Heritage Conservation Program at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. While Cofield is working on her own podcast, as a student she was a popular guest on the show.

Joan Cummins

Joan Cummins
Q & Abe

Joan Cummins (she/her) produces, co-hosts, and edits Q & Abe, a podcast from President Lincoln’s Cottage that takes real visitor questions the sites wishes they could spend a half hour answering and delves into them with the help of a wide variety of experts. A DC-area native, she joined the staff at President Lincoln’s Cottage in 2015 and supports a vibrant slate of public programming.

In addition to coordinating experiences for students, teachers, and the public, she has developed and implemented revised school programming both onsite and virtually, and worked closely with the Students Opposing Slavery program, an anti-trafficking activism program for teens. Prior to her work at the Cottage, she gained six years of experience developing programs, coordinating events, and working with students and teachers in DC’s professional theaters. She holds an MA in Public History from American University.

Deqah Hussein-Wetzel

Deqah Hussein-Wetzel
Urban Roots

Deqah Hussein-Wetzel is a historic preservationist and the co-host/producer of Urban Roots, a podcast from Urbanist Media that dives deep into little known stories of urban history. In 2021, she co-founded the anti-racist community preservation collaborative, Urbanist Media, whose nonprofit mission is to elevate underrepresented voices and ensure the places significant to them are preserved. Deqah firmly believes that podcasting is an invaluable preservation tool, one that can preserve the memory of place and challenges people to think beyond the familiar.

In Urban Roots' first season, titled Lost Voices of Cincinnati, wove together narrative storytelling with interviews from long-term residents, community leaders, and expert historians to tell the history of three Cincinnati Black neighborhoods; Evanston, Avondale, and South Cumminsville. The episodes explored the historical challenges (urban renewal) and present-day adversities (top-down planning decisions) that have divided these neighborhoods, while showcasing the resilience of residents working hardest to bring their communities back together.

Since Urban Roots first launched last year, the podcast was featured on Stitcher in celebration of Juneteenth, won Best of Cincinnati Podcasts from Cincinnati Magazine, received an education award from the Cincinnati Preservation Association, and was featured in TechSoup’s “5 Nonprofit Podcasts Helping Their Organizations Grow” blog article in February 2022.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA
New Angle: Voice

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer is an architect and currently serves as the executive director for Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF). She joined the Foundation following ten years as the managing director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, Center for Architecture. Both an architect and a creative institutional administrator, Kracauer was responsible for the creation of Archtober, the New York City month-long festival of architecture and design.

As one of the early pioneers of co-education in the 1970’s, Kracauer graduated from Princeton University receiving both a magna cum laude, and Masters of Architecture. She worked for Philip Johnson in the 80’s and taught at the University of Virginia, New Jersey Institute of Technology and her alma mater. Kracauer is creator and director of the podcast New Angle: Voice, which has recently been featured on Apple Podcasts for Women's History Month.

We believe all Americans deserve to see their history in the places that surround us. As a nation, we have work to do to fill in the gaps of our cultural heritage.

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