September 24, 2013

Twitter Chat Recap/Reminder: Historic Schools and Preservation Conferences

  • By: Sarah Heffern

Ask a preservationist what to do with a historic school building in need of a new life, and the answer is usually a quick one: keep using it as a school. We tend to be passionate advocates for adapting existing buildings to modern needs, and schools are no exception. Of course, given demographic changes to communities over time, it's not always possible to keep the buildings education-focused, in which case adaptive reuse becomes our goal.

This balance between original use and adaptive use -- and how to advocate for either -- was the subject of the September #builtheritage Twitter chat. As always, we had a lively conversation, full of great examples from around the U.S. and Canada. The Storify slides above touch on the highlights of the chat.

The #builtheritage tweetup at last year's National Preservation Conference in Spokane, Wash. (Photo courtesy Kayla Jonas)
The #builtheritage tweetup at last year's National Preservation Conference in Spokane, Wash.

Our next #builtheritage topic moves from the schools of our younger years to an education topic most adults deal with from time to time: what conferences should I be going to in order to learn the most about my profession -- or my passion? Come armed with your best thoughts on the conferences preservationists should be attending, be they in architecture, history, urban planning, or something else altogether.

The conference-centric chat will take place next Wednesday, October 2, from 4:00 - 5:00 EDT. Here's how to participate:

1. Sign in to Twitter, or into a chat-specific site such as TweetChat,, or (Using a chat site allows you to filter just the chat-specific hashtag, and also appends it to any tweets you send, allowing for a more streamlined experience.)

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

The Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have six per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3,etc. about every 10 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and tangents still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

And as if you need more enticement to join us, we'll be announcing the time and location of the #builtheritage tweetup at the 2013 National Preservation Conference in Indianapolis.

I look forward to chatting with you next week!

Sarah Heffern is the National Trust's director of social media. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having first fallen for historic places in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.


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