Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Press Release

Does Williamsburg Still Matter? Preservation and Storytelling in the 21st Century

Free Lecture by Jeff Klee, Architectural Historian – Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

By - Jun 7th, 2013 01:35 pm

The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Avenue, Milwaukee, in conjunction with the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, the School of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Department of Architecture at UWM are pleased to announce a free lecture by Jeff Klee, Architectural Historian at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Mr. Klee’s lecture, Does Williamsburg Still Matter?  Preservation and Storytelling in the 21st Century, will discuss how the practices of architectural research and historic preservation have evolved at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) since 1928, emphasizing the ways in which modern scholarly methods at CWF can inform the study of very different times and places. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the lecture starting promptly at 7:00 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Friday, June 14, 2013
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Jeff Klee is coming to Milwaukee to take part in UWM’s Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures collaborative field study project, focusing this year on the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood and is also being sponsored in part by the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UWM.

Lecture Summary
Jeff will discuss how the practices of architectural research and historic preservation have evolved at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) since 1928, emphasizing the ways in which modern scholarly methods at CWF can inform the study of very different times and places.Modern, field-based scholarship proceeds from a generous understanding of the social qualities of architecture; it is bolstered by a rigorous empiricism and a high level of care in recording historic buildings; and it is sustained by an ability to find delight in many aspects of building.

This work is motivated, above all, by a particular interest in preserving the stories of ordinary buildings and their inhabitants. Looking closely at a wide range of buildings—from tobacco barns to plantation houses; from Cold War tract houses to architect-designed mansions—permits architectural historians to develop an understanding of the broadest possible cross-section of social life and to ensure that modern preservation can work on behalf ofentire communities, not just privileged institutions.

About Jeff Klee
Since 2004, Jeff Klee has worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the Department of Architectural and Archaeological Research, whose work he is easing into the digital age. His work for CWF includes an active program offield-based architectural research, the design of reconstructions in Williamsburg’s Historic Area, and scholarly publications and presentations.Principally, he conducts fieldwork around the Chesapeake region and along the eastern seaboard, from the North Shore of Boston to Savannah, Georgia but he has also done work in Milwaukee, Bermuda, and Great Britain. Recently, he completed designs for the reconstruction of the Revolutionary-era armory complex in Williamsburg. Outside CWF, he sits on the City of Williamsburg’sArchitectural Review Board, the editorial board of the journal Buildings and Landscapes, and serves as co-editor of the image archive of the Society of Architectural Historians, SAHARA. Jeff has degrees from Yale and the University of Delaware, where he is completing his dissertation on Boston’s Beacon Hill.

About the Field School
The Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) collaborative project at UW Milwaukee and Madison is an interdisciplinary research track concentrating on the examination of the physical, cultural, and social aspects of our built environment. The program serves students enrolled in UW Milwaukee and Madison campuses with diverse research interests, including urban and architecturalhistory, cultural landscapes, urban and rural vernacular architecture, material culture, public history, and environmental history. Fieldwork is an important aspect of this program and a cross-campus fieldwork school is a special offering of this project.  The BLC summer field school provides students an immersion experience in the field recording of the built environment andcultural landscapes and an opportunity to learn how to write history literally “from the ground up.” The BLC field school won the 2013 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. This year, the BLC Field School focuses on the ethics of ecologicalstewardship and historic preservation practiced in the Historic Water TowerNeighborhood (HWTN) of Milwaukee.

Nationally recognized faculty directing portions of this school include Jeffrey E. Klee, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Anna Andrzejewski, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michael H. Frisch, Professor and Senior Research Scholar, University at Buffalo, Jasmine Alinder, Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Michael Gordon, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Erin Dorbin, photographer, historian and community organizer. The field school is directed by Associate Professor Arijit Sen, Department of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.                                                   

About the Villa Terrace
Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is an Italian Renaissance-style villa designed and built by architect David Adler in 1923.  Originally the home of Lloyd Smith of the A.O. Smith Corporation and his family, the Museum features fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th through to the 18th centuries, wrought-iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik, a formal garden and changing exhibitions.  The Museum is located at 2220 N. Terrace Ave.  Public hours:  Wednesday – Sunday, 1-5 p.m.   General Admission:   $5/adult, $3/student & senior (62+), Free for museum members, children 12 & under, and active military.   More information available at (414) 271-3656 or visit us atwww.villaterracemuseum.org

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