Community

Examining Why We Preserve

This year’s Symposium will take place at 111 Westminster Street (aka the Superman Building) on November 3 and 4, and will feature a series of panel discussions as well as guest speakers, including Curtis G. Viebranz, the President and CEO of Mount Vernon.

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This year is the 60th anniversary of the Providence Preservation Society (PPS). To mark the occasion, PPS will be using it’s annual Symposium to examine the question, “Why preserve?” This year’s Symposium will take place at 111 Westminster Street (aka the Superman Building) on November 3 and 4, and will feature a series of panel discussions as well as guest speakers, including Curtis G. Viebranz, the President and CEO of Mount Vernon.

“You think of Mount Vernon as George Washington’s home and museum, but it all started with this citizens push to preserve an important part of America’s history in the 1850s,” explains Brent Runyon, executive director of PPS. “It’s one of these preeminent institutions that will tell us a lot about how preservationists are thinking about what we do today and tomorrow.”

Preservation and the Superman Building go hand in hand. Since the building was vacated in 2013, PPS has included it twice on its annual list of ten most endangered properties. To address the topic of preservation as it relates to this iconic downcity structure, a panel discussion on Friday November 4 called “When the Light Goes Out: Community Responses to the Industrial Trust Building” will look at what, if anything, the building’s vacancy means to the people of the city. Following the discussion, guests will have the opportunity to join in on a top to bottom tour of the building.

“People love to get in there. Our theme is ‘why preserve?’ and we feel like a lot of people are asking that question about that building,” says Runyon. “We’re not going to answer that question directly about [Superman Building] but we’re going to explore themes of why preservation is important.”

PPSRI.org, ProvidenceSymposium.com