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UPenn Students Propose Watch Solutions

In May, Pauline and Erica Avrami, WMF's Research and Education Director participated in a day of presentations at the University of Pennsylvania. Graduate students in historic preservation at UPenn focused research for their advanced conservation science class on 2010 Watch sites.

In early May, Erica and I spent the day attending presentations by graduate students in the historic preservation department. For an advanced conservation science class, students focused on conservation solutions for a selection of 2010 Watch sites. This is the second year the advanced conservation science class has drawn inspiration from 2010 Watch sites and presented conservation solutions based on information presented by Watch site nominators and additional research undertaken by the students. The sites they chose were from all over the world and all faced unique challenges. We were thoroughly impressed with their ability to grasp challenges, understand conservation conditions, and develop preservation strategies, in most cases without ever visiting the sites.

Some of the sites students discussed included Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans; Wiener Wekbundsiedlung in Vienna, Austria; Lixus in Morocco; San Francisco de Asis de Marcapata Church in Peru; and San Sebastian Basilica in the Philippines. The original construction materials used at these sites range from earthen render and stone masonry to concrete and steel. The students proposed plans for researching and analyzing these sites and then made recommendations regarding their conservation. Faculty critiqued their approaches and we provided feedback based on WMF's knowledge of the individual sites and our experience in undertaking conservation projects at similar sites or those with comparable challenges.

This collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania provided an opportunity for students to engage in the World Monuments Watch and provide Watch nominators with another perspective on some sites and their challenges. The 2012 Watch list will be announced this fall and will provide a whole new group of sites and challenges for the students to work with next year.