National Trust for Historic Preservation
Date: 11/2-5/2021

Preservationists from across the country and all walks of life will come together virtually at PastForward Online 2021, the country’s only national preservation conference, to ask important questions and identify ways to take action based on our shared values and priorities, such as:

  • Trying times demand collaborative action. What abiding values are shared by the preservation movement? Like a compass, how can these shared values guide our action, collectively and individually?
  • A renewed call for social justice has led to an overdue examination of preservation practices and policies within our governments and within our own organizations. To achieve equity, what long-term remedies should we institutionalize?
  • Recent climate-related crises have vividly demonstrated new approaches are needed to adapt to a changing climate, but how can we collaborate with a new Administration and Congress to benefit our communities? What can we do at individual historic properties to model adaptation and support resilience?
  • The pandemic has led to creative adaptations in our preservation practices, from how we do community outreach to how we operate historic sites, but how should we retain the positive aspects of these changes in a post-pandemic world?

At PastForward Online 2021, the expansive preservation movement—which encompasses grassroots advocates; stewards and interpreters of historic sites; and local, state, and federal government officials, to name just a few—will come together to thoughtfully discuss new ways we can coordinate our actions to make significant changes and build stronger communities.

Here are the conference’s sub-themes:

  • Promoting Equity and Justice Through Historic Preservation. An increased awareness of the inequities in our society created by our nation’s history of discrimination means the preservation community is confronting its own roles, both positive and negative. We seek to evolve our work to better support equitable development, tell the full American story, and support stronger, more inclusive communities. This sub-theme will provide opportunities for listening, understanding, and learning from diverse perspectives and innovative community-led initiatives.
  • Sharpening Essential Practices of Preservation. Sessions in this sub-theme will help participants take a fresh look at essential preservation tools, learn about innovations implemented in response to the pandemic, and discuss opportunities for greater collaboration and impact. Whether new to the practice of preservation or a long-time advocate, these sessions will help you expand your skill sets and gain practical knowledge that directly impacts your work.
  • Adapting to a Changing Climate. The complexity and global scope of climate change can overwhelm our sense of agency. Yet preservation has an important role to play in both mitigating the impacts of climate change and adapting to its effects. This sub-theme will highlight innovative approaches and provide practical guidance to help preservationists move from climate concern to climate action.

PastForward Online 2021 seeks to Lead the Change for the preservation movement.

Several events are free but registration is required. Free events are included in your registration when you register for the full conference. Registration will be available in July at this link.