Historic Preservation Program visits Charleston, SC

UGA MHP Program in front of Drayton Hall

Last week students in the Master of Historic Preservation program visited Charleston, SC for their field perspectives course.  As part of their trip to Charleston, the nearly 40 students accompanied by Dr. Reinberger, Dr. Nesbit, and Professor Reap visited a variety of historic sites in the area.

On the first day, students visited the Aiken Rhett House and the Nathaniel Russell House, both operated by the Historic Charleston Foundation.  After a break for lunch, students met again at St. Michael’s Church which dates to pre-Revolutionary War to explore the church and its cemetery.  Students then had a few hours to do a self-guided walking tour of the city on their way to the Charleston County Library.  At the library, they met with Kristopher King, executive director, and Robert Gurley, preservation director, from the Preservation Society of Charleston.  They then met with Jacob Lindsay, UGA CED Alumni and current director of the City of Charleston’s Department of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability.  Following their busy day, students enjoyed a happy hour with alumni in the area.

On day two, students started the morning at the Old Slave Mart in Charleston before venturing outside of the city for the afternoon.  In Mount Pleasant, students visited the Charles Pinckney Historic Site operated by the NPS and privately owned Boone Hall Plantation located across the street from each other.  Students were able to see the differences between privately and publicly run sites in terms of both management and interpretation.  Students again ended the day with a happy hour, this time meeting up with students from the College of Charleston and Clemson University’s MHP program.

On the last day of the trip, students gathered at Drayton Hall, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site.  They toured the plantation from the mid-eighteenth century and its grounds.  It is known as the best example of Palladian Georgian Architecture in the United States and it did not disappoint.  Between all these planned tours and visits, students had ample time to explore the historic city and eat all the delicious food it had to offer.

Students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see preservation in the field, especially in a place as beautiful as Charleston.  First-year student Carter Burns thought that “visiting historic places like Charleston teaches lessons that can’t be learned in the classroom. The chance to meet preservation professionals and hear about their work was particularly valuable.”  First-year Pearl Howell agreed adding that “it was an enriching experience and gave me an opportunity to see in action some of the preservation tools I had only heard about in a classroom.”

First-year MHP student Bethany Moore said that she “enjoyed seeing the different interpretations of preservation such as restoration versus conservation” first hand.  First-year David Dobbs added that he “was really intrigued by the varying levels of interpretation that we encountered at the different sites that we visited.”

Second-year Kimberly Ellis also was intrigued by the differences in interpretation, “We saw three former plantations, all owned and operating under very different organizations: the Charles Pinckney Site, operated by NPS, Drayton Hall, operated by the National Trust and Boone Plantation, privately owned. By comparing and contrasting the different approaches to interpreting this difficult history, clear educational motives can be deduced.”

Aiken Rhett House

Nathaniel Russell House

Drayton Hall

Students enjoying downtown Charleston