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Vernacular Architecture Forum: The Potomac

Urban and Rural Experience on the Banks of the Potomac

May 2 - May 5, 2018


Alexandria, VA

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ColonialRegisterThe Vernacular Architecture Forum will meet for its 2018 Annual Conference on the banks of the Potomac River. The region preserves distinct culture and resources, which predate the founding of our nation’s capital by more than a century.  Alexandria, Virginia, a vibrant early urban center of domestic, commercial, and industrial resources, lies across the Potomac from Washington and from Southern Maryland, an agricultural landscape that showcases the evolution of three centuries of tobacco culture. This conference will be based at the Crowne Plaza Old Town Hotel in Alexandria, which provides notable venues for the major conference gatherings.

The Potomac Conference will focus on the connections and distinctions between the rural landscapes of the Maryland countryside and the urban setting of Alexandria, Virginia, which face each other across the Potomac River. Over the centuries, these two areas have developed on independent courses, all the while maintaining strong links across the river. Agriculture, including the exploitation of enslaved labor, was the basis for life on both shores. While Maryland’s economy relied overwhelmingly on tobacco, Alexandria’s rise was tied to a diversification of crops, pursued by the early planters of northern Virginia. Tours will focus on evolving pre-and post-emancipation heritage, highlighting resources ranging over four centuries. They will also shine a spotlight on the distinct character of life on both sides of the river, while underscoring the architectural, economic, cultural, and religious connections that span it.

Over its 266-year history, the City of Alexandria was a trading center, hometown of George Washington, home to both the largest slave-trading firm in the country and a large free-black community, and, in time, a street-car suburb for U.S. federal workers.  VAF conference attendees will have the opportunity to see and experience three centuries of historic sites, reflecting the rich diversity of this history.

Southern Maryland offers the rural counterpart to Alexandria’s urban experience. The region is home to Maryland’s earliest European settlement, and its built environment illustrates the growth of tobacco agriculture in the 18th century, as well as the crop’s virtual disappearance at by the beginning of the 21st century. The tobacco economy also spawned thriving ports that over time became obsolete as waterways silted up. The African-American journey from bondage to freedom is writ large on this landscape, in slave quarters and the freedmen’s towns that sprang up along the edges of former plantations.  Additionally, Southern Maryland possesses a unique architectural record of both the early Roman Catholic and Quaker experiences.

The 2018 conference receives generous support from the Maryland Historical Trust Board of Trustees, the City of Alexandria, the University of Maryland Historic Preservation Program, the Historic American Buildings Survey, Preservation Maryland, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Registration

The conference is headquartered at the Crowne Plaza Old Town Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia and for the keynote event we will travel by boat to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Please note two important points: Maryland tours are limited to 100 participants each, so register early; the boat for the keynote event leaves at 5:00pm on Wednesday, so make your travel plans accordingly.

Use the links above if your VAF membership is current and you are ready to register.

Registration is now open for our 2018 Annual Meeting, A Shared Heritage:  Urban and Rural Experience on the Banks of the Potomac (May 2-5) .  The Potomac Conference will focus on the connections and distinctions between the rural landscapes of the Maryland countryside and the urban setting of Alexandria, Virginia, which face each other across the Potomac River. Over the centuries, these two areas have developed on independent courses, all the while maintaining strong links across the river. Agriculture, including the exploitation of enslaved labor, was the basis for life on both shores. While Maryland’s economy relied overwhelmingly on tobacco , Alexandria’s rise was tied to a diversification of crops, pursued by the early planters of northern Virginia. Tours will focus on evolving pre-and post-emancipation heritage, highlighting resources ranging over four centuries. They will also shine a spotlight on the distinct character of life on both sides of the river, while underscoring the architectural, economic, cultural, and religious connections that span it. 

Conference headquarters is the Crowne Plaza Old Town Hotel in Alexandria and for the keynote event we will travel by boat to George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Registration is limited to members, but we’d love for you to be a member of VAF . VAF Memberships are more affordable than offering non-member pricing ($60 individual/$30 student) and benefits of membership include:

·         A subscription (paper and electronic via JSTOR) to the VAF journal, Buildings & Landscapes

·         Direct receipt of the quarterly Vernacular Architecture Newsletter

·         Registration discounts for the VAF annual conference and other sponsored events

·         Access to the VAF Member Forums

If you can’t join the entire event, al a carte pricing is available 

Please note three important points: 

Conference Hotel Rate of $145 is available until April 10.  Use the code RM2 

Maryland tours on Thursday are limited to 100 participants each, so register early.

The boat for the opening reception leaves at 5:00pm on Wednesday, so make your travel plans accordingly. Charter buses will transport at 6 for the opening keynote at Mount Vernon.

Contact Tom Reinhart, Conference Organizer, or Michelle Jones, VAF Conference Coordinator, with questions.

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Details

Start:
May 2, 2018
End:
May 5, 2018
Event Category:

Organizer

Tom Reinhart
Email:
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119