Author Archive

Priya Chhaya

PastForward: Places, voices, and livability

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Photo credit: David Keith Photography

This past fall in Houston, the National Trust for Historic Preservation gathered for its annual conference, PastForward. One of the key features of the conference is a series of marquee presentations called TrustLive. TrustLive presentations often feature a single speaker followed by a short panel discussion on a topic relevant to today’s preservation movement. Read More

Challenging the exclusive past / Challenging my inclusive past


Baltimore Inner Harbor. Photo courtesy Priya Chhaya

Baltimore Inner Harbor. Photo credit: Priya Chhaya

My daily job at the National Trust for Historic Preservation doesn’t involve day-to-day interaction with the broader public. Rather I am a historiographer, in that in my work as a content manager for preservation professionals, I am constantly thinking about the methodology of history–how we protect, communicate, and talk about the past. Read More

Why do old places matter?


“As I settle in a place, the place settles me.” Juhani Pallasmma, Forum Journal (Spring 2015)

00_29.3Cover_smallMore than fifteen months ago, my colleague at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Tom Mayes, embarked on a journey. For six months, he lived at the American Academy in Rome researching and thinking about one of the most central tenets of our profession: Why Do Old Places Matter? Read More

Beyond fifteen minutes of fame

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Banner outside the National Museum of Natural History. | Credit: Via US Department of State on Flickr, Creative Commons

Banner outside the National Museum of Natural History. Photo Credit: US Department of State on Flickr, Creative Commons.

Earlier this year the Indian American Heritage Project at the Smithsonian launched its inaugural exhibition Beyond Bollywood. Housed in a gallery at the National Museum of Natural History through March 2015, the exhibition “explores the heritage, daily experience and numerous, diverse contributions that Indian immigrants and Indian Americans have made to shaping the United States.” For the last year I’ve been involved peripherally with the exhibition, as a contributor to the Beyond Bollywood blog. Read More

Energy Efficiency + Climate Change: A Conversation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation

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flooded city dock

Annapolis, Maryland, designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is regularly flooded by high tides in the Chesapeake Bay. Photo credit: Amy E. McGovern

Public historians are communicators. We tweet, blog, analyze, interpret, and document events for a variety of different publics. Read More

Preservation conversations: Looking for broader partnerships at the National Trust

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There are two sides sides to historic preservation. On one side preservationists work to save places, using community character and history to enhance the quality of living through transportation, smart growth, and sustainability. On the other we are seen as obstructionist, the party of “no,” and a limiting factor to the development and modernization of what a community wants to accomplish. Read More

View from the New: Graduate students and new professionals on [email protected]

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We all have to start somewhere. Public historians arrive in the profession from a variety of different places. We are inspired to work in a field that invokes passion and a lot of heart–but at some point we have all taken our first steps into the profession, either as graduate students or as new professionals who came into our public history work from unexpected directions. Read More