Past Events

NEH 50th Anniversary Panel

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

The Center for Cultural Landscapes is a proud partner of Human/Tiesa four-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that will be held at UVA from September 14-17, 2016. The Center will present two panels as part of this event on Thursday, September 15 at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. All events are free and open to the public. 

The first panel, titled "Community & Identity: Cultural Heritage Practice in the 21st Century," features archaeologists and historians working with diverse historic and contemporary communities in projects supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities — the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery; the history of Native American societies in the Chesapeake region; and Immigrant Stories Digital Storytelling Project and Archive. This session addresses a fundamental question – how can cultural heritage enrich the narratives of American history by bringing out stories that have been omitted, silenced or excluded?  How can the involvement of local communities reshape those narratives?

The second panel is titled "Confronting Race and Memory in the Charlottesville Heritage Landscape." It will turn to the local spaces and objects of Charlottesville, specifically the historic interpretation of enslavement at the University of Virginia and recent debates about the Confederate memorial landscape. 

For many information on these panels, please visit the Human/Ties website

From "Indian Camp" to "Morven": The Rural Virginia Landscape as History and Multi-Layered Research Site

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

In this roundtable talk, historian Scot French will discuss his efforts to periodize and visualize the local-global dimensions of U.Va.'s Morven estate, with a focus on the social, economic, and environmental impact of key changes in ownership and occupancy.  French will highlight six key transitions: from Native American/Indian "camp" site to British-American colonial land grant in the 1730s; from Carter family "great estate" to Wm. Short-owned/Thomas Jefferson-managed experiment in land and labor reform, 1790s; from small-scale tenant farming to large-scale plantation slavery under David Higginbotham, 1820s; from chattel slavery to post-emancipation labor regimes and race relations under D.G. Smith, 1860s; from agricultural production to stud farm and garden estate under the Stone family, 1920s; and, finally, from Kluge-owned "great estate" to U.Va. Foundation real estate holding and multi-disciplinary research site. French will share his interactive visualization, "Notes on the Future of Virginia: The Jefferson-Short Letters, 1787-1826," and discuss his plans to publish an edited volume based on the original argument and evidence presented there.

May Research Roundtable

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: OpenGrounds

The May research roundtable will feature a collaborative session led by affiliate members Liz Sargent (ASLA LEED AP, Landscape Architect, Principal Liz Sargent HLA) and Rachel Lloyd (RLA, LEED AP; Landscape Architect, Senior Associate, AECOM) on how their practice intersects with climate change issues.

Although cultural landscapes are inherently dynamic in nature, climate change has begun to introduce forces that threaten to unravel the fabric of our historic landscapes as we know it and alter or destroy the meaning we ascribe to important places. Climate change presents us with a major new preservation challenge, one that suggests new approaches to cultural landscape preservation, protection, and documentation will soon be needed. Cultural landscape specialists need to begin to organize a set of responses and decisions about how to address the threat of climate change. Through recent work on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Everglades, and the Farnsworth House, Liz Sargent has begun to consider these issues, and to share them through a series of papers presented at conferences, and in an article recently published in the UPENN journal Change over Time as part of an issue on climate change edited by Robert Melnick of University of Oregon. Rachel Lloyd is also increasingly asked to consider issues involving climate change in her work, including the post-hurricane recovery of a major historic boulevard in Galveston, Texas, and planning for a new national historical park located in the region devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Liz and Rachel will frame a discussion about the challenges posed by climate change, and some of the emerging approaches for addressing them, through the lens of recent project work. The discussion will consider questions such as: What can we learn from historic responses to disaster? What does “preservation” mean in the face of such change? And are all cultural landscapes worth saving?

Over the Tracks: Cultural Landscapes of Urban Food Production

Friday, May 13, 2016 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Location: Bridge PAI

This project by Matt Scarnaty (UVA MLA/MARCH Candidate 2017) draws from a body of research focused on food heritage in Virginia and expands that work by examining the specific spatial qualities and social legacy of productive cultural landscapes in the neighborhoods south of downtown and the main rail line in Charlottesville. Synthesizing empirical evidence and oral histories, this analysis illustrates the neighborhoods’ urban development through the lens of food production, processing, and distribution landscapes.

The goal of this project is not to depict a comprehensive history of the area, but instead to add another layer of interpretation by demonstrating the connection between food processing, products, people, and places. Ranging in scale from the backyard to the region, and in time from the antebellum period to the twentieth century, this analysis demonstrates the enduring legacy of these productive “foodscapes.” Understanding how productive cultural landscapes were common features of the historic urban fabric that greatly contributed to the collective identity of this place and its people is vital to current attempts at re-configuring the neighborhood today. 

Observatory Hill Walk

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

The April research roundtable will feature Nancy Takahashi (Department of Landscape Architecture) and Garth Anderson (Facilities Historian). Their talk will focus on the history of Mount Jefferson (aka Observatory Mountain), the wooded rise marking the western edge of the UVA Grounds. Their research has created a new narrative maintaining that the topographic and hydrologic relationship between the hill and the Academical Village was the prime determining factor in the expansion of the university through the mid-1900s.

They will also explain how the university’s early dependency on the hill for water, building materials, and heating, shifted to an entirely new dependency in the era of an expanding 20th century university and the age of modern science.  Their talk will begin with a look at the historic maps of the University and end with a walk on Mount Jefferson to the spring whose water influenced many phases of the university’s academic departments and its physical development.

The tour will begin in the Observatory Mountain Engineering Research Facility Room M011.


Morven: A Landscape Laboratory—Past, Present, and Future

Monday, April 25, 2016 - 2:00pm

Morven presents an extraordinary learning laboratory examining 4,000 years of human and agricultural history; among the layers are Native Americans, 18th century tenant farmers, 19th century slaves, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurial business experiments, landscape design, and equine history. Under the leadership of School of Architecture Dean Elizabeth Meyer, the University’s Center for Cultural Landscape is creating an atlas of this diverse and important cultural landscape.

Please join moderator Beth Meyer and panelists—Morven Program Director Stewart Gamage, Rivanna Archaeological Services Principal Stephen M. Thompson, Professor of Environmental Science Manuel Lerdau, and Landscape Architect Thomas Woltz—as they discuss their work to record the layers of Morven’s history and help shape its future as a global destination for investigation of these issues and topics in a complex and ever changing world. 

A selection of items from U.Va’s Special Collections related to Morven’s history and cultural landscape will be displayed 30 minutes before and after the 2:00pm presentation.

Data Visualization of Cultural Heritage Sites: The JUEL Project, Chaco, and UNESCO

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Location: Alderman 421

Please take a break this Friday April 1 from 12:00pm to 2pm and join us for our Cultural Heritage Moment!  We will be providing lunch in Alderman 421 and a stimulating panel on: “Data Visualization of Cultural Heritage Sites: The JUEL Project, Chaco, and UNESCO”.

Panelists include Worthy Martin (IATH), Will Rourk (UVA Library), and Andrew Johnston (School of Architecture) who will be discussing the importance of collecting, preserving, and visualizing the enormous datasets from World Heritage sites such as the joint UVA/Monticello site and  Chaco Canyon as well as the efforts to make the data accessible through CYARK.

It’s a week of Cultural Heritage in a year when the preservation of the world’s heritage is so much in our minds.  Come have lunch, relax, and learn about the Library’s partners in the field.  Please RSVP to Ruth Dillon ( )  so we have a count for lunch.

March Research Roundtable

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

The March research roundtable will feature introductions to two new faculty in the UVA School of Architecture, Andrew Johnston and Jessica Sewell.

Andrew Johnston is a licensed architect and certified planner with a PhD in architectural history and extensive experience both in practice and in academia. His research interests focus on industrial and infrastructure heritage, cultural landscapes, critical heritage studies, and heritage and preservation in China.  His book, Mercury and the Making of California: Mining, Landscape and Race, 1845-1900, is a multidisciplinary examination of the history and cultural landscapes of California's mercury-mining industry.

Jessica Sewell is a feminist historian of the built environment and currently Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning. In her book, Women and the Everyday City (Minnesota, 2011), she explores San Francisco's public spaces at the turn of the century through an analysis of the relationships between imagined, experienced, and built gendered landscapes. She is also the creator of Exploring Suzhou, an app-based tour of the cultural landscapes of the Chinese city of Suzhou.

February Research Roundtable

Friday, February 19, 2016 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Location: OpenGrounds

The February research roundtable will feature Professor Brian Katen, who is Associate Professor and Chair of the Landscape Architecture Program in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech.

The talk, titled “Editor Mitchell in the Mountains: The Black Press and Early African American Experience of the Virginia Landscape by Automobile," will explore travels through the Virginia landscape with John Mitchell, editor of the Richmond Planet. Katen's research places Mitchell’s journey’s in the context of the re-discovery of the Virginia landscape by automobile in the first decades of the 20th Century.

Landscapes of Slavery on the Academical Village: A Roundtable Discussion

Friday, January 29, 2016 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Join Professor of Architectural History Louis Nelson and the students from his Field Methods in Historic Preservation class for an in depth discussion of their work this semester examining the long neglected dimension of the lived experience of the Academical Village: the relationship between the students and the faculty and their families as the village’s white population and the numerous enslaved African Americans who lived and worked for decades in and around it.

For more information about this class and this event, please visit: