FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Preservation enthusiasts and community members gathered on Saturday, June 2 at Williamson County Enrichment Center for the first-annual New Preservation Directions Symposium hosted by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN and presented by Renasant Bank. The symposium is part of an initiative by the Heritage Foundation to increase educational programming for members of the organizations and Williamson County preservation advocates. The event kicked-off with a reception including coffee and pastries by Merridee’s Breadbasket and conversation. The program began with remarks by CEO of the Heritage Foundation, Bari Beasley followed by a key-note presentation by Matthew Webster, director of the Grainger Department of Architectural Preservation and Research for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Webster oversees the preservation of 603 structures in the National Landmark Historic Area, the 15,000-piece architectural fragment collection, architectural research and historic interiors.
“It was an honor to be involved in the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s symposium,” said David Webster. “To speak in a community so in tune with and passionate about the preservation of their resources is both enlightening and energizing. I look forward to future visits to this special place.”
After a brief intermission and chance for attendees to meet and greet with the keynote speaker, Robert Hicks took the stage to introduce Robert Leath, vice president of collections and research at Old Salem Museums and Gardens and chief curator at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Harrison Crabtree, president of the Williamson County Renasant Bank was given a gift by David Garrett, president of the Heritage Foundation and Bari Beasley in thanks for Renasant Bank’s support of this inaugural event. In addition to thanking the Heritage Foundation for their continued preservation work, Crabtree’s remarks included a public reveal of the rendering for the new Downtown Franklin location of Renasant Bank.
Robert Leath added, “Williamson County has a remarkable legacy of historic architecture and decorative arts, combined with being one of the fastest growing areas in the country. The Heritage Foundation is to be congratulated for taking the bull by the horns and getting ahead of these pressing issues. Many people around the country now look to Williamson County for that delicate balance of sustainable livability with respect for vitally important historic assets.”
Lunch was served by Merridee’s Breadbasket, followed by a final presentation by Chris Ohrstrom who was introduced by preservationist and Heritage Foundation board member Kay Heller. Ohrstrom is the co-founder of Adelphi Paperhangings, as well as a Trustee and Former Chairman of the World Monuments Fund.
Ohrstrom remarked, “the combination of speakers with extremely rich content and an engaged and very knowledgeable audience made it a particularly fulfilling experience.”
The symposium concluded with a panel discussion and final remarks by Bari Beasley.
About the Heritage Foundation
Since 1967, the nonprofit group has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Williamson County and to promote the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. For more information on the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.org.