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College of Environment and Design

MHP Students Explore Savannah

In February, the students and faculty of the Master of Historic Preservation program embarked on their annual Preservation Perspectives Trip. This year, students and faculty traveled to Savannah, Georgia for a three-day trip filled with visits to historic sites and meetings with preservationists in different roles across the city.

Students travel to Savannah, Georgia.

On the first day of the trip, students and faculty met at the Tybee Island Lighthouse where they met with Sarah Owens, the Director of the Tybee Island Historical Society. Ms. Owens led students on a tour of the Light Keeper’s Cottages nearby, and then students were free to climb to the top of the lighthouse. Afterwards, students visited Fort Pulaski where site Superintendent, Melissa Memory, led students and faculty on a tour of the grounds.

On the second day of the trip, students and faculty started the day at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters. Elyse Gerstenecker guided everyone through the space and discussed the ways in which the sites interpretation has changed in recent years. The group found it impactful to begin the tour in the slave quarters. This area features a wall with the names of enslaved people known to have been in this space. Following the tour, the group visited the Chatham County – Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission and talked to the Director of Historic Preservation, Leah G. Michalak about the role of the city in preservation efforts. Students explore Savannah, Georgia.

Following this meeting, students met with the Historic Savannah Foundation. Ryan Jarles, the Director of Preservation and Historic Properties and Kimberly Newfold, the Education and Research Associate, talked with the group about HSF’s role in the city and gave students a tour of the Kiah House Museum, which they had recently acquired.

Afterwards, students toured the Laurel Grove Cemetery, North and South with Sam Beetler who is the Director of City Cemeteries for Savannah. He talked to students about maintenance practices.

Students visit historic sites in Savannah, Georgia.On the last day of the trip, students met with Ethos Preservation to discuss the ongoing efforts with the Isle of Hope Historic District. In the afternoon, the group visited the UGA Center for Research and Education on Skidaway Island. Professor Goetcheus took students on a tour of the Wormsloe Historic Site and discussed the landscape and archaeological elements in the area.

The trip ended with a visit to the Pin Point Heritage Museum. Students learned about Gulla Geechee Culture and the community that formed on these islands off the coast of Savannah.

Students walk along on a dock.

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