Course Title:  01:082:431  Theories & Methods of Architectural Preservation

Academic Credits:  3 credits

Mode of Instruction:  Seminar

Course Prerequisites and Corequisites: None

Core Curriculum: None

Course Description:

Political , social, and cultural significance of historic buildings and sites throughout  the United States and abroad.  Overview of the origins of architectural conservation in Europe.  Contemporary theories, methods, techniques, and problems in the fields of historic preservation.

This upper-level seminar offers an in-depth look at the historiography, theory, and practice of historic preservation in the United States. It provides the foundation for understand practices that affect, protect, or conserve historic buildings. Coursework will chart the evolution of the preservation field from the 19th century to contemporary issues, cover the theoretical frameworks that assess value, history, and culture, and converge these ideas into practical applications for preservation in the everyday. Students will learn how to read architectural plans, elevations, and sections, and discuss different approaches to conservation based on building materiality. The readings and work will also outline the organizational structures and legislation that dictate the direction of the profession, as well as introduce students to the relationship architectural preservation has with allied fields such as city planning, economic development, archaeology, and landscape studies. There will be required field trips to two historic sites in the region

Learning Goals:

  • Develop a definition and understanding of the concept of historic preservation in the United States
  • Act as engaged critics in the areas of design, city planning, and cultural heritage
  • Analyze and evaluate different approaches to safeguarding the built environment
  • Argue different sides of debates concerning the built environment, planning, legal issues, interpretation, and historic preservation based on theories discussed in reading and coursework

Required and Recommended Course Materials:

Max Page and Randall Mason, eds. Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2019).



There will be required field trips to two historic sites in the region


Your success in this course depends entirely on your attendance, participation, reading, and completion of course assignments. This course meets once a week and attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend all classes. Special circumstances such as excused absences are the exception. These include illness, religious holiday, or a personal/family crisis that is documented by an academic administrator. If you expect to miss class, please use the University absence reporting website to indicate the date and reason for your absence. An email is automatically sent to me. You are allowed two unexcused absences; absences after that are detrimental to your class grade. Each unexcused absence will result in a 2% lowering of the final grade in this course. Timeliness is paramount, class meetings are 80m, and tardiness can cause you to miss important class announcements and information in lecture.


Participation (10%)
Discussion Section Lead (10%)
Local Council Meeting Paper (5-7 pp) (25%)
House Museum Analysis Paper (5-7 pp) (25%)
Final Paper (7-9 pp) (30%)


Professor Amber Wiley

Disclaimer:  These course descriptions/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course information, refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.