Molly Garfinkel
Director, Place Matters Project, City Lore
History Happens Here: Community-Based Approaches to Preservation


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


12:00 pm – 1:30 pm


38 West 86th Street, Seminar Room

Open to BGC faculty, staff, and students only.


Molly Garfinkel will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch talk as part of Cultures of Conservation: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-Funded Initiative on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, from 12:00 to 1:30pm. Her talk is entitled “History Happens Here: Community-Based Approaches to Preservation.”

Molly Garfinkel is Director of the Place Matters project, a wide-ranging public history and preservation initiative exploring the intersections between place and public life in partnership with the Municipal Art Society, at City Lore in New York City. She received her B.A. in Art History from Wesleyan University and her M.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia. At City Lore, Garfinkel coordinates and directs a number of New York-based projects, including “Khonsay: A Poem of Many Tongues,” a multimedia collaborative poetry project co-sponsored by Bowery Arts + Science, and “B’Ville Voices,” a year-long community-based public art project for the Village of Baldwinsville, NY, that will result in a trail of artful signage highlighting the first person stories, histories, and imagery of the town of Baldwinsville and its relation to the Erie Canal, past and present. Additionally, as Steward for Teaching American History, American Dream, and Critical Themes grants at City Lore, Garfinkel creates and presents original professional development workshops for elementary and middle school social studies teachers.

Place Matters works with the public to discover, interpret, and protect places that anchor traditions, preserve history, sustain communities, and keep our cities distinctive. In 1988, City Lore established the “Endangered Spaces” project to identify and advocate for local establishments and landmarks that were disappearing from the New York City landscape. In part, the rapid diminution of community loci resulted from the fact that these sites were unknown to preservationists or difficult for preservationists to interpret and, therefore, to protect. Ten year later, the Place Matters project was born as a collaborative initiative co-sponsored by City Lore and the Municipal Art Society. Since 1998, Place Matters has asked New Yorkers and others to identify places that matter and explain why. The initiative has introduced preservationists and community activists on the local and national scenes to new ways of thinking about the role of place in public life. In her talk at the BGC, Garfinkel will discuss approaches to preservation through which professionals and non-experts can work together to identify and sustain places in their local landscapes that embody a broader historical record and keep communities healthy and vibrant.

Brown Bag Lunch