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International preservationist tours WV

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The West Virginia Humanities Council will observe National Historic Preservation Month this May by bringing Sir Neil Cossons, distinguished historian, museum director and former chairman of English Heritage, to West Virginia for a speaking tour.  English Heritage is the advisor to the government of the United Kingdom on the historic environment of England, from Stonehenge to manor houses.

Cossons begins his tour on May 7 with a 7 p.m. presentation of "A Future for the Past: Preserving the Past as an Asset for the Future" at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town. He will repeat the program on May 8 at 7 p.m. at West Virginia University's Erikson Alumni Center in Morgantown and on May 9 at 7 p.m. at West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling. The programs are free and the public is cordially invited to attend.

Cossons will discuss the philosophy and processes for historic preservation in England. He will examine what is preserved, why and how; consider new uses for historic buildings; and share examples of how communities can use historic places as the framework for creating the future in England and other countries.

Sir Neil was knighted in 1994 for his work with museums and historic preservation and has advised governments, museums, and preservation organizations in several countries. His visit to West Virginia was facilitated by his friend and colleague Emory L. Kemp, founder of the Institute for the History of Technology & Industrial Archaeology at WVU and former chair of the department of civil engineering. Cossons was the first director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum – a World Heritage site in Shropshire encompassing 10 museums collectively telling the story of the Industrial Revolution – as well as director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. He has worked on a number of World Heritage nominations.
For information call the West Virginia Humanities Council at 304-346-8500.

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