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Historic Preservation

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Welcome! to Historic Preservation at Ursuline where diversity and breadth of experience transform your interests into a career to last a lifetime.

We are glad that you are considering joining us for your educational journey into a profession that preserves cultural memory while also providing sustainable solutions for your community.

Graduate school should be one of the best experiences of your life.  You should be able to look back upon it with the exhilarating sense of accomplishment that comes when you have worked hard towards a goal to which you are passionately committed and about which you are intensely fascinated.  The success of that experience starts with the choices you make on a program and a school.

What’s special about our program? 

  •  faculty members are engaged professionals with specialized skills who actively involve you in projects outside as well as inside the classroom.
  • unique location allows easy access to cityscape, ethnic neighborhoods, rural villages, and Amish farmsteads, all actively used as learning laboratories.
  • focus on your personal interests and the building of a professional portfolio to prepare you for entering the profession.
  • recognition by the National Council for Preservation Education for the strength of our curriculum.
  •  approach to the intellectual and emotional connection to the natural and built environment through the lens of personal experience in exploring issues of historic significance in relation to majority and minority populations, to groups that have been silent as well as those that are vocal, and to the role gender plays in the social construct and perception of place.
  •  strong intersections between Ursuline’s liberal arts tradition and the needs of the Historic Preservation profession in the 21st century. > 

We hope that the information on these Historic Preservation webpages and the links provided here help answer your initial questions while raising new inquiries and enthusiasm.  Please browse our website, contact us if you have any questions, and plan to call or visit us soon to chat about how our program can help you achieve your career goals.  We look forward to helping you along a rewarding journey toward a career in historic preservation.

Best regards,

Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D.

Director, Historic Preservation


Heritage:  Investigate.  Protect.  Inspire.

Ursuline College's Graduate Program in Historic Preservation prepares tomorrow's leaders to make sustainable and unique contributions to their world by preserving cultural memory and its lessons. Historic Preservation is a commitment as well as a discipline and a profession.

For Ursuline, Historic Preservation is as much about the future as it is about the past.

ursuline college historic preservation
Click here to view the Historic Preservation brochure (.pdf)

Aspiring Historic Preservationists:

  • explore the richness and depth of our cultural identity and experience
  • mine the remnants of the past to interpret the VALUES and lessons in the cultural landscapes, innovative architecture, and artifacts we create
  • develop the skills to identify the most meaningful and sustainable elements of our created environment
  • find their VOICE to protect and enhance appreciation of our cultural legacy
  • enVISIONthe path to assure that cultural heritage resources enrich quality of life

Ursuline's classroom extends to all of northeastern Ohio with its incredible diversity.
  • centuries-old Cleveland with its
    • ever-changing downtown and lakefront
    • fascinating ethnic neighborhoods
    • graceful suburbs
  • charming New England-style communities
  • traditional Amish culture areas
  • lovely, rolling, farm-dotted countryside

Our classrooms have no walls, but our projects do! Ursuline's students enjoy access to resources that include:

World class museums and organizations
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Orchestra with its historic home at Severance Hall

National Historic Landmarks

Cleveland Arcade
Lawnfield, James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Stan Hywet Hall and Garden
And scores of National Register properties

National Heritage Areas

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canal Way

Nationally known public history and preservation institutions

Cleveland Museum of Natural History with its Green City/Blue Lake Institute
Cleveland Restoration Society, the award-winning Local Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Intermuseum Conservation Association
Lakeview Cemetery
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
Western Reserve Historical Society with its Library/Archives and Hale Farm and Village Living History Museum - all Smithsonian Associates

Local specialized architectural firms

Professional conferences and symposiums,
including the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Heritage Ohio, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Historic Preservation Symposium, Ohio Academy of History

Ursuline - where classroom theory meets real life experience.

This is an interdisciplinary degree program where you'll immerse yourself in the community guided by mentors. Courses actively involve you in Historic Preservation as you document buildings and historic sites, then work with community and government leaders to prepare plans for the preservation, redevelopment and adaptive reuse of those sites. You will then write the grant applications needed to fund those planned projects. Finally, you will document each portion of the process to provide a historic record for the community and future generations.


Ellis, Dawn. Historic Preservation and Car Culture. 2012.  This thesis explores the relationship between car culture and historic preservation in the United States. It examines the role of governmental programs such as the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and national urban renewal projects of the 1960s and 1970s in the development of the dominance of the personal automobile in relation to land use and the built environment in the United States. The Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood of Tremont is highlighted as an example of the interplay between the forces of car culture and historic preservation in the United States  
Fisher, Heather S. Defining Sense of Place Through Historic Character of Vernacular Architecture: The Creation of the Larchmere Boulevard Historic District.  2011.  The focus of this Master's thesis is on the exploration of the relationship between vernacular architecture, as represented on Larchmere Boulevard, and historic district eligibility criteria and its significance in identifying historic character and sense of place. Research will focus on the eclectic mix of historic commercial buildings and converted residential properties located in the Larchmere Boulevard Business District and the district's potential for National Register of Historic Places and City of Cleveland Local Landmark historic district designation. This thesis will concentrate on the establishment of an historic district based on the district's genuine local historic character and its vernacular architecture that conveys its unique sense of place.  
Lann, Margaret A. Behind the Wall: The Painter Estate and the Ursuline Nuns of Cleveland. 2011. Laudadio, Cassidy.  The Warner and Swasey Observatory, East Cleveland, Ohio.  2010. Meinke, Elizabeth.  Planning, Preservation and Persistence:  Progressive Planning Advocate Charlotte Rumbold and Her Legacy’s Importance to Historic Preservation. 2012. Throughout her life and career Charlotte Rumbold was noted for her persistence and dedication to improving the conditions of residential housing and to creating more thoughtfully organized and accommodating public buildings and spaces. Though she was not an architect or lamenting the loss of historic structures, her work in both public and private planning organizations directly impacted the built world. To accurately interpret the history of the built world, a fundamental core of historic preservation, it is imperative to understand the motivations of those who helped shape the built world. I assert interpreting such influence is fundamental to the discipline of historic preservation. This thesis will explore Rumbold’s direct influence in the first half of the 20th century on residential housing, urban parks, city planning policy, broad social reforms, and how all these elements relate with the discipline of historic preservation. Ogle, Mary.  LaSalle Theatre: The National Register Nomination and Assessment for Adaptive ReUse. 2011.  
Smith, Emily. Cain Park:  Preserving an Innovative Park in American Theatre Movements. 2013.Cain Park is a community-owned and operated open-air performance space and has operated in this capacity almost continually since it opened in 1938.  A designated Cleveland Heights Landmark, the park is also eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and is a significant site in both local and national history.  It is the only known WPA-era municipally owned and operated outdoor theater in the state of Ohio.  >Conceived in the mid-thirties, Cain Park is rich in history. The brainchild of Heights High School drama teacher Dr. Dina Rees Evans and Cleveland Heights Mayor Frank C. Cain, Cain Park's original purpose remains unaltered. In 1934, with the help of WPA funds and the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Relief Commission, construction began for an amphitheatre complex. >Since its inaugural season in 1938, Cain Park has remained a living symbol of the City's commitment to nurturing quality programming in the arts for an area population that undeniably thrives on it.  WATCH EMILY'S "CAIN PARK 75TH ANNIVERSARY" PRESENTATION AT http://youtu.be/lb2ZEXuJvd0>
Toth, Rachael, A Fight for Change:  The Story of Union Chapel. 2012.

Viviani, Kristina Kosloff. St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Lakewood, Ohio. 2009. Wobig, Jessica.  Adapting Preservation: The Cleveland Environmental Center.  2013.    The Cleveland Environmental Center historic retrofit project represents the evolution of historic preservation practice towards a more sustainable and conservation based approach, but this investigation shows that the first historic commercial retrofit in Cleveland, Ohio, succeeded by remaining true to historic preservation standards rather than relying solely on sustainability principles. 

Wright, Karen.  A Study of Buildings Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 2011.