Preservation Oklahoma Inc. will celebrate its two decades of service with two events on Thursday, Nov. 8.
The first is a symposium about the role of preservation in community revitalization efforts, the education of preservation leaders, the importance of historic schools and preservation from an American Indian tribal perspective.
The second is a party featuring live music by Beau Jennings and the Tigers.
Since 1992, the organization has worked with individuals and groups to maintain some of the state's aging or abandoned monuments, buildings and communities. Each year it releases a list of endangered places; the 2012 list includes sites such as Griffin Chapel in Norman, Stage Center in Oklahoma City and the Larkin Hotel in Blackwell.
Preservation Oklahoma also hosts tombstone conservation workshops to teach people how to care for, repair and maintain burial markers. Other efforts include “This Place Matters” tours that highlight sites' importance to Oklahoma; past tours included visits to Durant and Boley, a once-vital black community that has been crumbling for decades.
“It's the why and the how,” said David Pettyjohn, the organization's new executive director. “Why is a structure important? How does it fit into the fabric of a community, region and state? We try to explain to people the importance of preserving these structures. … They've been here a long time so we can enjoy them, but we want them to remain for a long time so our grandchildren can see them.”
The organization is the state partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It works on projects with the Oklahoma Historical Society's State Historic Preservation Office.
The Nov. 8 symposium is titled “Oklahoma's Cultural Fabric: Using Preservation to Grow and Sustain Our Communities and Heritage.”
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will open the symposium, which is funded by a grant from the Kirkpatrick Foundation. Other speakers include people with hands-on experience at preserving historic sites and representatives from state agencies who know that preservation can strengthen Oklahoma communities, according to a news release.
“It is vital that the importance of protecting our state's cultural heritage be emphasized to decision makers and the public at large,” said Barrett Williamson, board president of Preservation Oklahoma, in the release. “The purpose of this symposium is to do just that by celebrating preservation successes while engaging in meaningful discussion of preservation challenges.”
The symposium will be from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr.
Tickets are $20. All materials and lunch will be provided.
After the symposium, attend the group's 20th anniversary party in Oklahoma City's historic Automobile Alley.
The celebration, titled “20/20: Two Decades of Preservation Oklahoma,” begins at 6 p.m. at the Caliber, 48 NW 8.
Entertainment will include live music, a video chronicling the organization's history and a presentation by author and Route 66 expert Michael Wallis. Founding board members will be recognized for their work.
The Preservation Oklahoma Young Leadership Award will be presented to Kristen Vails, executive director of the Plaza District Association.
The party is made possible by the Kirkpatrick Foundation, with additional support provided by BC Clark Jewelers, BancFirst, West, COOP Ale Works, the Spirit Shop, Pachinko Parlor and Sara Sara Cupcakes.
Admission to the party is not included with a symposium ticket. Party tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Tickets to both events may be purchased online at www.preservationok.org or by phone at 525-5325. A one-year individual membership to Preservation Oklahoma — a $25 value — is included with the purchase of two tickets.