Historic Preservation


James Buckley, Program Director
70 NW Couch Street, Floor 4R
Portland, Oregon 97209

The University of Oregon's Historic Preservation Program is best described as having broad cultural concerns with a technical emphasis. Attention is given to historic places, buildings, and landscapes in terms of their specific forms, materials, construction, and use. The cultural and theoretical context in which they were developed is addressed, as is the impact of time upon their materials, meanings, and needs. The technologies, interpretations, and means for sustaining the presence of historic places in the future are also emphasized.

Students gain an understanding of historic resources and the processes for their preservation. This includes core courses in research methods, preservation history and theory, architectural history, and the economic, legal, and administrative processes of preservation. Students choose from three focal areas:

  1. sustainable preservation theory, design, and technology
  2. cultural resource management
  3. resource identification and evaluation

Other focal areas are feasible but must be approved in advance by the submission of a curriculum plan by the student by the second term of the student’s first year.

Courses are augmented by fieldwork in the urban, suburban, and rural areas of the region. Oregon contains Native American sites, rural buildings and landscapes developed by U.S. and European immigrant pioneers from the 1830s, as well as urban development since the 1840s. More recent transformations of the landscape by various ethnic groups and technological innovations are also explored. Extensive instructional use of the region takes place through an emphasis on the cultural and technical aspects of vernacular resources, field trips, participation in projects at the university, and through local community groups. There is also frequent involvement with the area’s professionals, officials, and agencies concerned with historic resources.

Recent opportunities for experience include window restoration and traditional earth construction workshops, documentation for a Historic American Buildings Survey for the Alaska Regional Office of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; a preservation field guide for the community of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve; a condition assessment and stabilization of Gilbert’s Cabin in North Cascades National Park; a condition assessment of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Gordon House in Silverton, Oregon; the documentation of the Finney House frontier cabin in Nevada City, Montana; the limestone roof replacement on a late sixteenth-century stone cottage on the island of Drvenik Veli, Croatia; and the reconstruction of the Ferry House porch in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Whidbey Island, Washington.

In addition to providing hands-on training in what might be considered mainstream preservation activities, the program emphasizes the importance of cultural conservation including issues of diversity, identity, and community development. This includes a concern not only for how various ethnic groups shaped buildings and landscapes in the distant past, but how similar settings are reproduced by cultural groups in the present. Individual research efforts by students are augmented by visiting lecturers, such as those by Boyd Pratt, Jean Carroon, and Gunny Harboe.

Beyond completing core and focal area courses, each student is required to complete individualized study, including reading and thesis research, a summer internship, and a thesis or terminal project. Some former students have chosen to develop specialties and concurrent master’s degrees in closely related fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, and planning, public policy and management; others have created more unique combinations with studies in museums, economic development, and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Besides encouraging students to develop an individualized course of study, the program is characterized by students who exhibit self-motivation and individual initiative. These traits, which are not only expected but are also necessary for successful completion of the program, contribute to the professional growth of students. Graduates of the Historic Preservation Program are employed in preservation-related fields over a wide geographic area. Some choose to pursue work in the private sector as specialists in architectural offices or as consultants. Others serve in the public sector with municipal planning departments, state historic preservation offices, or federal cultural resources divisions. Some graduates choose to work with nonprofit agencies, while others select careers in preservation and restoration.



Christopher Bell, instructor (historic preservation). BA, 1998, Williams; MS, 2005, Oregon. (2009)

James Buckley, associate professor; Venerable Chair in Historic Preservation. BA, 1982, Yale; MCRP, 1986, PhD, 2000, California, Berkeley. (2016)

Elizabeth Carter, instructor (historic preservation). BA, 1988, MS, 1994, Oregon. (2005)

Eric L. Eisemann, instructor (legal issues). BA, 1974, Knox; MA, 1980, Western Kentucky; JD, 1994, Lewis and Clark. (1984)

Kingston Heath, professor (historic preservation). BA, 1968, Lake Forest; MA, 1975, Chicago; MA, 1978, PhD, 1985, Brown. (2003)

Rick Minor, courtesy adjunct instructor (archaeology). BA, 1972, California State, Fullerton; MA, 1973, PhD, 1983, Oregon. (2009)

Suzana Radivojevic, adjunct instructor (wood science). BScFE, 1997, Belgrade; PhD, 2006, Toronto. (2013)

Kirk Ranzetta, instructor (historic preservation, planning). BA, 1994, Mary Washington; MA, 1996, PhD, 2006, Delaware. (2006)

The date in parentheses at the end of each entry is the first year on the University of Oregon faculty.


Howard Davis, architecture

Keith Eggener, history of art and architecture

Mark Eischeid, landscape architecture

Mark Gillem, architecture

Maile Hutterer, history of art and architecture

Renee A. Irvin, planning, public policy and management

Robert L. Thallon, architecture

Jenny Young, architecture


  • Historic Preservation

Important note: The Historic Preservation Program is not currently accepting new undergraduate minors during the restructuring of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts into the College of Design.

Major - Master's Degree