Expect the Best in Spokane

So you are asking yourself, should I attend the National Preservation Conference in Spokane? Can my travel budget handle it, how long will it take to get there?  Will I learn anything new, anything that will help me do my job better? 

We can’t answer these questions for you, but we can tell you a little bit about what to expect if you do go.  First, expect to be amazed.  Spokane is a truly remarkable city.  Set in the Inland Northwest, it is a city shaped by breathtaking landscape features, rich native traditions, and architectural triumphs brought about by the economic power of the railroads, mining, and hydroelectricity projects. In short, it is an extraordinary setting for preservationists to grapple with the complex issues facing their work and the world today. For example, Native American cultural resource preservation challenges will be front and center this year, as will discussions around preservation of heritage on public lands and in wilderness areas. While you may not work directly with such resources, we promise you thought- provoking and revelatory sessions that can aid and inspire your work in places that do not lend themselves to traditional preservation approaches. 
In Spokane expect sessions that raise tough questions. Each day begins with a Conversation Starter such as  Saturday morning’s Beyond LEED: A Candid Conversation about Green Building Standards and Preservation, which promises to have important implications for our sustainability work over the long term.  And, recognizing that we can’t win every preservation battle, other sessions will address what to do when demolition is the only option or how to secure the best mitigation outcomes.

Expect also to return home with practical skills and tools. A four-session Real Estate Learning Lab will cover project development and management, financing techniques, and the fine art of working with local governments to make projects happen. Look for the session about an important new building performance measure that will change the way property owners make choices about energy upgrades and building improvements. Also find out about new historic resource survey techniques and predictive modeling that can ensure better planning and development in your community. 

Whether you are a veteran preservationist or just starting your career or avocation, expect to be challenged. This year’s conference sessions were selected because they address critical preservation issues, offer cutting-edge strategies and models, raise provocative questions about preservation practices and values, and/or and identify new and unexplored preservation trends.   

And, of course, expect the unexpected at sessions such as A World Without Tax Credits, Adventures in Advocacy, and Modern, Massive and Multicultural.  All told, expect 69 educational sessions, some 30 field sessions, and dynamic keynote speakers like Annie Leonard, creator of the Story of Stuff Project and Knute Berger, affectionately known as Mossback, an outspoken and award-winning Northwest journalist. 

We urge you to take a minute to review the preliminary program, consider the deep discounts available only to Forum members (especially if you register early), check out flights – Spokane is non-stop from most major hubs – and think about what information, skills, partnerships, and inspiration you need to do your job.  We think you’ll put Spokane on your to-do list for fall. 

Expect to see you there!


Between June 1 and June 15 registration is open for Forum members only and includes a significant discount on field sessions. You are also invited to a members-only VIP reception with the opening plenary speaker Annie Leonard.