Historic society, Wallace Community College to host free public lecture

Published 5:19 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

By Staff Reports

The Selma Times-Journal

The Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society (SDCHPS) and Wallace Community College-Selma (WCCS) will co-host a lecture on historic preservation of masonry structures on Oct. 24, from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at WCCS.

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The lecture will be presented by Catherine Cooper, PhD, Research Scientist at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

In her lecture, Dr. Cooper will cover an overview of historic buildings and their construction, before diving into deeper detail of masonry structures and the importance of mortar in a healthy building system. Attendees will learn about the methods used to preserve historic masonry buildings.

The lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Homeowners, construction professionals, students, and anyone with an interest in historic preservation are encouraged to attend. The lecture will be funded by a grant from the Alabama Historical Commission.

“We are excited to partner with WCCS to bring this important lecture to Selma,” said Rachel Metcalf, Administrator of the nonprofit SDCHPS. “NCPTT is a national leader in the research and education of preservation technologies and techniques, and Dr. Cooper’s insights will be invaluable to anyone interested in historic preservation.”

Dr. Cooper is an expert in the field of historic masonry preservation. At NCPTT, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), Dr. Cooper assists with in-house research and provides technical preservation consulting and services to other NPS units and beyond.

The lecture is part of a larger effort by the SDCHPS and WCCS to promote historic preservation education in Selma. In spring 2024, Dr. Cooper will return to Selma to lead a hands-on mortar analysis workshop with WCCS masonry program students. The workshop will go into depth about how mortars are made—their components and how to identify and describe them. Workshop participants will learn how to take mortar samples and break the samples down into components to recreate the original, historic mortar recipe.

“This partnership is good for historic preservation, workforce development, and education in Selma,” said Ms. Metcalf. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

The lecture will be held at Wallace Community College-Selma in the Hank Sanders Technology Center building on the 1st Floor, Room 112. For more information, please contact the SDCHPS at admin@historicselma.org.