Executive Director Isabel Thornton and the work of Restoration Housing are part of the Power in Preservation exhibit at the Dumbarton House in Washington D.C. Isabel is among ten present-day preservationists featured in the exhibit which celebrates the contributions of women to the field of historic preservation. The exhibit spans 160 years from early efforts to preserve landmark buildings associated with our country’s founding to the preservation movement of today.
The exhibit starts with early preservation initiatives from George Washington’s home by Ann Pamela Cunninghan and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in the 1850s to the restoration of the Dumbarton House Museum by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the 1930s. The exhibit then moves to the contribution of women in preservation today by presenting a microcosm of female professionals who work as developers, contractors, tradesmen, community activists, researchers, educators, and scholars from across the country.
Thornton’s panels include discussions on challenges to the preservation field and why the work of Restoration Housing is so critical to our community. “The rehab projects that our organization undertakes are tangible representations of the ideals that I have for all cities,” said Thornton. “That they may honor their historic built infrastructure and reinvest in underserved neighborhoods in a way that brings honor and dignity to its inhabitants.”
The Dumbarton House is the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America and a historic house museum promoting an understanding of historic preservation and the early history of our nation. Dumbarton House is open Friday through Sunday each week with the exhibit running through the end of the year. A virtual exhibit is available at https://dumbartonhouse.org/power-in-preservation/ with Restoration Housing featured at minutes 5:18 and 16:15.
Restoration Housing is a local Roanoke nonprofit organization that develops affordable rental properties for the benefit of limited-income families and individuals through the rehabilitation and preservation of Roanoke’s architectural resources. For more information on Restoration Housing, Dumbarton House, and The Colonial Dames visit the following websites.