Society of Architectural Historians Announces Public Architecture Tours & Events in St. Paul

by SAH News | Feb 21, 2018

The Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to announce a roster of architecture tours and public events that will showcase the distinctive architecture and landscapes of the Twin Cities to local, national, and international audiences. These public programs are part of the SAH 71st Annual International Conference, which will take place April 18–22, 2018, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

The SAH conference is expected to draw over 600 architectural and art historians, architects, preservationists, and museum professionals from around the world to present new research on the history of the built environment. Local historians, architects, preservationists and heritage professionals will lead the conference’s tours and participate in public talks that address salient issues facing the region. Engaging the local community—both professionals and the interested public—is one of the priorities of the SAH Annual International Conference.

SAH conference events and tours that are open to the public are listed below. The public may register for these events online at

Voorsanger​Pre-Conference Program
Preserving the Present: The Voorsanger Architects Archive at the University of St. Thomas

Tuesday, April 17, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m., University of St. Thomas, OEC Auditorium
Free; no registration required.

Bartholomew Voorsanger, Dell Upton, and Victoria Young will discuss the career of Voorsanger Architects PC and the process of creating an archive at the University of St. Thomas to preserve his firm’s architectural legacy. The conversation will be followed by a reception to view the accompanying exhibition, curated by Victoria Young.

CapitolPre-Conference Workshop
Strategies for Visual and Oral Documentation: “Modern Masters” and the Minnesota State Capitol

Wednesday, April 18, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., Minnesota State Capitol
Tickets: $40

Speakers: Gary Reetz, FAIA, HGA  Architects and Engineers; Chair, MNSAH Modern Masters; Frank Egerton Martin, Landscape Historian; Lisa Blackstone, Filmmaker; Robert Hutchings, Director of Photography; Arijit Sen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Eric Mueller, Photographer; Barbara W. Sommer, Oral Historian; Linda Mack, Architecture Critic; Michael Bjornberg, FAIA, CID, NCARB, Preservation Design Works; Ginny Lackovic, AIA, HGA Architects and Engineers; Mark Wickstrom, Master Stone Carver; Gwen Westerman, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Tangible forms of evidence—buildings, landscapes, images, and documents—are integral to architectural and landscape history, but what of the memories of those who have shaped these environments and the experiences of those who have engaged and reshaped them? Oral and video histories have the potential to broaden the range of voices involved in the production of historical knowledge. This workshop presents methods for producing oral and video histories that you can adapt to your own projects. Specialists in videography and the use of smartphones for photography and recording will present various tools and techniques, and an oral historian will discuss best practices and ethical issues. To illustrate these methods, the workshop will feature clips from the “Modern Masters” video oral history series, which documents “the architects, landscape architects, designers, historians, educators, critics, clients, and patrons who have made significant contributions to modernism in Minnesota.” To demonstrate these methods, the workshop will conclude with the production of short video interviews with people involved in the recent (and controversial) restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol.

riverfrontSAH Saint Paul Seminar
“Confluences: Place, Change, and Meaning on the Mississippi”

Saturday, April 21, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Science Museum of Minnesota, Discovery Hall 
Tickets: $10

Speakers: Thomas Fisher, Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation and University of Minnesota; Bruce Chamberlain, ASLA, LOAM, LLC; Mary deLaittre, Great River Passage Initiative, Saint Paul; Greg Donofrio, University of Minnesota; Patrick Nunnally, University of Minnesota; and Iyekiyapiwin Darlene St. Clair, St. Cloud State University

Over the past several decades, river cities throughout the world have faced the challenge of reconceiving and reconnecting with their postindustrial riverfronts. The 2018 St. Paul Seminar will focus on the rapidly changing postindustrial landscapes along the Twin Cities Mississippi River corridor. For millennia this region was—as it still is—Mni Sota Makoce, the Dakota people’s homeland. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Euro-Americans transformed the riverine landscape to facilitate colonization, commerce, industry, and connections with regional and global systems. Today, the Twin Cities’ riverfronts have been transformed. Multiple stakeholders—from the National Park Service, historical societies, and government agencies, to Dakota people, designers, and developers—are invested in a new wave of redevelopment initiatives that engage the past and look to the future. These raise questions about accessibility and equity; about recognizing multiple forms of heritage, tangible and intangible; and about sustaining connections between the changing riverfront and the culturally diverse communities that form the Twin Cities. This seminar will give voice to varied perspectives by convening people who are reshaping the riverfront—planners, designers, historians, and community activists—to discuss the ways priorities conflict and converge as they reconceive the river’s multilayered—and multi-vocal—landscapes. Presentations and discussion will focus on three sets of sites: B’Dote and Fort Snelling, St. Paul’s proposed River Balcony project, and Minneapolis’s mill district and proposed Waterworks Park.

Conference Tours

Tickets for the following conference tours are on sale to the public. Tour leaders are listed below the tour titles. Please see the Tour Booklet, available at, for descriptions of each tour.

TR02 Built/Unbuilt: Original Works in the Northwest Architectural Archives
Barbara Bezat, University of Minnesota
Cheryll Fong, University of Minnesota
Wednesday, April 18, 1:00–5:00 p.m. 
Tickets: $35

TR07 Rice Park: An Intimate Enclosure Gives Grace to a City
Bob Roscoe, Design for Preservation
Thursday, April 19, 1:30–2:45 p.m.
Tickets: $20

TR13 Between the Cores: The Built History of University Avenue
Denis Gardner, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
Leslie Coburn, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
Saturday, April 21, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $20

TR14 Challenges at Contested Sites: Mississippi River and Fort Snelling
Pat Nunnally, University of Minnesota
Saturday, April 21, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50
This tour complements the SAH Saint Paul Seminar (see above).

TR15 University of Minnesota: Renovation and Renewal
Laura Weber, Minnesota Historical Society
Saturday, April 21
1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $35

TR18 From Lager Houses to Craft Brewing: Making Beer in the Twin Cities
Kristin Anderson, Augsburg University
Saturday, April 21, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $35

TR20 Frank Lloyd Wright: The Willey House in Minneapolis
Steve and Lynette Sikora, The Willey House
Sunday, April 22, 8:45 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Tickets: $45

TR21 Purcell and Elmslie: Masters of Prairie School Architecture
Rolf Anderson, Historical Consultant
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50

TR22 Summit Avenue: Saint Paul’s Grand Boulevard
Brian Horrigan, Minnesota Historical Society
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Tickets: $35

TR23 The University Grove: Modernist Houses
Dennis Gimmestad, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Department of Transportation (retired)
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Tickets: $35

TR24 Along the Mississippi: Past, Present, and Future
National Park Service Staff
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $70
​This tour complements the SAH Saint Paul Seminar (see above).

TR25 Twin Cities Parks: Landscape Architecture for the West
Frank Edgerton Martin, Historical Consultant
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50 

TR26 Modernism in Minnesota
Todd Grover, MacDonald and Mack Architects
Sunday, April 22, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50

TR27–TR28 Frank Lloyd Wright: The Willey House in Minneapolis
Steve and Lynette Sikora, The Willey House
Sunday, April 22
10:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m. (TR27)
11:15 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (TR28)
Tickets: $45 each tour

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs. 

Contact: Helena Dean, Director of Communications,, 312.543.7243
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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