The recommendations were made, and now word’s gone out to people in the preservation world: Mayor Vince Gray has settled on his picks to replace four members of the powerful Historic Preservation Review Board. A couple of them will make the confirmation process particularly interesting.
Two of the Gray’s nominees are actually already on the board: Maria Casarella, an architect with Cunningham and Quill who is heading up the board’s sustainability initiative, and local developer Elinor Bacon, who is a partner in the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront. The D.C. Building Industry Association endorsed their reappointment.
The first newbie is Nancy Metzger, coordinator of the Historic Districts Coalition and chair of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s historic preservation committee. She is viewed as something of a traditionalist, leading the charge against the Heritage Foundation’s third-floor addition. She was endorsed by the Committee of 100, but not the D.C. Preservation League (and certainly not the DCBIA).
The last name is one that made neither the building industry nor the historic preservation groups’ lists: Niani Kilkenny, who served as the director of the Program in African American Culture at the National Museum of American History from 1982 to 2003, and is now an independent consultant in design and concept development for museum and humanities projects. Difficulties may arise from the fact that she is being offered to fill the spot on the board that must be occupied by an historian*, which requires an academic background in history. Despite her long tenure at NMAH, her education is in business, economics, and marketing. If the National Park Service determines that she doesn’t fit the qualifications for being an historian, the Historic Preservation Office could lose federal funding, to the tune of half a million dollars a year.
So, should be an interesting confirmation hearing!
* The post originally said that Kilkenny was nominated as an architectural historian, not a regular historian.