The Paul E. Buchanan Award was instituted by VAF in 1993 to recognize contributions to the study and preservation of vernacular architecture and the cultural landscape that do not take the form of books or published work. In this respect, the Buchanan Award is emblematic of the value VAF places on the diversity of work in the field, and the tangible benefit these contributions provide in both academic and public sector settings. Perhaps most importantly, the Buchanan Award is testament to VAF's commitment to civic engagement and the idea that broad participation in the study and understanding of vernacular landscapes provides an indispensible social good.
This year's winner of the Buchanan Award is the Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project, a web-based context study that provides unprecedented guidance in studying Pennsylvania’s agricultural landscapes and a framework for honoring and protecting them through their placement on the National Register of Historic Places. In the words of the project website, this initiative contains
narrative histories describing the evolution of different farming systems around the state, historic census data, a field guide to historic farm buildings and landscapes, and bibliographic resources. Developed to support the evaluation of farming resources for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places, the project provides the data and guidance needed for state and federal agencies, scholars, teachers, and the public…This is a comprehensive planning document that addresses the scope and character of Pennsylvania's historic agricultural resources that we are hopeful will be a valuable tool that can be used to protect natural and historic resources that comprise Pennsylvania's 'farm country.'
For truly embodying the spirit of public scholarship and public service, the Vernacular Architecture Forum is pleased to honor longtime VAF member Sally McMurry and the Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project with this year's Paul E. Buchanan Award.