Award for Advocacy

The 2017 Advocacy Award went to the partnership of the MT Preservation Alliance, the MT History Foundation, and author/photographer Charlotte Caldwell for their “Big Sky Schoolhouses Statewide Preservation Project”. They have successfully advocated for the preservation of hundreds of rural school houses in Montana.  During the past six years this non-profit partnership has raised awareness of the significance of Montana’s historic schoolhouses, and they are now a leading a statewide initiative to save them. Inspired by the 2012 publication of Ms. Caldwell’s beautiful book of photography and local narratives, Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room Schoolhouses, the partnership launched a grant program for schoolhouse preservation and an ambitious county-by-county inventory of every standing schoolhouse remaining in Montana. To-date they have raised funds to support two dozen schoolhouse preservation projects, and their inventory has recorded over 200 standing schoolhouses, with only 40 counties still to go! Two leading members of the Montana Preservation Alliance, Executive Director Chere Jiusto, and Outreach and Education Director Christine Brown accepted the award at the 2017 conference in Salt Lake City.

The Vernacular Architecture Forum encourages and supports citizen efforts to protect our vernacular built heritage. The protection and preservation of our vernacular built heritage depends on good stewardship by property owners supported by sound government land use policies. However, the long-term preservation of our cultural heritage is rarely achieved without the support of a well-informed, involved citizenry.

The VAF seeks to encourage citizen-based advocacy by recognizing exemplary efforts and achievements on behalf of our vernacular built heritage. The VAF Award for Advocacy honors individuals and groups for exceptional contributions toward the appreciation and protection of vernacular buildings and landscapes. The award recognizes outstanding initiative, commitment, and action to promote and protect vernacular resources. The award may be made in recognition of a specific advocacy effort, or on the basis of the nominee's long-term record of advocacy.

Criteria for nomination:

  • The Award for Advocacy is open to work performed in the conference region. Any public or private entity in these states may be nominated.
  • The basis of the nomination must be documented.
  • Award not based on victory (meaning not demolished) but demonstrating vision, outreach, reason, efficacy, players, timeline, and outcome.

Nominations must include the following within a PowerPoint not to exceed 15 slides: the parties involved, the period of time of their involvement, where and why it occurred, and the outcomes.

Awardee was given two full registrations to the conference and a certificate of excellence.

See our Tools for Advocacy including links to websites that offer information and advice to help you in your own advocacy efforts.

2017 Advocacy Award Committee
Marie O'Neill, chair
Tom Carter
Chris Wilson
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