Preservation Symposium



The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s annual Preservation Symposium brings nationally known speakers to discuss the values and future of historic preservation. Our 5th Annual Preservation Symposium, Perspectives in Preservation, will bring together preservation organizations, community leaders, residents, museum professionals, educators, students, architects, and developers to explore revitalizing preservation. Attendees will discover how we see and influence history while learning to recognize our full potential to revitalize preservation through education, advocacy, and engaging storytelling.

This one-day symposium will feature notable speakers and a roundtable discussion about how preservation is relevant in our communities. How do we talk about our work as preservationists, advocates, and community members in a way that connects with people from all walks of life? How may history-based and preservation advocacy organizations promote relevancy by preserving places, spaces, and stories?

During this session, we will share from a variety of perspectives (preservation, advocacy, research, community engagement) and will talk with each other - and you - about the challenges of communicating our relevance as we all work to learn more about seeing history’s potential in preservation. No fancy PowerPoints or pictures, just a conversation to shift the narrative to reflect a positive impact of preservation of all communities.

All attendees will receive a light breakfast and catered boxed lunches.


Educators and students get your tickets here.


Limited spaces are available. Click to secure your General Admission tickets today!


Members of the Heritage Foundation, Franklin Theatre, or Downtown Franklin Association get your tickets here.

Featured Speakers

"Beyond Bricks and Mortar: Preservation Advocacy Perspectives in Community"

Cashion Drolet serves as Chief Advocacy Officer for Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF). HCF champions the historic authenticity, cultural character and livability of the Charleston region through advocacy, stewardship and community engagement. In her role at HCF, Cashion develops and executes the Foundation’s advocacy and preservation initiatives and leads the Foundation’s preservation team. Through her work at HCF, Cashion proactively engages in preservation and community issues at the local, state and federal levels of government – such as housing affordability, growth management, resiliency planning, tourism management, transportation and infrastructure projects, and the increasing threat of sea level rise and coastal flooding. Cashion joined HCF in 2019 and has over 20 years of experience in the government relations and public policy fields, having worked in both Washington, DC and in statehouses across the Southeast on policy challenges in the land use, real estate, environmental, budgetary, housing and tax arenas. Cashion is a native of Charleston and a graduate of Davidson College. She is very involved in the community as well, serving on the boards of non-profit organizations. She has two dogs and enjoys travel, art, architecture, and running.

“Building an Effective Historic Preservation Toolbox for the 21st Century”

Kim Trent is a leader in the historic preservation community nationally. She has spent almost three decades creating solutions for reusing historic resources to meet community needs. Through her work with Knox Heritage; her mentoring of preservationists and organizations across the country; and serving on the Board of Trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Kim has gained the reputation for being a problem solver, relationship builder and savvy advocate for preservation-based community development.

She served for 15 years as the executive director of Knox Heritage, the non-profit historic preservation organization for the 16-county region encompassing Knoxville, Tennessee. She brings a diverse background to her current role, including experience in journalism, community organizing, community development banking, public relations, and non-profit management. She has worked in historic preservation professionally and as a community volunteer and advocate at the local, state, and national level for more than 25 years and is a proponent of preservation-based community and economic development. She is a native of Mobile, Alabama, and a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Specialties: Historic real estate development & financing; construction management; issue advocacy; media & public relations; non-profit management of staff, programs & budgets; strategic planning; development & implementation of policies & initiatives; management of fundraising activities, grant writing & contracts; special event planning & promotion; program development, management & implementation; cultivation of working relationships with government officials, developers & business leaders.

"Behind the Big House: Slavery and Cultural Tourism in Mississippi"

A professor of Anthropology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Dr. Jodi Skipper studies how Black pasts are represented in the present. She earned a B.A. in History from Grambling State University (LA), an M.A. in Anthropology from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a focus on African diaspora studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Her book Behind the Big House: Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the U.S. South (University of Iowa Press) tells the story of a southern academic navigating life and a career in landscapes that prioritize the Confederacy while silencing slavery.

Her collaboration with the nationally recognized Behind the Big House slave dwelling interpretation program in Mississippi, seeks to understand how historic preservation projects might play a role in imagining more sustainable and healthy futures for U.S. southern communities. You can learn more about that work at

Patrick McIntyre - Executive Director/State Historic Preservation Officer, Tennessee Historical Commission

Mr. McIntyre has served as the executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission and as Tennessee State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) since 2007.  Under his leadership, THC has increased preservation funding statewide, established a new historic cemetery preservation program, and bolstered the state historic sites program with the acquisition of properties including the restoration and opening of three state historic sites.  From 2002 to 2007, he served as the first executive director of the Tennessee Preservation Trust in Nashville. Prior to moving to Tennessee, McIntyre served as the Endangered Properties Coordinator for the Alabama Historical Commission.  Experienced in the field of archaeology, he has also worked as a private consultant specializing in architectural surveys and historic property nominations.  He is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a B.A. in Anthropology.  He holds an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi.  McIntyre has completed professional training courses including the Tennessee Government Executive Institute at the University of Tennessee; the Poplar Forest Restoration Field School in Lynchburg, Virginia; and both the regular and advanced editions of the National Trust’s Preservation Leadership Training Program.  McIntyre served on the Board of Directors for the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers in Washington, DC from 2009 to 2021, including eight years as an officer.

Alma McLemore -

Alma McLemore a native of Franklin, is the President of the board of directors of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County and serves as Executive Director. Ms. McLemore is a graduate of Franklin High School’s first integrated class. She has deep roots in the community and a servant’s heart. McLemore serves on the City of Franklin’s Planning Commission and Civil War Historical Commission. During her tenure at the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, Ms. McLemore has overseen the restoration of The McLemore House while it has been closed for COVID. In 2021, the AAHS was also able to purchase a second property, the Merrill-Williams home located at 264 Natchez Street. The home will eventually be used for educational and interpretive purposes for the Natchez neighborhood and for Black history.

Alma has served on many boards including Habitat for Humanity, WAVES, Franklin Tomorrow, New Hope Academy, Williamson County Chamber of Commerce Affordable Housing Taskforce, Mercy’s Children Clinic, United Community Resource Foundation, Franklin Tomorrow’s Housing Task Force, and United Way of Williamson County Task Force. Alma is a graduate of the City of Franklin Citizens Police Academy and a graduate of the Leadership Franklin Class of 2000. Alma is a member of the City of Franklin Housing Commission, the City of Franklin Civil War Historical Commission, Battle of Franklin Trust, Williamson Co. Convention and Visitors Bureau, recent past members of Columbia State Community College Foundation Board and the 21st Recovery Court Board of Directors, where she still volunteers with the board’s annual fundraisers.

Bari Beasley - President and CEO, The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN

Rachael Finch - Senior Director of Preservation & Education, The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN

Rachael Harrell Finch is the Senior Director of Preservation & Education for the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, leading all preservation, education, and advocacy initiatives in the county. A native of New Orleans, she has nearly 20 years of experience in historic preservation, museum leadership, community engagement, nonprofit management, and public relations experience. Finch holds an MA in Public History with emphases in Historic Preservation, Cultural Resource Management and Administration of Historical Organizations from Middle Tennessee State University and a BA in History and Political Science from Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado.

Previous to her tenure with the Heritage Foundation, Finch served as the Executive Director for the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation, the Research Historian for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, Civil War Projects, and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU. Finch, a recipient of the Scott Hartwig Fellowship at the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, currently serves on the membership committee for the National Preservation Partner Networks, the Board of Directors for the Franklin Civil War Round Table and is the former Chair of the City of Franklin’s Civil War Historical Commission. Most recently, Finch was named to the Southeastern Museum Conference 2022 Leadership Institute. Finch appeared in several award-winning documentaries including The American South As We Know It, Desperate Days: The Last Hope for the Confederacy, Duality: A Collection of Afro Indigenous Perspectives.

Finch has published several articles on the Civil War in Tennessee, heritage tourism, history education, architecture, African American history, women’s suffrage, and best practices in preservation including ethics in public history. She has presented on architecture and the cultural landscape, American slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the ethics of public history and preservation, inclusivity in museum scholarship, and collaborative partnerships at conferences including the University of Virginia President’s Commission on Slavery, Clemson University, the College of William and Mary, the National Council for Public History, the Southeastern Museum Conference, the American Association of State and Local History, the Slave Dwelling Project, and the Southern Historical Association.


Event Schedule

9:00-9:15 AM


9:15 – 9:30 AM


Bari Beasley, Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

9:30 – 10:30 AM


10:30 – 11:00 AM


11:00-12:00 PM


12:00-1:00 PM


1:00-2:00 PM


2:00 – 2:45 PM


2:45 – 3:00 PM


3:00 – 3:15 PM


3:15 – 3:30 PM