May 29, 2020

M.A.H.P. Anniversary Series: Mindy Gulden Crawford, M.A.H.P. ’98

Mindy Gulden Crawford, M.A.H.P. ’98, hopes that historic preservation professionals will encourage people to support locally owned family businesses and find new uses for empty or under-utilized historic resources.

To celebrate the M.A. in Historic Preservation Program's 25th anniversary and the success of its alumnae/i, the Welch Center will be interviewing some of the program's graduate to gain insight on what they love about the program, what they learned in the program, and how they are working to preserve places in a rapidly changing world. 

This week's feature is: Mindy Gulden Crawford, M.A.H.P. ’98

What excites you most about the field of historic preservation? 

When someone recognizes a potential threat and makes the decision to step up and do something! It's so exciting to watch that person as they learn about their special place and become confident in their quest to do anything to save it.

What is the most interesting/unusual/challenging project you’ve worked on?

The fight to save a 20th-century gas station/garage on the Lincoln Highway. Ultimately, we were not successful, but the process was fascinating, and the convenience store company embraced the history of the site and incorporated it into the new design.

What was your favorite thing about the M.A.H.P. Program at Goucher?

I had the ability to learn from the best instructors in the field (Toni Lee, Stephen Dennis, Karen Gordon, and others).

What is the most important thing you have learned from the M.A.H.P. Program?

The process of writing a thesis was life-changing for me in the way I approach a project. I learned so many valuable lessons that I still use today.

How has the field of historic preservation changed over the years?

I hope that we as professionals can embrace that we are not the preservation police and that saving “place” with compromise is more important than having a pristine restoration. I feel that in my almost 40 years in the field, we understand this.

What historic places do you want to see preserved in the years to come? Why?

I constantly mourn the loss of roadside resources and locally owned family businesses and the changing face of places like Rehoboth Beach, where every year there are fewer local business and more national chains. We need to encourage people to support these places and find new uses for empty or under-utilized historic resources.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Flexibility is key. Compromise is the only way. The basics of deciding what is important and historic haven’t changed but we need to keep our eye on the ultimate prize (the preservation of place and the resources that matter to the community) and not fight so hard or so long that we forget what we were fighting for. A good design of a new building that replaces a lost resource is far better than losing credibility and having no say in the final outcome. “Don’t take your marbles and go home.” Stay, listen, and adapt.