MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- British historian, museum director and historic preservation expert Sir Neil Cossons will discuss the philosophy of historic preservation in England during a series of lectures in West Virginia in May.Cossons' West Virginia tour begins in Charles Town on May 7 with a 7 p.m. talk on "A Future for the Past: Preserving the Past as an Asset for the Future" at the Jefferson County Courthouse. He will repeat the program in Morgantown on May 8, starting at 7 p.m. in West Virginia University's Erickson Alumni Center, and on May 9, also at 7 p.m., in Wheeling's Independence Hall. The presentations are free and open to the public.Cossons is the former chairman of English Heritage, the panel that advises the government of the United Kingdom on historic preservation issues ranging from Stonehenge to manor houses. He was also the first director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, a World Heritage site in Shropshire encompassing 10 museums that collectively tell the story of the Industrial Revolution. He was knighted in 1994 for his work with museums and historic preservation.
Cossons' West Virginia presentations will deal with the processes involved with historic preservation in England and cover examples of how preservation and re-use of historic places can help communities build better futures. His tour here was facilitated by his friend and colleague, Emory L. Kemp, founder of the Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology at WVU and former head of WVU's civil engineering department.Cossons' lectures are sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council, with support from WVU, the Elizabeth Stifel Kline Foundation, Mr. And Mrs. Ogden Nutting, Jefferson Distributing, John Allen Jr., the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the Bavarian Inn.