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From the Classroom to the Front Lines of Heritage Preservation

Christine McLaughlin

I’ve spent many years in a university classrooms studying and teaching history. In true academic fashion, I’ve published an article that critically analyzes public history production and memory in a postwar industrial city. My recent appointment to Heritage Oshawa by City Council has offered me the opportunity to translate this theoretical engagement into concrete action. This has been a challenging and rewarding experience.

The Municipal Heritage Committee is made up of citizen volunteers who advise on matters of local heritage and assist Council in carrying out its heritage conservation program. It is governed by the Ontario Heritage Act. Unlike academic work which requires a high degree of specialization, participation on a municipal heritage committee requires broad knowledge of a diverse range of subjects: architecture, engineering, planning, construction, law, local history and heritage. Making informed decisions on such a wide array of topics can create a steep learning curve; so too does this offer learning and training opportunities on a range of topics relating to heritage preservation.