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Heritage Foundation's Preservation Symposium goes virtual, features author Tom Mayes

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The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s annual Preservation Symposium has become known for bringing nationally known speakers to discuss the value of historic preservation within local communities to Williamson County.

This year is no exception, only the speakers will be brought to Williamson County via a virtual stream in lieu of an in-person event.

In an effort to continue with the popular event and maintain proper COVID-19 precautions, this year’s symposium, Preservation in Place, will be virtual and streamed live from the Franklin Theatre from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on June 26.

Keynote speaker, Tom Mayes, is the author of the book "Why Old Places Matter,” and will speak about the importance and significance of historic preservation.

Mayes is the chief legal officer and general legal counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the 2013 recipient of the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation by the National Endowment for the Arts.

During a six-month residency at the American Academy in Rome, Mayes reflected and wrote about the role old places play in our lives. His book and talk articulate why old places are meaningful to people and their communities. He reminds us of all the ways we love old places and why they matter.

“We are honored to have Tom Mayes join our symposium this year,” said Director of Preservation for the Heritage Foundation Dr. Blake Wintory. “Having someone of his caliber lead our discussion on historic preservation will really set the tone for the day and provide a tremendous amount of insight and perspective to this topic.”

Now in its third year, the symposium will bring together local and regional preservation professionals, community supporters, non-profits, local government officials, architects and developers to learn why preservation matters in Middle Tennessee. Participants will also hear preservation updates on the Heritage Foundation's properties and projects like the Franklin Theatre and plans for Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens.

In this unpredictable, historic moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Heritage Foundation’s preservation team pivoted and put together a full one-day event to include a keynote speaker, engaging panels, a roundtable discussion and “preservation libations,” cocktails and conversation to conclude this year’s symposium.

“We are excited about this event being virtual this year,” said Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley. “We have always provided a productive day of preservation-focused dialogue to the residents of Williamson County, but this event being streamed allows us to get preservation and what we are doing right here to a national, and even international audience.”

From the comfort of a home office, virtual attendees may choose what, where, and when to join in the preservation conversation. Tickets for this year's symposium are $20 for the general public, $15 for Heritage Foundation members and $10 for teachers and students and can be purchased at

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