VIRTUAL HISTORIES: A Series on Baltimore Architecture, Preservation, and History


The Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage present a series of 30 minute live virtual tours and presentations focusing on Baltimore architecture, preservation, and history.

Tickets are donation based. We encourage you to give what you can to support the BAF and Baltimore Heritage. Your support helps us make up for lost tour and program revenue from COVID-19 and create more virtual programs like this.


Commemorative Monuments & Adaptive Use(Jackson Gilman-Forlini)

Commemorative monuments and memorials are frequently valued for their historical significance as well as their role in representing collective memory. But despite the durable materials from which they are constructed, the symbolic meaning of commemorative structures is often impermanent, as evidenced by recent changes in public opinion toward Baltimore’s Confederate monuments. Generally, the impermanence of collective memory presents a problem for preservationists at these sites since preservation guidelines presume significance of a resource to be inherent to the building material – and therefore permanent.

Using the Baltimore War Memorial as a case-study, this talk will propose a solution to the problem of monument preservation by applying the modern principles of adaptive reuse to their management. In order to preserve the relevance and symbolic usefulness of these places, the physical markers of their symbolism must periodically be updated to reflect contemporary value-systems and ideas.

About the Presenter

Jackson Gilman-Forlini is the Historic Preservation Officer for the Baltimore City Department of General Services, where he manages the preservation of city-owned historic landmarks, including the Baltimore War Memorial. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College, where his thesis dealt with the adaptive reuse of monuments and memorials. He is frequently quoted in The Baltimore Sun and has written for Maryland Historical Magazine and the architecture blog McMansion Hell.


May 1st, 2020 | 1 pm
Baltimore’s Remarkable Infrastructure: Gas Lamps to Clean Water (Tom Liebel)

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Did you know that Baltimore became the first city in the United States to install gas street lamps? Or that Baltimore’s drinking water is some of the best in the country?

Based on his international best-selling mega-hit book “Industrial Baltimore”, Tom Liebel will present an overview of Baltimore’s remarkable legacy of progressive public infrastructure. From street lights to clean water, Baltimore has led the way with a proud legacy of public infrastructure.

About the Presenter

Tom Liebel, FAIA, LEED Fellow is a Vice-President with Moseley Architects, and has been involved in integrating sustainable design principles into a variety of ground-breaking adaptive use and historic preservation projects over the past twenty years, with these projects recognized with multiple awards for design, smart growth, sustainable design and historic preservation.

Tom is involved in ongoing research exploring the relationship between sustainability, preservation and urban design, with a particular emphasis in the use of urban adaptive use projects to promote neighborhood revitalization and civic engagement.

Tom served two terms as Chair the Maryland Green Building Council, serves on the Maryland Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, Chairs Baltimore City’s Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation, and serves as the Moderator for the American Institute of Architect’s Strategic Council.


May 15th, 2020 | 1 pm
Poole and Hunt to Clipper Mill: A History of Adaptive Use (Nathan Dennies)

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Image courtesy Enoch Pratt Free Library

Woodberry was once home to the largest machine shop and iron works in the country. Poole & Hunt thrived alongside the booming textile industry of the Jones Falls Valley. It grew and remained a site of heavy industry for well over a century, was later adapted by a flourishing arts community, and after a tragic fire, was transformed into Clipper Mill: a mixed use development that includes manufacturing, residences, design and engineering firms, fine dining, and more.

This presentation will cover the history of the Poole & Hunt Machine Shop and Iron Works, including the impressive things they made here, from the columns of the Capitol Building in Washington DC to contributions to both World War efforts. Discover how this site of heavy industry has changed over its nearly 170 year history to meet the various needs of its users. And learn about the role of historic preservation in adapting historic sites for modern uses.

About the Presenter

Nathan Dennies is the Associate Director of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. He serves as chair of the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance, and on the boards of the Friends of The Jones Falls, Baltimore City Historical Society, and the Greater Baltimore History Alliance. Nathan has spent the past 6 years researching the industrial history of the Jones Falls Valley and lives in Woodberry.


May 22nd, 2020 | 1 pm
Baltimore’s Treasure (Meg Fairfax Fielding)

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Baltimore is a city filled with a wide range of architectural treasures. From tiny temple-like structures, to gem-like carpenter gothic churches, to robust Richardson Revival edifices, to castle-like school buildings, our architecture has something to delight everyone. But some of these treasures are off the beaten path and not everyone knows about them.

About the Presenter
Take a spin through Baltimore with BAF past president, Meg Fairfax Fielding. Although she is not an architect by training, she’s “architect adjacent.” She is doing a deep dive on Palmer & Lamdin properties in and around Baltimore, as well as searching out 18th century brick churches along the Chesapeake Bay. Meg loves to explore Baltimore and the surrounding areas. By day, she is the head of the History of Maryland Medicine at MedChi, which was founded in 1799, but on weekends, you might find her on a lonely road on the Eastern Shore searching for a small, ancient church. Follow her on Instagram at PigtownDesign.


May 29th, 2020 | 1 pm
Baltimore: The Home of America’s Best Garden Cities (Charles Duff)

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The Garden City Movement, devised by an odd London genius named Ebenezer Howard, has shaped most British development, and the best British development, for more than a century. Baltimore has more good examples of Garden City design and development than any American city. Join Charlie Duff to explore the English movement and the wonderful places where Baltimore architects and developers learned what the Garden City movement had to teach. Charlie has been exploring Anglo-American connections for a decade as he worked on his book The North Atlantic Cities, and he is delighted to know where Baltimoreans got the ideas for some of his, and our, favorite places.

About the Presenter

Charles Duff is a planner, teacher, developer, and historian. Since 1987, Mr. Duff has been President of Jubilee Baltimore, a non-profit group that has built or rebuilt more than 300 buildings in historic Baltimore neighborhoods and is leading the development of the Station North Arts District. He has been President of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the Patterson Park Community Development Corporation. A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard University, he lectures widely and has taught at Johns Hopkins and Morgan State. He co-wrote Then and Now: Baltimore Architecture in 2005 and contributed to The Architecture of Baltimore. His book The North Atlantic Cities has just been published.


Stay tuned for more Virtual Histories tours!