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Providence Preservation Society names Karen Jessup Interim Director

Providence Preservation Society Names Interim Director

Karen Jessup, Seasoned Preservationist and Landscape Historian Takes The Reins At PPS

pps-logoProvidence, RI: Karen Jessup, who served for years as a Providence Preservation Society (PPS) Trustee and Board President of the Providence Revolving Fund has become the Society’s interim director, according to Board of Trustees President Lucie Searle. Karen is taking over for Executive Director James Hall, who stepped down after accepting the position of deputy director of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Karen back to PPS,” stated Searle, adding, “As a former Chair of the Providence Historic District Commission and founding member of the Revolving Fund, Karen has over 30 years of experience working in Providence’s preservation landscape. The breadth and depth of her experiences and achievements on both a national and international level are extensive.”

In addition to Jessup’s work in Providence, she is a former Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Chair of its Board of Advisors where she concentrated specifically on diversifying the preservation movement and public policy advocacy. Karen has held administrative and teaching appointments in academia in the US and Great Britain, and research fellowships at several universities on both sides of the Atlantic. She was recently named a reviewer for the American Association of Museums, specializing in non-profit organizational and leadership assessment, and community engagement. In her many years of consulting with groups in the US and Britain, she has guided them in institutional planning, educational programming, and issues of governance and management. Karen has consulted broadly with World Heritage Sites in Britain, National Historic Landmarks and National Register properties in the US, and other sites and organizations of cultural consequence. She has received numerous citations for community service and for her academic work, and has been a juror on national preservation and landscape design panels.

In recent years, Jessup’s work has been recognized with an Antoinette F. Downing Award from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, along with a Stewardship Award from Preserve Rhode Island for her work on the Blithewold Master Plan.

“PPS has meant so much to the civic life of our community and to me personally. The organization helped launch my professional career. I’m excited by this opportunity to advance PPS’s positive momentum and to support its board and excellent staff during the transition from James to a new permanent director,” Jessup observed.

Jessup’s experience will be a tremendous asset in the coming months as PPS works with residents to expand the College Hill Historic District and engages in a busy spring programming calendar, culminating with the Festival of Historic Houses on June 7-9.


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