Michael Spencer serves as the Director of the Center for Historic Preservation. He is responsible for contract negotiation, budgeting, research design, oversight of staff and facilities, and consulting with the Principal Investigator and Center staff concerning proposed activities and their timely performance. Prof. Spencer is a preservationist with expertise in conservation and building forensics. His research interests include traditional and new nondestructive approaches in the investigation, diagnosis and remediation of deterioration issues associated with extant cultural resources. Technologies of interest include infrared thermography, resistance drilling, and micro timing.
Andrea Livi Smith served as Center Director from 2009 to 2014, focusing on preservation pedagogy and curriculum development. Dr. Smith has worked on multiple grants relating to transportation in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She has also conducted data collection and technical assistance for the federal Transportation Enhancements program. Trained as an urban planner as well as preservationist and architectural historian, Dr. Smith has focused her research on the intersection of urban design, transportation, and preservation. Her other interests include environmental psychology and the history and reuse of industrial resources.
Douglas Sanford serves as the Center’s Director of Archaeological Programs. A professional historical archaeologist, Dr. Sanford has over twenty years of experience in Virginia archaeology, and presently conducts research at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His research interests include the archaeology of plantation slavery, the study of early industrial development in the Middle Atlantic region, the study of historic landscapes and archaeology in Virginia, and Cultural Resource Management.
Gary Stanton is a material culture scholar with a degree in American Folklore. In his professional life he has been principally employed as a teacher in a liberal arts college. Because of the substantial teaching requirements of his work he has focused on topics in close proximity to his work and sought to serve the larger educational goal of making available public records to the general public through electronically facilitated databases. In fieldwork he strives to capture the micro-level details of structure in individual buildings over the rapid survey of basic plan and materials. Hypothetically, he asserts that builders do not erect buildings—instead they solve the problems posed by the materials and the desires of their employers. In order to document the earliest configuration of any building structure, especially those built by or for families of modest means it is necessary to identify the problems and solutions posed by the subsequent occupants or builders that cover or replace the original upon any property. As a teacher he emphasizes the periodic reformulation of basic principles within any profession or discipline and he asserts that a re-configuration of historic preservation as heritage activity is a contemporary example of this need to re-focus and re-value.