Community Engagement

The Historic Preservation program at SAIC uses Chicago as a laboratory, and nearly all department projects involve Chicago or Chicago-area buildings and sites, often resulting in community-based projects that connect and serve the public.

Recent Projects

The Forum

Located at East 43rd Street and South Calumet Avenue in the Grand Boulevard Neighborhood, The Forum served the community as a hub for entertainment, a meeting hall for both labor and civil rights groups throughout its early years. After standing vacant for almost four decades, the building was purchased with the goal of restore the Forum to its original function as a hall to help serve the cultural and social needs of its community. 

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Roger Brown Study Collection: Window Conditions Assessment and Recommendations

A Building Diagnostics class from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s M.S. Historic Preservation Program was tasked in Fall 2010 with documenting conditions and proposing recommendations for the restoration of the facility’s exterior windows. Under the direction of professor Anne Sullivan, the class visited the Roger Brown Study Collection in September of 2011 and met with collection director Lisa Stone to discuss the history and significance of the building and the collection. The class worked in small groups, carefully assessing each exterior window on the site: measurements and photographs were taken and detailed observations of all interior and exterior window components and hardware were made.

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Walt Disney Birthplace Exterior Paint and Finish Analysis

The goal of undertaking this paint and finish analysis was to understand color chronology for the exterior’s original front door trim and original window trim, clapboard siding, and bargeboard (trim on edge of house) and the interior. Establishing the chronology of the paint layers allowed us to make recommendations regarding appropriate paint color for the house’s period of significance in 1905. Once the colors were identified with the Muncell Color Notation System, students were able to identify appropriate paint colors from the Benjamin Moore collection and make proper color scheme recommendations.

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Frances Willard House Paint Analysis

The objective of the project was to determine the historic paint colors and wallpapers of the extant first floor of the Office, Hall, Parlor and Dining Room on the Frances WIllard House in Evanston, Illinois, and to the select paint colors and coatings for future restoration purposes that are appropriate to the period of significance, 1890.

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