Preservation Snapshots Lectures

Preservation Snapshots is one of Landmarks Illinois’ longest running educational programs. Since 2001, the series has provided nearly 200 lectures on diverse preservation-related topics to our members and the public. Guest speakers have included architects, historians, preservation professionals, planners, authors and architectural historians. Landmarks Illinois has partnered with venues such as Chicago Cultural Center, the Auditorium Theatre and AIA Chicago to bring over 8,000 attendees the opportunity to learn about Illinois’ remarkable past and the community benefits of historic preservation and adaptive reuse, and to be inspired to take action in their own communities.

The Underground Railroad and Freedom Seeking in the 19th Century, The Law Versus Morality

The experience of the freedom seekers in the Underground Railroad can best be understood in the context of American history. The great struggle was whether the country was going to be slave or free. The example of New Philadelphia and the McWorter family are examples of this critical process of freedom-seeking.

The contradiction between law and morality continues in the 21st Century.

Free Frank McWorter known as, “The Father of Freedom,” bought his wife’s freedom in 1817, two years before he bought his own in 1819. He was able to earn money by working for other enslavers in the Kentucky frontier when done with his enslaver’s work.

In 1830, he earned enough money to buy land in Illinois, and by 1835, his family was farming over 80 acres of their own land. He bought another 80 acres from the United States and founded the town of New Philadelphia.

Gerald McWorter

Please join Landmarks Illinois for a special Preservation Snapshots Lecture featuring author and professor Gerald McWorter (pictured above). Professor McWorter was born in Cabrini Green Housing in Chicago and is a descendant of Free Frank McWorter.


Thursday, March 7, 2024
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Via Zoom
A link to join will be sent to registrants before the lecture.


Landmarks Illinois Members: Free
Non Members: $5


Thank you to our Preservation Snapshots Sponsors!

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Past Lectures

Visit us on YouTube to watch past Preservation Snapshots Lectures!

Past Preservation Snapshots Lectures

Ten Years Later: The Impact of School Closings in Chicago

November 16, 2023

A discussion featuring Paola Aguirre, Urban Designer and Partner of Borderless Studio, which launched the Creative Grounds Initiative that works to activate closed CPS schools including Overton Elementary.

Watch the lecture

Gillson Park and Wilmette Harbor, A Fascinating and Remarkably Intact Historic Landscape

November 2, 2023

A captivating presentation featuring Julia Bachrach, landscape historian, and Malcolm Cairns, FASLA, a retired Ball State University professor, who prepared the Gillson Park nomination for the National Register of Historic Places.

Watch the lecture

Dr. Percy Julian, an American story that is home to Oak Park

July 19, 2023

Learn about the life and legacy of Dr. Percy Julian, a renowned chemist who synthesized important medicinal compounds from plant sources. His former historic Oak Park home is also in need of preservation.

Watch the lecture

Brooklyn, IL, One of the Last Remaining Freedom Towns in America

June 21, 2023
Landmarks Illinois Programs Manager Leila Wills is joined by Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski and the Historical Society of Brooklyn, Illinois’ Robert White, III, for an in-depth discussion on the historic town of Brooklyn, Illinois.

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Chicago's Hip Hop Heritage

May 18, 2023
Landmarks Illinois Program Manager Leila Wills joins Brian Gorman, one of the co-founders of the Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Museum, to talk about the city’s impact on hip hop music, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2023.

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PRESERVATION SNAPSHOTS LECTURE: Economic Development in Illinois’ Commercial Corridors – a Panel Discussion

Landmarks Illinois’ preservation programs are helping people revitalize their historic storefronts, sparking welcomed economic development in our state’s commercial corridors. This panel discussion on November 17, 2022, featured recipients of a Landmarks Illinois loan, grant and preservation award sharing first-hand accounts of restoring commercial spaces inside historic buildings.


Click below to watch the lecture.

Watch the lecture

Preservation Snapshots Lecture: Recent Past Survey of Suburban Cook County

October 20, 2022

Lisa DiChiera, former Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy; Charlie Pipal, Adjunct Professor, Historic Preservation Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and ​Sheila Webb, Graduate SAIC Historic Preservation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, look back at the Recent Past Survey of Suburban Cook County. this 16-year surveying effort of non-residential suburban Chicago buildings dating from 1935 to 1975 — a period commonly referred to as the “Recent Past.” Approximately 4,100 commercial, institutional, office and religious structures have been identified in more than 53 suburban communities throughout Cook County, Illinois. The survey was undertaken in coordination with Landmarks Illinois by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Graduate Program in Historic Preservation since 2006.

Watch the lecture

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