Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Powers Conti
Florida State University
Website URL
Historic Preservation, Architecture, Soviet Union, Environmental History, American History, Slavery, Memorials, Memory, Virginia, Cold War, Texas, Race, Landscapes, Urban Environment, Material Culture
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

As a public historian and preservation professional, Kathleen Powers Conti is an experienced educator and consults on projects across the US. Proficient in Russian and Kazakh, her research spans across the Americas and the former Soviet Union, focusing on how to preserve and interpret places of “difficult heritage”—sites of trauma, contested history, or atrocities. Kathleen’s research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Park Service, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Association for Preservation Technology, the Society for Architectural Historians, Dumbarton Oaks, PEO International, and the Mellon Urban Initiative. In spring 2020, the Ford Foundation awarded her an honorable mention for her research, teaching, and commitment to advancing diversity in the academy. She’s published several book chapters, including one forthcoming in Space Unlocked, History Unfrozen: Revisiting the Past in Museums and Historic Sites. Kathleen is also an internationally awarded photographer, and her work has been featured by the World Health Organization. She completed her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, and is an assistant professor of history at Florida State University.

She is currently writing her first book project, “‘Tell It Like It Was’: Race, Memory, and Historic Preservation in the American South.” Through an in-depth architectural and historical analysis of plantations and other historic sites, her monograph interrogates how historic preservation, in both policy and practice, can be used to perpetuate racial inequality in public spaces.

Kathleen also consults on projects across the country as a historian and architectural historian. She’s authored several cultural resource management documents including historic context studies, National Register nominations, Historic American Building Surveys, and design guidelines. In 2015, her team won the Design Excellence Award for their project to rehabilitate the historic Mission 66 visitor center at Badlands National Park. She worked with the National Park Service and Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop new treatment options to protect cultural landscapes at risk of disasters resulting from climate change, such as rising sea waters and increased wildfires. Currently, she is working on a historic furnishings report for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

In light of her work, the President of the National Council on Public History appointed her to co-chair their consultants committee to help develop guidelines for “Best Practices for Consulting Historians.”

Recent Publications

“Hollywood and the Changing Interpretation of a Historic Plantation.” In Space Unlocked, History Unfrozen: Revisiting the Past in Museums and Historic Sites, Anca I. Lasc, Andrew McClellan, Änne Söll, eds. 2021.

Review of Memorials Matter: Emotion, Environment, and Public Memory at American Historical Sites. By Jennifer K. Ladino. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2019). Western Historical Quarterly 50, no. 3 (Autumn 2019): 323-324.

Review of Gateway to New Orleans: Bayou St. John, 1708-2018, edited by Mary Louise Christovich, Florence M. Jumonville, and Heather Veneziano. (Lafayette: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press/Louisiana Landmarks Society, 2018). Louisiana History LX, no. 3 (Summer 2019): 341-344.

“‘Not a Work of Art but a Piece of Life’: History and Realism in the Time of Tolstoy.” In Critical Insights: Leo Tolstoy, Rachel Stauffer, ed. New York: Grey House Publishing, 2017.

“‘My Country is Russian Literature’: History and Literary Development in the Golden Age.” In Critical Insights: Russia’s Golden Age, Rachel Stauffer, ed. New York: Grey House Publishing, 2014.

“The National D-Day Memorial and the Dilemma of American Memory.” Lynch’s Ferry (Spring 2012): 4-15.

Selected Commissioned Publications

Design Guidelines for Port Arthur, Texas. HHM, 2019.

Historic Context Study of Waller Creek, Austin, Texas. HHM, 2018.

Design Guidelines for Robertson Hill Local Historic District and Smoot/Terrace Park Local Historic District, Austin, Texas. HHM, 2018.

“Planning for the Future of Rusk State Hospital: Spaces for Treatment in a Place of Care,” The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Sustainable Development and the Texas Department of State Health Services, Rusk, Texas. 2017.

Historic American Building Survey (HABS): Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Employee Residences #6 and #8. The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. 2017.

Historic Furnishings Report for Five Rooms in Hampton Mansion, Hampton National Historic Site, Towson, Maryland. HHM, 2017.

Historic Furnishings Report, Show Barn, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. HHM, 2017.

Boston African American National Historic Site, Boston, Massachusetts. HHM, 2016.

“Reinterpreting the Badlands: Design and Interpretive Interventions at Badlands National Park.” The University of Texas School of Architecture, 2015.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States, Russia, Kazakhstan
Expertise by Geography
Eastern Europe, Russia, United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, American Revolution, American Founding Era, American Presidents, Art & Architectural History, Colonialism, Emancipation, Environment, Gender, Indigenous Peoples, Material Culture, Museums, Pedagogy, Public History, Race, Rural & Agrarian History, Slavery, Urban History, Women, World War I, World War II