Christina Rieth '14 Shares Knowledge in Bilingual Walking Tour, a Starting Point for a Community-Wide Discussion of Historic Preservation Priorities

July 25, 2013

On July 27, Christina Rieth ’14 will lead a bilingual tour of Boston’s Egleston Square together with advocacy coordinator Judy Neiswander as part of the Neighborhood Preservation Workshop Program, run by the Boston Preservation Alliance.

The Architecture and International Relations-History double major is spending her summer as an intern with the BPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining and improving Boston’s architectural heritage. “We promote the benefits of the historic resources as central to the character, uniqueness, and desirability of Boston as a place for people to ‘live, work, and play,’” explained Gregory Galer, executive director. The Neighborhood Preservation Workshop program works with local communities to identify and care for historical buildings.

Her internship allows Rieth to see first hand the relationships between a place’s history and the people who currently live there. “I've learned of local and international examples in which buildings shape a community and the people in turn form a connection with the local architecture,” she said.

Rieth and the members of BPA plan to have the Egleston Square Bilingual Walking Tour serve as a starting point for a community-wide discussion of historic preservation priorities. She explained, “By educating residents on preservation and historical sites in the tour, we believe it will provide residents with the discourse and the tools to help shape future local renovation and development in ways that are meaningful to them.”

“This is a terrific opportunity for Christina to get hands-on experience in historic preservation education and advocacy,” said Martha McNamara, the director of New England Arts & Architecture Program. “In turn, Christina’s Spanish language skills give the BPA the ability to communicate effectively with the Latino community of Egleston Square.”

Rieth’s internship is funded by the Grace Slack McNeil Program for Studies in American Art, which this summer supports five students working in diverse New England cultural institutions. The program seeks to “give Wellesley College students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in humanities-based nonprofits and enables them to apply what they've learned in the classroom to the projects and activities of their host institutions,” said McNamara.

“Working here showed me the importance of historical preservation,” Rieth said, because it is “as crucial to the study of architecture as design, especially in a city as historically rich as Boston.”

The tour begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the Egleston Square Farmer’s Market and is open to the public.