Events & News

A Model for New York City Sites: Documenting Recent History and Promoting Healing at Drayton Hall

April 3, 2024
6:00pm to 8:00pm
The Explorers Club (Clark Room)

A free lecture by George McDaniel followed by a reception

Join us for a public lecture on documenting recent history and promoting healing at historic sites using Drayton Hall, a National Trust for Historic Preservation historic site located in Charleston, South Carolina, as an example. George McDaniel served as the executive director of Drayton Hall for over twenty-five years and published Drayton Hall Stories: A Place and Its People in 2022. The first of its kind, this book uses oral history interviews with descendants of the Drayton family and their enslaved people as well as the people responsible for the preservation of Drayton Hall since it became a historic site in the 1970s. This book reveals never-before-shared family moments, major preservation and stewardship decisions, and pioneering efforts to transform a Southern plantation into a site for racial conciliation.

McDaniel’s work presents three major themes: 1) the importance of documenting the history of a historic site since it became a museum property (and the role of oral history to do so);  2) the ability for sites with challenging histories to serve as safe places for discussion and healing; and 3) the role of preservation in highlighting both place and people.  

Through this lecture, he will discuss how these lessons could be applied towards preserving the recent history of significant sites in New York City. There will be a reception at the conclusion of the lecture. 

Special thanks to the Olana State Historic Site and the Historic House Trust for co-sponsoring the event. 


The event is free. We welcome donations to help us continue our oral history work and other initiatives. Donations can be made online, by sending a check to our office, or by bringing a check to the event. 

The event was recorded.  A small number of books will be sold at the event, but you can order your copy here for George McDaniel to sign after the lecture during the reception. 

The Explorers Club (Clark Room)
46 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
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