Wittenberg And Springfield Organizations Sponsor
38th Annual Pioneer America Society Conference
Sept. 12, 2006
“PAS: APAL encourages the study and preservation of material culture that represents North American history,” said Keiffer, a member of PAS for 19 years and editor of the society’s publication, Material Culture: The Journal of the Pioneer America Society, since 2002.
PAS: APAL members share material culture studies and findings and celebrate historic preservation through revitalization. Participants in the PAS: APAL conferences include cultural geographers, historians, historic preservationists, professors and independent scholars. The annual conferences are used for people to kick up their heels and motivate other people in their studies, sharing data and research while learning about the area where the conference is hosted.
“Material Culture is the study of anything man-made,” said Keiffer, an architectural geographer at Wittenberg University. “The members of PAS: APAL get fired up about things such as barn houses — things people pass on a daily basis, but don’t really notice.”
The opening reception will be held from 6–9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Heritage Center of Clark County. From 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, paper sessions and panel discussions will take place in 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, at Wittenberg. An awards ceremony Friday evening at the Courtyard By Marriott will recognize published books, individual contributions to PAS: APAL or student research. Some of the papers will be published in Material Culture.
A bus trip from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, will visit several area destinations, including Whitehall Farm, several barns, the Hertzler House, Snyder Park, the Masonic Lodge and Bushnell House. Field trip participants will have the opportunity to discuss Springfield’s plans to renovate the downtown area to preserve its historic buildings and facilities.
A closing reception from 8–10 p.m. at the Frank Lloyd Wright Westcott House will conclude the conference.
“ Springfield has a lot to offer,” Keiffer said. “It’s on the banks of the Mad River and was at one time the terminus of the National Road.”
“People are trying to revitalize Springfield,” said Andrea Rossow, Wittenberg class of 2006 from Bowling Green, Ohio, and this year’s conference coordinator. “But you need funding to do that, and that’s hard to come by in a blue collar town. When it comes to business, people worry about how much it’s costing — they should be thinking about the return on the investment.”
In bringing publicity to Springfield, Keiffer and Rossow hope the city is recognized as an historic town and Springfield residents will gain a greater sense of pride in their community. Enticing tourists to spend money in Springfield could aid funding of the downtown renovation, and in turn improve the appearance of the area surrounding nearby Wittenberg University.
“The PAS: APAL conference is good publicity for Springfield,” Keiffer said. “What’s good for Springfield is good for the university.
“ Springfield may once have been an industrial forward-thrust city, but today Springfield is bypassed by traffic going 80 miles an hour on Interstate 70. We hope to entice new business and stimulate new research.”
- Written By: Dani Nicholson '07
- Photo By: Rebecca Horn '08