SHEPHERDSTOWN – The 2019 Historic Shepherdstown Speakers Series will kick off April 24 with a talk from the award-winning vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Thompson M. Mayes’s talk is entitled, “Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being.”

Mayes, who wrote the 2018 book, “Why Old Places Matter,” is a lawyer and a native of the Piedmont area of North Carolina. He won the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation.

His talk will explore the many reasons for and the value of historic preservation, including providing a sense of history, triggering memories, and establishing individual, regional and national identity.

In talking about the project that led to his book, Mayes said: “I want to show that living with, in, and around old places is demonstrably good for people.”

Mayes’s work is the foundation for the National Trust’s “This Place Matters” campaign, which involves people around the country identifying and sharing photos or information on social media about the old places that matter to them.

The talk will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Shepherd University’s Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. His talk will serve as the kickoff for Preservation Month in May.

There’s no charge to attend. Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission and Historic Shepherdstown are co-sponsoring the event. For details, contact Historic Shepherdstown’s Vicki Smith (304-876-1139 or


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