Michigan Historic Preservation Network


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2023 MHPN Annual Statewide Preservation Conference


How Heritage Tourism Balances Profitability and Authenticity

Conference runs May 11-13, 2023

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Both the conference and overnight accommodations at Mission Point Resort

Hotel Registration Now Open


We are pleased to announce the keynote speaker for the 2023 MHPN Annual Statewide Historic Preservation Conference – Sandra Sageser Clark. Ms. Clark is the Director of the Michigan History Center and a long-time friend of MHPN.
Sandra grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, where her father was a history professor at Kansas State University. Her B.A. and M.A. in history are from Michigan State University. She has a taught history, been an editor and speechwriter for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Sandra returned to Michigan as editor of Michigan History Magazine in 1979. She was deputy director of Travel Michigan for three years before she became director of the Michigan History Center in September 1991. She has been president of the American Association for State and Local History, the Michigan Museums Association, and the Automobile National Heritage Area. Her awards have included the 2009 Michigan Historic Preservation Network Leadership Award and the 2019 AASLH Award of Distinction.

We may come from a small town with a striking Carnegie Library, a rural area with a photogenic sweep of historic farmsteads, or an inviting shoreline community with an artists’ enclave, a music conservatory, or its original fishing shanties and docks. Perhaps we’re from a mid-sized community with a traditional 19th-century downtown surrounded by historic neighborhoods, or a large urban area with historic theaters and churches amidst internationally-acclaimed Mid-Century Modern office buildings. No matter which, we know these precious survivors from our past are points of pride for residents. More and more often, they also are what make a community a distinctive destination that attracts visitors.

It was in May, 2007, that we last were on Mackinac Island. The conference that year was the first time we’d focused on historic preservation’s role in tourism. “Heritage Tourism” was exciting because – while not new – it was beginning to reveal its full potential to Michigan’s preservation community. Now 16 years later, the stunning value of heritage tourism to Michigan’s economy is proven. With the celebration of our historic resources, however, we can see that with popularity come the pressures of over-development and popularity’s wear-and-tear.

We’re going to look at what this means. We ask ourselves: what fragile balance must we achieve to assure that the earnings attracted by our historic resources do not compromise our efforts to conserve their authenticity? What better time to ask this question than in 2023 as Mackinac Island plays host to the MHPN’s 43rd annual conference. What is shared can apply directly to where YOU live!

This track focuses on the conference theme of “A Fragile Balance: How Heritage Tourism Balances Profitability and Authenticity.” The track is for individuals, people in business and manufacturing, preservation professionals, craftspeople and tradespeople, elected and appointed officials, and government staff – anyone who needs to advocate for preservation and a sensible and well-balanced approach to heritage tourism. Some session ideas might include:

• Considering the tools used to spur heritage tourism, economic revitalization, a sense of place, the reclamation of traditional downtowns and neighborhoods, and the skills of diplomacy needed to bring groups together.

• Discussing the tools used to convince the public that while promoting heritage tourism, they can also safeguard their cultural resources – including buildings, structures, sites, objects, features, natural open spaces, and human-made landscapes, either alone or as cultural ensembles.

The track is for those who need to know more about the laws, policies, and designations; the programs of assistance, tax incentives, and economic benefits; and the best practices and educational programs that provide support for heritage tourism efforts. Session topics could include:

• Studying the various programs of tax credits and loans, assistance, easements, etc., used by those whose wheelhouses include the ability to negotiate financial packages that make heritage tourism projects a reality.

• Discussing the laws, policies, codes, and procedures that are the tools used by people who proactively and successfully advocate for heritage tourism.

The track is for individual property owners, professionals doing design and hands-on work, and community officials who need to know more about the special design needs of historic buildings, traditional trades, and current building and development practices–the tools for effective heritage tourism efforts. Ideas might include:

• Presenting case studies of historic buildings that are saved from demolition, adaptively reused, and returned to inventive new uses that jump-start heritage tourism.

• Showcasing people doing hands-on work with historic resources, both trade professionals and do-it-yourselfers, and considering the tools they used to overcome obstacles.

The 43rd Annual Statewide Preservation Conference is underwritten through the generous support of

MEDC - Primary_Narrow - 2022-cropped
State Historic Preservation Office - 2020

Dear Friend of Historic Preservation:

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network is reaching out across the state in search of great items for the silent auction that is a highlight of our statewide preservation conference. This year, we’re in Holly, MI from May 11-14 with the theme for this 42nd annual gathering being, “Our Town: Preserving Places Together.” Whether you’ve provided an auction item in the past or would consider doing so for the first time, we welcome your contribution! If you have something in mind, please know that the deadline for items is Friday, April 29.

We seek donations of all types in all price ranges so that we offer something for everyone. Popular ideas include tours of historic places, overnight stays in historic hotels or B&B’s, tickets for both high-brow and low-brow entertainment, books and prints, works of art and antiques, architectural artifacts, and gift certificates of all kinds. In addition to individual items, we’re always looking for creative theme packages that you pull together or that we can create.

As an auction item donor, you’ll receive recognition in the evening’s program, on the item’s bid sheet, and in the MHPN’s annual report. Your donation may be tax deductible because the MHPN is a 501(c)3 organization. We’ve enclosed a donation form in case you’d like to help! The form provides details about the auction, but you should feel free to contact the MHPN office with any questions you have.

The MHPN is THE membership organization in Michigan dedicated to recognizing and preserving the state’s architectural and cultural heritage. Your item, when auctioned, provides financial assistance for our statewide efforts. To learn more about our 2022 conference and catch up on what’s new at the MHPN, visit us at www.mhpn.org.

Many thanks for your support of historic preservation in Michigan!


2022 Conference Auction Co-Chairs


When giving online, choose Annual Conference as the “Designation” and,
when checking out, add your chosen Sponsorship Opportunity in the “Order Notes.”

Before the conference, your business is recognized in our 10,000 brochures, on the MHPN website and Facebook page, in social media, and on the conference’s landing page which everyone sees during on-line registration. Your business is recognized during the conference on signage and in power points, and when sponsors are thanked at the sessions and special events they support.

As benefits, your booth price is reduced at the Vendors’ Showcase, and, because it’s proven to be so popular, the Virtual Vendors’ Showcase is available to you at no price. You’ll be listed in the MHPN’s Annual Report, you may have complimentary registrations, and you are hosted at a VIP gathering. But hands down, the greatest return on your investment is that the conference inspires and educates buyers for the services, products, and properties you offer. They take note that you support the MHPN.

2022-06-07 - Message from Gary Wilson about the 2022 conference in Holly, Michigan
Vendor Showcase and Market Place, Holland, 2019
VIP Reception, Holland, 2019
VIP Reception, Lansing, 2018
Tour, East Lansing, 2018

Conference Brochures

Mackinac Island, 2023
Holly, 2022
Held Virtually in May, 2021
2020 Conference Brochure - Preservation on the Frontline_Page_01
Held Virtually in September 2020
Holland, 2019
East Lansing, 2018
Emmet County, 2017
Detroit, 2016
Midland, 2015
Jackson, 2014

MHPN Conference History