May is National Preservation Month, and this year's theme is "Celebrating America's Treasures."
Throughout our community, there are important places that contribute to our Beaufort "experience" -- whether it is the 304 -acre National Historic Landmark District, a cemetery, a church or the Verdier House. It is the hope of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, of which Historic Beaufort Foundation is a local partner, that with this month's theme we will be better able to spread the word that organizations such as the Historic Beaufort Foundation protect the places that tell our story and enhance our experience.
There are a number of ways you can participate in Preservation Month. One way is to become a member of the foundation. You can join online at www.historicbeaufort.org or by calling 843-379-3331. If you join online, you'll also get a free membership to the National Trust. Another way to get involved is to volunteer with the foundation. We are always recruiting docents for the Verdier House, to help with office projects, to volunteer on the Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens or to help plan events.
The foundation has two events planned for May to help celebrate Preservation Month. The foundation will introduce a new educational program in cooperation with the Beaufort Bookstore called "Book and a Bite" at noon Wednesday on the second floor of the Verdier House, 801 Bay St. Author Alexia Helsley will discuss her new book, "Wicked Beaufort." Guests are invited to bring lunch to the lecture and book signing. Iced tea and water will be served, and guests may go on a guided tour of the Verdier House after the program. Cost is $5. Reservations: 843-379-3331
The second Preservation Month event is the latest feature in our monthly Dinner and a Lecture series. Dr. Mark Barnes, a retired historian and senior archaeologist with the National Park Service, will share his expertise on the evolution of Spanish and British architectural styles in the colonies at 5:30 p.m. May 23 at the Verdier House. For the first 100 years of Beaufort's existence, British colonial Beaufort and Spanish colonial St. Augustine, Fla., were on the front lines of an international boundary dispute between Great Britain and Spain over the possession of the southeastern United States.
Barnes' presentation will discuss the historic origins of Spanish La Florida, the government buildings, residential architecture and the town plan of St. Augustine and its preservation efforts as it prepares for the 450th anniversary of its founding. Open to foundation members and non-members, the lecture series features a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception from 5:30 to 6 p.m. The presentation will follow from 6 to 7 p.m. After, a three-course dinner at Saltus River Grill is offered for $19 a person for lecture attendees. Cost is $15 for members, $25 for member couples; and $20 for non-members, $30 for non-member couples. Reservations: 843-379-3331
By taking action and getting involved, you're acknowledging that preserving our history isn't someone else's responsibility. Ensure that Beaufort's treasures will be protected for future generations and spread the word that May is Preservation Month by celebrating our community's treasures.