The first conference of its kind for restoration professionals, historic building owners and enthusiasts was held in Boston in 1993. It was called the Restoration Show and focused mainly on traditional building products and services. The show’s popularity grew quickly, along with the amount of vendors and presenters. In 2000, the show was purchased by Restore Media, LLC, which also now owns Old House Journal, Traditional Building and Period Homes magazines. The name of the show was then changed to the Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference and is now the largest exhibition and conference on historic preservation and traditional construction materials and methods.
What’s new in Baltimore?
This Fall, the Baltimore Convention Center will host the conference’s 60 seminars, exhibits demonstrations and workshops. The seminars and conferences run from October 21st through the 24th. The exhibition portion will be on the 23rd and 24th. Many of the seminars usually focus on education for preservation professionals. With the recent spotlight on green building practices, the conference is continually expanding education in this area. For example, this Fall’s event will have 12 programs on sustainable building practice for historic buildings and traditionally inspired new construction.
For old house owners and historic building enthusiasts, who don’t need the 24 continuing education credits available to the pros, there’s still some conference sessions that may be of interest. Rather than sitting in sessions like “Classicism and Urban Infill in a Historic Setting”, regular folks can attend pro sessions about restoring period porches, plaster repair techniques, period kitchen design or greening a small historic property on a tight budget.
On Friday and Saturday, the exhibit hall will be loaded with 150 different period-appropriate products and preservation services vendors - from reproduction materials and hardware to authentic craft work (this is like shopping for presents for your old house). There will also be restoration publications and organizations represented. You can meet the manufacturers’ reps and craftsmen/women, see demonstrations and attend 7 free education sessions. The exhibit hall admission is FREE!
The conference offers 6 architectural tours of some amazing historic buildings in the Baltimore National Heritage Area. There will also be a “building crafts tour” of three working studios in Baltimore - woodturning, ornamental ironwork, and ornamental plaster. You can also tour Baltimore on your own. Being the site of one of America’s oldest seaports, it’s full of some amazing historic buildings and neighborhoods. There’s also many things to do for the entire family at the Inner Harbor, the tourism and cultural center of the city. This area was the earliest successful urban revitalization in America.
You should pre-register to attend the events. Paying at the door will cost you more and some sessions or tours may be full. You can sign-up for a full conference pass, register for individual days, workshops and tours or register for the free exhibit hall only.