By Lindsay Lorenz
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Providence Preservation Society announced today that Karen Jessup has been named interim director of the citywide preservation organization.
Jessup, a former trustee and board president of the Providence Revolving fund, will take the reins from Executive Director James Brayton Hall, who stepped down this month after accepting a deputy art director position with the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Fla. Hall has served as executive director since 2010.
“PPS has meant so much to the civic life of our community and to me personally,” Jessup said in prepared remarks. “The organization helped launch my professional career. I’m excited by this opportunity to advance PPS’s positive momentum and to support its board and excellent staff during the transition from James to a new permanent director,” Jessup said.
The organization expects Jessup’s experience will be an asset in the coming months as it works to expand the College Hill Historic District and delves into its spring programming calendar, which will culminate with the Festival of Historic Houses in June.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Karen back to PPS,” Lucie Searle, board of trustees president, said in a release. “As a former chair of the Providence Historic District Commission and founding member of the Revolving Fund, Karen has over 30 years of experience working in Providence’s preservation landscape. The breadth and depth of her experiences and achievements on both a national and international level are extensive.”
In addition to Jessup’s work in Providence, she is a former trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and chair of its board of advisers. Through her involvement, Jessup concentrated on the diversification of the preservation movement and public policy advocacy. In the past, she has also held administrative and teaching appointments in academia, and research fellowships in the United States and in Great Britain.
Jessup also has consulted with World Heritage Sites in Britain and National Historic Landmarks and National Register properties in the United States. She has received numerous citations for community service and for her academic work, and has been a juror on national preservation and landscape design panels.
She was recently named a reviewer for the American Association of Museums and is also the recipient of an Antoinette F. Downing Award from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Jessup was also recognized with a Stewardship Award from Preserve Rhode Island for her work on the Blithewold Master Plan.