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Art, Art History and Film

Timothy Orwig

fine arts department

Timothy Orwig

Part-time Faculty

Ph.D., Boston University

Devlin Hall 423
Telephone: 617-817-4732

Fields of Interest

Origins of the historic preservation movement in New England; contemporary practitioners of historic preservation and rehabilitation; poorhouses and the architectural response to poverty; Boston Modernism

Academic Profile

Timothy Orwig is an architectural and social historian with a special interest in historic preservation. In addition to his Ph.D. in American and New England Studies he holds M.A. degrees in Historic Preservation Studies (also from Boston University) and English Language and Literature (University of Arkansas). The courses he has taught at Boston College and other universities in the Boston area include the history of art, architecture, design, and Boston itself.

Professor Orwig is a community preservation activist and co-founded the preservation organization SiouxLandmark in his home state of Iowa. His ongoing preservation consulting work includes successfully nominating more than two dozen sites to the National Register of Historic Places, from an early African-American church in New Hampshire to entire Massachusetts neighborhoods. He served as the Preservation Chair of the New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians and a board member of the Vernacular Architecture Forum—New England Chapter.

In his numerous publications, Professor Orwig has investigated and brought to light many of the successes of the historical preservation movement. He is currently working on a book on the subject of his dissertation, Boston architect and preservationist Joseph Everett Chandler. Chandler restored two dozen buildings that are today museums, including the Paul Revere House and the Old State House in Boston and the House of the Seven Gables in Salem.

Selected Recent Publications

“Building the Cape Cod Canal.” Historic New England Magazine Winter/Spring 2014: 26-29.

America Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal (Mount Pleaseant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2013).
Review on's "Design New England" blog

The Legacy of Farmer Brown.” Historic New England Magazine Summer 2013: 12-15.

Concrete Solutions: Tad Stahl’s Urbanism.” Historic New England Magazine Spring 2012: 16-20.

Joseph Everett Chandler, Architect and Preservationist.” Historic New England Magazine Winter/Spring 2011: 24-29.

“Addition to the William S. and John T. Spaulding House, Sunset Rock, Prides Crossing, Beverly, Massachusetts.” Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England. Ed. James F. O’Gorman. Boston: Historic New England, 2010. 126-127.

“‘None Less Changed by Years’: Joseph Everett Chandler and the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House.” Rediscovering the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House. Ed. Michael Kenney and Gavin W. Kleespies. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Historical Society, 2010. 33-34.

Remembering Boston (Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing, 2010).

Selected Recent Public Presentations and Media Appearances

Cape Cod Canal: Traffic by the Ton
In this segment from the July 28, 2014 broadcast of WCVB-TV popular Chronicle program, Professor Orwig speaks about the building and early history of the canal (beginning at about 1:55).

“Just a Touch of Tango: Joseph Everett Chandler and the Transformation of the Harvard Musical Association 1905-1913.” Invited lecture, Harvard Musical Association, Boston, 11 October 2013.

“The Westford Town Farm: A Rare Surviving Early Massachusetts Poorhouse.” Invited public lecture for the Westford Historical Commission, Westford, MA., 16 January 2013.

“‘An Architectural Sherlock Holmes”: Rediscovering the Career of Joseph Everett Chandler.” Invited lecture. Friends of the Archives, Historic New England, 13 September 2012.

“Diversity in Morningside College’s Past.” Invited lecture, Morningside College, Sioux City, IA, 10 October 2011.

“The Hidden Gem: The Architectural, Artistic, and Historic Importance of the Franklin Union.” Invited public talk for Appraisal Day, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston MA, 9 April 2011.

“Designing an End to Poverty: The Massachusetts Poor Farm and the Cambridge Almshouse.” Invited public talk for the New England Chapter of the Victorian Society in America and Old Schwamb Mill, Old Schwamb Mill, Arlington, MA, 19 March 2011.

“Joseph Everett Chandler and the Restoration of the Sargent House Museum.” Invited public talk for the Sargent House Museum Association, Gloucester, MA, 6 October 2010.

“The Milton Town Farm and the Poorhouse in Massachusetts.” Invited presentation for a public forum by the Milton Historical Commission, Milton, MA, 16 June 2010.

“‘An Architectural Sherlock Holmes’: Joseph Everett Chandler Rediscovers Colonial Architecture.” 2010 Annual Meeting Lecture, New England Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, Cambridge, MA, 15 June 2010.

“Building the ‘New Old House’: The Restoration Architectures of Joseph Everett Chandler.” Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Conference, Washington, DC, 22 May 2010.

Recent Cultural Resources Consulting

Berkley Historical Commission. Berkley, MA.

National Register nomination for Berkley Town Common Historic District.

Massachusetts Historical Commission, Boston, MA.

Preservation Consultant: Completed National Register nominations for nine public or non-profit properties in Boston, Cohasset, Essex, Haverhill, Millbury, Quincy, and Rochester.

Heath-Cramond Neighborhood, Brookline, MA.

Lawrence Neighborhood Connection, Brookline, MA.

Historic New England, Boston, MA 2001-2014. Numerous projects, including

--Researcher and Archivist: James McNeely Architectural Archives and the  Frederick A. (Tad) Stahl Architectural Archives.

--Research Fellow: Collections history, Roseland Cottage, Woodstock, CT.

--Research Fellow: Collections finding aid and National Historic Landmark nomination for Beauport, the Sleeper/McCann House, in Gloucester.