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Dr. James M. Lindgren — History Faculty

Photo of James Lindgren kayakingProfessor

Come visit my office and you’ll see a phenomenon that was once called “a cabinet of curiosities.” Call it “clutter” or call it “culture,” it's the makings of a museum. Yet, I do believe that everything, including me, has some purpose in life. That's why I study, teach, and write about the preservation and interpretation of old buildings, ships, curios, and “historic” places.

For the last twenty years I've been floating in maritime history. As I research and write more about America's maritime heritage and its preservation, my courses on “US Historic Sites,” “US History Museums,” and “Historic Preservation" have all changed course too. Three books will be launched in this project. Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal District was published by NYU Press in spring 2014. In its wake, a second book will be a collection of my essays on the origins and development of the nation’s major maritime museums. That’s titled “Preserving Maritime America: Public Culture and Memory in the Making of the Nation’s Great Marine Museums.” After that's published, I’ll be able to complete (what's tentatively titled) “Making San Francisco Seaworthy: How a Decrepit Waterfront Became a National Park.” Google me to see when I reach my home port, or if I’ve been lost at sea!


  • Ph.D., College of William and Mary, 1984.
  • M.A., University of Dayton, 1977.
  • B.A., University of Dayton, 1972.

Teaching Areas

  • Public history.
  • U.S. foreign policy.
  • Late 19th/early 20th century U.S.

Research Areas

  • U.S. historic preservation.
  • Historic sites.
  • History museums.

Recent Publications

  • Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal District (New York and London: New York University Press, 2014)
  • Chief historian and author, Soldiers’ Memorial Military Museum Special Resource Study, National Park Service (to determine its eligibility as a National Park). Submitted to Congress and posted at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/soldiersmemorialsrs
  • “‘Preserving the Illusion of Being Transported Back into the Past’: Remaking Landscapes through Historic Preservation,” in History of the New England Landscape, Blake Harrison and Richard Judd, eds. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011).
  • Preserving Historic New England: Preservation, Progressivism and the Remaking of Memory (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
  • Preserving the Old Dominion: Historic Preservation and Virginia Traditionalism (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993).
  • ‘A Spirit That Fires the Imagination:” Historic Preservation and Cultural Regeneration in Virginia and New England, 1850-1950,” in Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States, Randy Mason and Max Page, eds. (New York and London: Routledge, 2004).
  • ‘Let Us Idealize Old Types of Manhood”: The New Bedford Whaling Museum, 1903-1941,” The New England Quarterly (June 1999).
  • ‘The Blow Which Civilization Has Suffered”: American Preservationists and the Great War, 1914-1919,” The Public Historian (2005).
  • ‘The Survival of Truly Mediaeval Mannerisms in Construction and Detail”: Cultural Politics and New England Antiquities in the Early Twentieth Century,” in From William Morris: Building Conservation and the Arts and Crafts Cult of Authenticity, 1877-1939, Chris Miele, ed., in Studies in British Art: Volume 10 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2005).


  • SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2005.
  • G. Wesley Johnson Prize, National Council on Public History, ​1991
    Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Virginia Chapter

Contact James Lindgren

Office: Champlain Valley Hall, 322
Phone: (518) 564-5219
Email: lindgrjm@plattsburgh.edu