Thompson M. Mayes of the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss his book, Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being, on Thursday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m., via Zoom. The talk, with a panel discussion to follow,
is the second presentation of the Touro Synagogue Foundation 2021 Judah Touro Program Series. Touro Synagogue, America’s oldest synagogue, is one of the National Trust’s 27 affiliated historic sites, and this collaborative event is part of the Foundation’s
new education initiative.

Following the discussion with Tom Mayes, in which he will address his book’s themes, the program will turn to a panel of representatives from three leading Rhode Island preservation organizations. Panelists, Val Talmadge, Executive Director of Preserve Rhode Island, John Paul Loether, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and Alyssa Lozupone, Director of Preservation at the Newport Restoration Foundation, will discuss the importance of Newport’s commitment to historic preservation, including the vital importance of protecting the neighborhood surrounding Touro Synagogue.

Of Why Old Places Matter, the president of Heritage Strategies International, Donovan D. Rypkema, wrote, “Mayes has framed the context of historic preservation for the next generation……there is no better way to understand the ‘why’ of historic preservation than by reading this superb book.”

    Photos courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Thompson McCord Mayes is the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. in History and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in writing from Johns Hopkins University. In 2013 he was selected as a winner of the National Endowment for The Arts Rome Prize, which is awarded to about 30 emerging artists and scholars who represent the highest standard of excellence. The award enabled him to spend a six-month residency in Rome as a fellow at the America Academy in Rome, and the essays which make up his book, Why Old Places Matter, came out of that experience.

Tom Mays     Photos courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

There is no fee to participate in this virtual event, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login information. You may register by visiting the home page of, by clicking this link , or by sending an email to For more information, please contact Meryle Cawley at (401) 847-4794, extension 207.

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