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November 2-5, 2022

Annual Conference Co-Chairs: Robbie D. Jones, Richard Grubb & Associates and Claudette Stager

For a downloadable PDF of the conference information (with all links embedded) listed below, please click here (7.8 MB PDF).

2022 SESAH Conference – Join us in Memphis!

We hope to see you in Memphis where we will celebrate our 40th anniversary. For the last four decades, the mission of SESAH has been to promote scholarship on architecture and related subjects and to serve as a collegial and inclusive forum for exchanging ideas among architectural historians, architects, preservationists, students, and others in professions related to the built environment. Founded in 1983 as a regional chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, SESAH originally served five states, including Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and the Carolinas. Since then, we have expanded to 12 states stretching from Virginia to Texas with nearly 300 active members throughout the U.S.

sesah Memphis logoLocated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Tennessee’s Delta region, the history of Memphis spans thousands of years with mound builders and the Chickasaw calling it home. When founded in 1819, Memphis was named for the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. With steamboats and railroads, Memphis grew into a major inland port city and the world’s largest cotton market.

Memphis played pivotal roles in the Civil Rights Movement, the American music industry (blues, soul, rock-n-roll), transportation, and shipping in the twentieth century. Today, the city is the fifth largest in the SESAH region and welcomes 10 million visitors annually.

Conference Highlights

See Preliminary Schedule for details.

Paper Sessions – More than 75 presenters from around the U.S.

Keynote Address by Brent Leggs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

portraitA Harvard University Loeb Fellow, professor at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, and author of Preserving African American Historic Places, Brent Leggs is a leader in the historic preservation movement in the U.S.

The Keynote Address will be held in the Cossitt Library and hosted in collaboration with the University of Memphis and Memphis Public Libraries. Located at 33 South Front Street, the library is one block from the conference hotel.

Keynote Reception – The post-lecture reception will be held in the historic 1927 Kress Building adjoining the conference hotel.

Business Lunch Meeting and Award Ceremony – Learn more about SESAH’s programs, new Strategic Plan, and celebrate our 2022 award recipients in the 1927 Kress Building. Lunch provided.

Downtown Walking Tours – Guided walking tours of downtown landmarks (optional).

Group BBQ Dinner at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous restaurant (optional).

Saturday “Big Mojo” Study Tour – Join us for a tour of local landmarks including Universal Life Insurance Company Buildings, Crosstown Concourse, Sun Studio, and Clayborn Temple. Along the way you will see and learn about Beale Street, Stax Studio, Lorraine Motel, Cotton Row, Peabody Hotel, Overton Park, Central Gardens district, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and early homes of Elvis, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash. The rehabilitated 14-story Sears Crosstown building was the recipient of the 2019 SESAH Best of the South: Preserving Southern Architecture Award. Plus, the tour buses will feature live blues guitar music provided by Backbeat Tours. Boxed lunch included.

Preliminary Schedule


The Conference Hotel

The SpringHill Suites by Marriott at 35 West Court Avenue in downtown Memphis will serve as the conference hotel and headquarters. Unless noted, all conference events will take place in the Kress Conference Center in the adjoining 1927 Kress Building, a historic Civil Rights landmark. Built in 2001 on Court Square, one of the oldest planned civic spaces in Memphis, this all-suite hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation. The modern hotel offers free Wi-Fi, pool and spa, fitness center, 24/7 snack bar, lobby bar, and a complimentary hot breakfast. The hotel is located on the historic Trolley Line, which provides easy access to downtown venues. Check in time is 4:00pm and check-out is 11:00am. On-site and valet parking are $25.00 per day.

Click here to reserve your suite at the special discounted rate of $159.00 per night. You must book by October 11 for this rate.

Optional Tours (on your own)

Memphis has more than 60 unique attractions. If you have time, some that we recommend include:

National Civil Rights Museum – open daily 9:00am-6:00pm ($16-18)

Graceland: The Home of Elvis Presley – open daily 9:00am-4:00pm ($77-196)

Stax Museum of American Soul Music – open daily 10:00am-5:00pm ($12-13)

Memphis Riverboat Tour – Dinner and Music Cruise Friday 7:30-9:30pm ($50)

Sun Studio – Included on the Saturday Study Tour; open daily, hours vary ($15)

Peabody Hotel – Duck March in the lobby daily at 11:00am and 5:00pm (free)

Beale Street – Entertainment district with restaurants, music, theaters, bars, etc. (free)

Rhodes College – NRHP-listed Collegiate Gothic campus (free)

LeMoyne-Owen College – HBCU with NRHP-listed Colonial Revival campus (free)

Learn more about architectural landmarks in Memphis by reading several SAH Archipedia entries authored by SESAH board members Claudette Stager and the late Gavin Townsend.

Memphis life 3


Click the Register button below, fill out the form that opens up, and then come back here and click the Pay Fees buton to pay for the conference and any other add-ons, such as the Saturday Study Tour. 

Please note that all attendees must 1) fill out the registration form and 2) pay for registration. Your registration will not be considered complete until you have done both.

The early-bird rate is good through October 4. The late fee is $25. Please note that registrations must be made online (sorry, no walk-ups). Registration closes October 18 (no refunds will be made after this date) and space is limited to 150 registrants, so don’t delay! Early-bird registration rates are:

$225    members (email to check your membership status)

$275    non-members, includes a $50 one-year membership

$150    spouse/partner of member

FREE    student members (with a valid ID)

$30      student non-members (with a valid ID), includes a $30 one-year membership

$80      “Big Mojo” Saturday Study Tour (includes lunch)

$5        Printed copy of conference materials*

*Registrants will receive a complimentary flash drive preloaded with all conference materials, including the conference program. Registration materials will also be available via QR codes.

If you have registration questions or special requests, please contact registration coordinator Casey Lee at General conference or study tour questions can be directed to conference co-chair Claudette Stager at


We’re seeking sponsorships! If your company or organization would like to be recognized as a supporter of this event, please contact conference co-chair and treasurer Robbie D. Jones at Current sponsors include: