As a Community Preservation Specialist with Indiana Landmarks, Brad Miller ’13 lives, eats, and breathes old buildings. Under the umbrella of Landmarks’ Community Assistance Program, Miller spends much of his time supporting five historic preservation commissions across the northern part of the state – liaising with property owners, reporting on findings, and providing training for commission members. A big part of Miller’s work revolves around helping identify endangered historic structures through partnerships with commission members and local nonprofit organizations, then determining and implementing strategies to preserve them. These strategies can range from securing a local historic designation, developing historic districts, and assessing National Register of Historic Places eligibility to helping groups and individuals secure grants and tax credits and organizing public education and advocacy initiatives.
In the course of this work, Miller has a unique opportunity to “listen in” on a wide range of opinions about the practice of preservation – and by extension, about the relationship between past and present. As he reflects, “I encounter a lot of interesting characters along the way who quickly reaffirm that no two people would agree on what historic preservation means and what effect it has on society. As someone who enjoys trying to understand why people come to their particular viewpoints on things like preservation and the importance of history, I am seldom bored.”
A History major at Gettysburg College, Miller received a Master’s Degree in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University in 2015, with a concentration in Historic Preservation. His courses and fieldwork in local history, historic preservation, architecture, and historical archaeology revolved around his interests in collaborating with communities to produce grassroots heritage development plans, work that prepared him well for his current position with Indiana Landmarks.