Dr. Melanie Hall, FSA, is Associate Professor and Director of Museum Studies in the Department of History of Art & Architecture at Boston University, Massachusetts. She is currently completing a book-length manuscript on the origins of the National Trust which focuses on the rise of heritage and preservation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in Britain and North America. In doing so, she traces the transatlantic traffic of ideas on the preservation of natural landscapes, historic buildings and ancient monuments.
Her interest in the development of the concept of world heritage and in preservation efforts as an aspect of cultural diplomacy has resulted in several publications, including (as editor) Towards World Heritage: International Origins of the Preservation Movement 1870-1930 (2011, 2016); ‘Octavia Hill and the National Trust’, in “Nobler imaginings and mightier struggles”: Octavia Hill and the remaking of British society, (eds. Elizabeth Baigent and Ben Cowell, Institute of Historical Research, 2016); ‘Plunder or Preservation? Contesting the Anglo-American Heritage in the Later Nineteenth Century’, in From Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire c1800-1940, (eds. Peter Mandler and Astrid Swenson, Oxford University Press, 2013 / Proceedings of the British Academy 187); and ‘American Tourists in Wordsworthshire: from “national property” to “national park”’, in The Making of a Cultural Landscape: the English Lake District as Tourist Destination, 1750-2010, (eds. John K. Walton and Jason Wood, 2013).
After studying at the University of Leeds, her career began at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds City Art Galleries, and she has also published on Leeds sculpture. Her interest in the historical built environment led her to work for many years for English Heritage on the Listed Buildings Re-survey and Review, in Yorkshire and the Midlands.