Assistant Professor Tara Dudley teaches Interior Design History I and II, American Architecture, and African American Experiences in Architecture. She has a long-standing relationship with the UTSOA having obtained her doctorate (Architectural History) in 2012 and her master’s degree (Historic Preservation) in 2003. Dr. Dudley has also collaborated on interdepartmental preservation work, including preparing architectural descriptions and analyses for National Register for Historic Places nominations. Her research methodology includes creative utilization of archival resources and conducting oral histories. Notably, she has applied this approach to her study of the architectural activities of New Orleans’ gens de couleur libres (free people of color); their influence on the physical growth of New Orleans; and the historical, cultural, and economic implications of their contributions to nineteenth-century American architecture. Her current research projects encompass illuminating the contributions of African American builders and architects to the American built environment, focusing on the antebellum and Reconstruction eras in Austin and Texas.
For 16 years, Dr. Dudley served as a senior architectural historian for HHM & Associates, Inc. (formerly Hardy∙Heck∙Moore, Inc.) a historic preservation and cultural resources management consulting firm located in Austin, Texas. She served as project manager and lead architectural historian on various projects involving the preparation of historic furnishings reports and interpretive planning for historic sites. Dr. Dudley has varied experience with preservation and cultural resources management projects including but not limited to conducting historic resource surveys at reconnaissance and intensive levels; preparing National Register of Historic Places nominations, historic district guidelines, preservation case alternatives; and others work involving mitigative recording and Section 106 compliance. She has conducted extensive historical archival research and contributed written portions of various types of reports. Her writing capabilities include historic contexts, property descriptions, and statements of significance. Dr. Dudley’s experience also includes creating measured drawings, photograph preparation, USGS mapping, and report formatting and compilation. She has technical expertise in the requirements of HABS/HAER Levels II and III documentation and material handling and processing. Her education and experience fully satisfy Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards as an Architectural Historian.
- Ph.D., Architectural History, The University of Texas at Austin, 2012
- M.S.A.S., Historic Preservation, The University of Texas at Austin, 2003
- B.A., Art History, Princeton University, 1999
- Reckoning with the Past: Slavery, Segregation, and Gentrification in Austin (with Dr. Rowena Dasch, Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2021)
- Building Antebellum New Orleans: Free People of Color and their Influence (UT Press, 2021)
- 'There is Something More to be Done': The Life and Work of John Saunders Chase, 1925-2012 (under contract with UT Press)
- “Foreword,” ISSUE 17, Austin: School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin, Fall 2021
- “Free Women of Color and Architecture in Antebellum New Orleans,” in “Roundtable: Constructing Race and Architecture, 1400-1800, Part I,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 80: 3 (September 2021)
- "Before West Campus: Rediscovery and Preservation of Wheatville's West Campus," Platform (2019-2020): 8-11.
- “On Madam Walker’s Architecture,” Black Perspectives (blog), published by African American Intellectual History Society, May 22, 2019.
- “The Family Business: New Research Explores How Free People of Color Built Wealth and Community Through Real Estate,” Preservation in Print, October 2018
- “Seeking the Ideal African-American Interior: The Walker Residences and Salon in New York” Studies in the Decorative Arts (Fall/Winter 2006-2007)
- “A Tale of Two Interiors,” Platform (Winter 2003), biannual publication, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
- “Fine Things are Without Value: Inside the Shadows.” Interpretive guidebook. Shadows-on-the-Teche, New Iberia, 2001
- “African and African-American Art.” Brochure. The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1999
- "Reckoning with the Past: Slavery, Segregation, and Gentrification in Austin," Neill-Cochran House Museum, February 22 - December 31, 2020
- “The Free People of Color Who Built Antebellum New Orleans,” Preservation Resource Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 6 – November 16, 2018
- “An Eastside Story: Churches of East Austin,” text for Liz Moskowitz photography exhibit hosted by Six Square/Preservation Austin, March 3-March 24, 2017
Select Professional Reports
- Historic Furnishings Report for Slave Quarters Building at the Washington and Mary Hill House, Neill-Cochran House Museum, Austin, Texas, in progress
- Historic Furnishings Report for the Jacob Ford, Jr. Mansion, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey, in progress
- Historic Furnishings Report for the Henry Wick House, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey, in progress
- Historic Furnishings Reports for the MLK Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Fire Station No. 6, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, Atlanta, Georgia, January 2021
- Historic Context Study of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) Rail Line, Honolulu County, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, in progress
- National Register Nomination, Naval Aviation Supply Depot Personnel Camp Quonset Hut 33, Pearl City, Hawai'i, 2019
- Local Historic District Application and Design Guidelines for the Robertson Hill Local Historic District, Austin, Texas, 2019
- Lower Waller Creek Historic Context Study, Waller Creek Conservancy, 2018
- Brownsville Historic Resources Survey and National Register District Nomination, Brownsville, Texas, 2018
- National Register District Nomination, Kingsville Downtown Historic District, Kingsville, Texas, 2018
- National Register Nomination, Cambridge Tower, Austin, Texas, 2018
- National Register District Nomination for Boston National Historic Site, Boston, Massachusetts, 2017
- Historic Furnishings Report, Hampton National Historic Site, 2017
- Historic Furnishings Report, Show Barn, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, 2017.
- Historic Resources Survey of East Austin, 2016.
- Historic Furnishings Report, White House Aides and Communications Complex, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, 2016.
- Combined Historic Structure and Historic Furnishings Report, Secret Service Command Post, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, 2014-2015
- Historic Furnishings Report and Implementation Plan, Portion of Landscape Design Office, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, 2010-2011
- Historic District Design Guidelines for Leesville, Lake Charles, and Crowley, Louisiana, 2011.
- Interpretive Brochure Development for “Shadowland Café,” West, Texas, 2011.
- Historic Furnishings Report for Bunker Hill Granite Lodge, Boston National Historical Park, 2009-2011
- Historical Interpretive Marker, Visitors Center Exhibit, and Docent Manual Project, Tule Springs Ranch at Floyd Lamb State Park, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2011
- Interpretive Plan and Interior Rehabilitation of Interior of Foreman’s House, Las Vegas, Nevada Tule Springs Ranch, Floyd Lamb Park, 2008 – 2009
- Historical Interpretive Program in Response to a Natural Disaster for Naval Air Station Pensacola, Pensacola, Florida, 2007
- National Register Nomination for the William Buckner and Sue Houston House, Gonzales, Texas, May 2003 (listed to the National Register of Historic Places August 2003)
Conference and Symposia Presentations
- “The Comfort is a Matter of Habit”: Antebellum Construction Practices of Free Builders of Color in New Orleans,” on “Construction Labor, Race, and Class in Antebellum US Cities” roundtable, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) Annual Meeting, July 2021
- “‘A Very Valuable Man’: Enslaved Builders and the Making of Texas,” 2021 David Warren Symposium on American Material Culture and the Texas Experience: “The Power of Place: Defining Material Culture in Pre-1900 Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest,” Bayou Bend House and Gardens, Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 2021
- “Cherchez les femmes, recherchez les femmes,” in “Race, Health, and the Environment” session, Southern Historical Association, November 2020
- “‘Austin’s most prosperous colored men’: Freedmen Builders and Craftsmen in Austin, Texas, 1870-1900,” on “Finding Late 19th Century African American Builders, Architecture, and Landscapes: A Texas Case Study” panel, Southeast Society of Architectural Historians, panel chair and presenter, October 2020
- “Rediscovering African American Builders in Austin’s Black Settlements,” on “The State of Black Architecture in Historic Black Settlements” panel, Vernacular Architecture Forum Virtual Conference, May 2020
- “National Register Listings and the African American Experience,” Conservation Society of San Antonio Symposium, February 2020
- “Free People of Color and the Architecture of Antebellum New Orleans,” Making New Orleans Home: A Tricentennial Symposium, March 2018, “Creating Home: 300 Years of Builders and Architects in New Orleans” Architecture Panel
- University of Texas at Arlington David Dillon Symposium “Equity + Freedom's Footprint in Dallas Freedman's Towns,” November 2017, Panelist: Heritage and Preservation
- “Gens de couleur libres and the Social History of Architecture in Tremé,” Williams Research Center Annual Symposium “Perspectives on New Orleans Architecture: Past, Present, Future,” February 2016.
- “Revealing the contributions of the gens de couleur libres to New Orleans’ antebellum architecture: a new a new approach,” Louisiana Historical Association Annual Meeting, March 2015
- “The gens de couleur libres and the architecture of antebellum New Orleans: a new approach,” Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, April 2014
- “The Influence of the gens de couleur libres on the architecture of Antebellum Louisiana,” SAH Annual Conference, April 2006
Consulting and Partnerships
- Advisory Committee on Cultural Context Statements, City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation, November 2021-present
- “Creating Community: A Geographical Approach to Inclusive History at Oakwood Cemetery,” Austin, Texas, September 2021-present
- Alexander Family Farm, Austin, Texas, August 2021-present
- Neill-Cochran House Museum Slave Quarters Building Project, Austin, Texas, July 2021-present
- “Defining Community: The African American Diaspora in East Austin,” AASLH Annual Meeting, September 2017
- East Austin: Gentrification, transitioning neighborhoods, displaced cultural memories, walking tour for University of Texas Department of American Studies and Michener Center, Harry Ransom Center, January 2017
- African American History in East Austin. Jane Jacobs/ Jane’s Walk USA local neighborhood tour. April 2016.
- “Palimpsests of Color: Transition, Gentrification, and Hidden History in Austin’s Black Neighborhoods,” Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, April 2014
- African-American Architectural History
- Nineteenth Century Interior Design and Material Culture
- Nineteenth Century American Architecture
- Historic Preservation