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Museum studies teacher lauded for palace research

Nov. 29, 2005

by MARILYN LIM, reporter

A detailed examination of a governor's palace turned saloon turned palace again has earned accolades for Dr. Kenneth Hafertepe.

Hafertepe, assistant professor of museum studies, was one of three winners of the 2005 Publication Awards at the Southeastern Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians conference, held Oct. 12 through Oct. 15 in Fort Worth.

Hafertepe's article, "The Romantic Rhetoric of the Spanish Governor's Palace, San Antonio, Texas," which was published in Southwestern Quarterly in October 2003, received the 2005 Article Award.

Hafertepe details the effort to preserve and restore the Spanish Governor's Palace in downtown San Antonio while focusing on questions of authenticity and identity.

The Spanish Governor's Palace was built in 1722 as a residence for military commanders sent to govern the Presidio de San Antonio de Bejar and to protect the Alamo.

As time passed, the palace served as a second-hand clothing store, a tailor's shop, a saloon, a restaurant and a school, Hafertepe said.

In 1929, local preservationist Adina de Zavala discovered the remains of the site and led a campaign to restore the building. The San Antonio Conservation Society restored the governor's palace the following year.

Catherine Zipf, chairwoman of the award committee, said the committee looks for a notable connection to southern architectural landscape in either the author's subject or residence.

The committee also looks for pieces on architectural history, rather than articles that focus on urban patterns or landscape history, she said.

"Ken's article's reflected those qualities," Zipf said. "It was well-researched, well-written, engaging and very interesting to read. It addressed an important architectural landmark of the south about which little was known."

Hafertepe encouraged Baylor students to read his article.

"It would help them to understand the cultural history of Texas as well as the role of women in preserving Texas's heritage," he said. "It'll also help students appreciate how challenging and rewarding it can be to preserve Texas history."

Ashley Rasner, a graduate student from Waco, said Hafertepe creates student interest in his subjects with his enthusiasm.

"He's extremely knowledgeable about his field, and he's also excited about his field. His excitement rubs off on his students and that makes it interesting for us," Rasner said.

Rasner's classmate, Houston graduate student Bryanna O'Mara, also said Hafertepe's attitude toward his field makes many subjects exciting.

"His class is very interactive and he's always willing to offer one-on-one help. Dr. Hafertepe definitely shows interest in his students' progress," she said.