Today we’d like to introduce you to Pauline Saliga.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was growing up I realized that I loved history but it was difficult for me to remember abstract dates and historical facts. I needed something concrete to tie history too. Then in college, when I started studying art and architectural history, I had an epiphany! Yes, I finally found the key to tying abstract dates and events together, artworks and architecture–which literally tell stories about both moments in history and personal moments of inspiration.
I pursued art and architectural history in college and graduate school, and I was fortunate enough to land curatorial jobs at both the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. Then, after 18 years of organizing exhibitions, producing exhibition catalogs, and doing public outreach programs, I was offered the Executive Director’s position for the Society of Architectural Historians, an international membership organization dedicated to the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture worldwide.
We are housed in a landmark house on Astor Street, Charnley-Persky House, which was designed in 1891-92 by Louis Sullivan and his then young draftsman by the name of Frank Lloyd Wright. Now, I’m steeped in history on a daily basis and I love telling the many stories associated with buildings and making history come alive for new generations.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Every job has its challenges, like fundraising or Polar temperatures that freeze and break pipes in historic houses. But I think all of the struggles I have experienced in my work have been interesting because they always taught me something new.
Whatever the problem was, I always learned how to solve it and, in the end, I was grateful for that. So, I think a person’s job or career path is seldom smooth, but you have to accept the challenges that come your way and use them as opportunities to learn and grow.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Society of Architectural Historians story. Tell us more about the business.
SAH, as the Society of Architectural Historians is known, is a very cool organization. It provides a professional home for people who work in and around architectural history. They include professors who teach in schools of architecture and Ph.D. programs, architects, librarians, historic preservationists, college students, docents for architecture organizations, curators, and of course members of the general public from any profession who share an interest in the history of the built world.
In recent years SAH has fully embraced digital publications and communications and has earned a reputation for creating innovative online educational resources for the public, like SAH Archipedia (www.sah-archipedia.org) which includes building histories for the 100 most significant and typical buildings in every state in the U.S. Through annual conferences, field seminars, publications and public lectures SAH presents new research and provides an open forum for meaningful public engagement about the history of the built environment–buildings, landscapes, and urban developments.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think of Louis Pasteur’s saying “chance favors.. the prepared mind,” When you’re deeply engaged in working on something, solving a problem, launching something new, you have to both focus deeply on the issue at hand and stay open to completely unexpected solutions.
Preparation is what allows you to find the solution when it presents itself. That’s where you’re able to create your own good luck. Chance meetings, offhand conversations, a seemingly unrelated article you read–these are the unexpected connections that help you solve your vexing problems. You have to be open to good luck and it will find you.
- Memberships in SAH start as low as $65 for students. See www.sah.org for info.
- Saturday tours of Charnley-Persky House at noon $5.00 children, $8.00 seniors, $10.00 adults. Reserve tickets now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/charnley-perskey-house-tours-tickets-40889450447
- Address: 1365 N. Astor St.
Chicago, IL 60610-2144
- Website: www.sah.org
- Phone: 312-573-1365
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sah1365/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAH1365/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/sah1365
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1359199/?trk=tyah