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Maximizing Accessibility for Historic Places

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

View the recording on the Arizona Preservation YouTube Channel!


This webinar will discuss the topic of universal design/accessible design in historic buildings. We will cover example projects in which historic buildings have been rehabilitated or retrofitted to be accessible for their occupants. Accessible includes wheelchairs as well as other disabilities. More specific subtopics include: how to keep as much original exterior/interior as possible, what tools/features need to be added, how to create spaces for light, sound, and tactile sensitivity, and how to ensure those visiting feel just as welcome. 


Welcome & Introductions

  • Susan Lawson, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office

  • Alesha Adolph, Arizona Preservation Foundation


  • Heather Pressman, Molly Brown House, Denver, CO

  • Michael Becherer, Swaim Architects, Tucson

  • Jenni Sunshine, Valley of the Moon, Tucson

  • Sherri Crosslin, Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, Florence

Resources & Closing

  • Alesha Adolph

About the Presenters


Heather Pressman is an educator with a passion for accessibility and inclusion. Her background includes work in education, development, and communications. She currently serves as the Director of Learning & Engagement for the Molly Brown House Museum where she works to expand access, despite the physical challenges of a 130-year old historic house. She currently serves as a member of the organizing committee for the Art of Access Alliance in Denver, a consortium working to make Denver’s arts and cultural attractions accessible to all. In this role, she helps plan and organize workshops and symposia for staff and volunteers of Denver area cultural organizations. Heather holds a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from The Johns Hopkins University, where she also teaches Accessibility in the Museum classes. She recently co-authored "The Art of Access: A Practical Guide for Museum Accessibility" (2021), published by Rowman & Littlefield, and is currently working on writing and editing An Accessible Past: Making historic sites accessible (forthcoming 2023), a publication for AASLH.


Michael Becherer has worked with several architectural firms in Arizona and Kentucky since 1998, and was a general contractor from 1993 to 1998. This wide range of experience has given Michael the skill to effectively manage projects from programming through final close out. Michael has focused primarily on public work for most of his career, completing a wide range of projects from Higher Education, Public Safety, and Public Works. Michael enjoys working with clients to understand their process, and uses this understanding to inform various design solutions to support the clients vision and project goals. Michael joined Swaim Associates in 2016 and became a principal in 2019.

Jenni Sunshine is Board President and Acting Executive Director for Valley of the Moon, the whimsical immersive historic storybook district and landscape in Tucson. Jenni’s multifaceted professional experiences include psychology, federal court management, tribal community work, and service as an Oro Valley Historic Preservation Commissioner. She did her undergraduate studies at Rutgers University, completed all but her dissertation for a PhD in Psychology at the University of Arizona, and achieved a Leadership & Management Master’s level certificate through Graduate School USDA. However, her primary teacher in creative adaptation for historic site inclusion has been hundreds of differently-abled folks visiting Valley of the Moon. For the past decade, Jenni has honored Valley of the Moon’s original intention of promoting “Kindness to All” by improving the equity of experience for all visitors by focusing on the human interface and minimal intrusion, low-cost solutions.

Sherri Crosslin, Director Of Special Events at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, works to promote the businesses of Florence and surrounding communities, ranging from home-based to large corporations. Regularly connecting with people via in-person, telephone, events, social media, and news outlets on an ongoing basis highlights her role.

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Heather Pressman


Michael Becherer

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Jenni Sunshine

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Sherri Crosslin

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