Because of his outstanding service to US/ICOMOS from its formative years and his continuous commitment to the ideals and involvement in the work of heritage conservation worldwide throughout his long distinguished career, US/ICOMOS is proud to present Dr. William J. Murtagh a 2015 Ann Webster Smith Award.
A pioneer and outstanding leader in the field of historic preservation for more than 50 years, Dr. Murtagh has received both the Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the Secretary of the Interior, and the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is a Benjamin Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in London, England.
Dr. Murtagh was one of the founding members of US/ICOMOS in 1965, served on the US/ICOMOS Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1988, and was a member of the coordinating committee responsible for planning the 1987 ICOMOS General Assembly in Washington, DC, the first ever to be held outside of Europe. US/ICOMOS named him a Fellow in 1987. In 2014, the 18th ICOMOS General Assembly meeting in Florence, Italy voted to make Dr. Murtagh an Honorary Member of the organization at the proposal of US/ICOMOS. The General Assembly confers Honorary Membership upon individuals who have rendered distinguished service in the field of conservation, restoration and enhancement of historical monuments, sites, and groups of buildings, at the proposal of a National Committee.
Dr. Murtagh’s expert participation in the early international meetings on conservation doctrine were crucial in aligning the traditional conservation practices that had been developing in the United States previously with the international doctrinal documents that were emerging from ICOMOS during its early years. This in turn, allowed Dr. Murtagh to disseminate this new knowledge through his pioneering academic involvement as Director of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University and as the initiator of the Preservation programs and professor at the University of Maryland and the University of Hawaii. He was also the first occupant of the Beinecke-Reeves Chair in Architectural Preservation at the University of Florida.