Annie C. Harris
Individual Lifetime Achievement
For nearly 40 years, Annie C. Harris has demonstrated outstanding leadership in preserving Massachusetts' historic and cultural resources. Ms. Harris received her Masters of Architecture from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. She began her career in Lowell, where, as part of the early Lowell Plan study team, she helped create the city's innovative urban National Historical Park, which is today an historic preservation and community revitalization success story. Then, Ms. Harris worked for the Crowninshield Corporation, an early leader in adaptive reuse and historic preservation, where her landmark projects included the conversion of the Lawrence Leather Company mill complex into housing. Ms. Harris also worked for the City of Boston, specializing in federal historic tax credit rehabilitation projects. She later switched to the nonprofit sector, becoming the third executive director of The Salem Partnership, a public-private alliance that facilitates collaboration between businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies to promote projects that restore and revitalize Salem's historic assets.
The Salem Partnership, under Ms. Harris's direction, assisted in expanding the Maritime National Historic Site's boundaries, development of the National Park Service's Regional Visitor Center in Salem, restoration of the historic Derby and Central Wharves, and construction of the replica tall ship Friendship. Under the auspices of the Salem Partnership, Ms. Harris led the effort to create the Essex National Heritage Area, comprised of the 34 communities of Essex County, which was officially designated by the U.S. Congress in 1996. The National Heritage Area formed its own management corporation in 1997, with Ms. Harris as the founding Executive Director of the Essex National Heritage Commission, where she remains today. The National Heritage Area and its affiliated commission oversee projects that preserve, promote, and protect the region's historic structures, scenic roadways, maritime resources, and archival materials. Ms. Harris also serves in a national leadership position as the Vice President of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas' Executive Committeee. In November 2010, she was appointed for a two-year term to the Planning Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board, which will soon recommend a vision and guidelines for steering the next 100 years of the National Park System. Ms. Harris has also been active for many years in civic and community organizations around Salem and the North Shore and has been on many committees and boards. She served for twelve years on the Salem Historical Commission—for six as its chair—and has lived in the McIntire Historic District in Salem for more than 30 years. She resides in a Greek Revival house with her husband, Andrew Lippman, and their daughter, Julia, who is currently a law student and who loves history. Over close to four decades, Annie Harris has advanced the ideals of historic preservation and put those ideals into practice.