By Carla Branch
The three recipients of the 2010 Ben Brenman Award are Judy McConville, Wesley Pippenger and, posthumously, Ellen Pickering.
“Each of these individuals embodies Ben Brenman’s values, and they are all very deserving recipients of this honor,” said Councilman Paul Smedberg as City Council presented the awards on Tuesday night.
Alexandria City Council and the Alexandria Archaeological Commission honored the winners of this year’s Bernard “Ben” Brenman Archeology in Alexandria Award. The awards, named in honor of the late Ben Brenman, a longtime Commission chair, were presented on Tuesday, October 26, during Virginia Archeology Month.
McConville received the award for her dedication to helping teachers and students learn and better understand Alexandria through the K-12 History and Social Science curriculum. She participated in revising the State Standards of Learning, helped administer a Teaching American History grant, and worked with Alexandria Archeology to improve school curricula and teaching resources.
Pippenger was awarded for his research and transcriptions of Alexandria cemetery markers and records; his discoveries of historic maps of Alexandria’s waterfront used to create an accurate overlay of the historic shoreline for waterfront planning; and discovering forgotten documents and sharing his research with Alexandria Archeology, especially the record of burials listing the names and information of more than 1800 African-Americans who died during and after the Civil War. His work allowed further research and archaeological investigations of the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial.
Pickering was awarded for decades of advocacy to preserve and enhance the historic and natural character of Alexandria, including the City’s historic architecture and waterfront.
The AAC established the Brenman Award in 2007 in honor of the late activist and retired U.S. Army colonel. Ben Brenman devoted himself to finding, preserving and sharing Alexandria’s rich and diverse heritage, and served as AAC chair for 21 years. The Brenman Award recognizes businesses, organizations, families, professional preservationists, volunteers, students, and other individuals who have demonstrated work or efforts in archaeological investigation, research, site protection, education, public interpretation, open-space design, collections or conservation.