Real Places Conference Returns! Register Now!

AUSTIN, Texas—Registration is open for Real Places 2023, the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) historic preservation and heritage tourism conference, which unites people who are passionate about finding, saving, and leveraging the real places and real stories of their communities.

Real Places 2023 will take place February 1-3 as a true hybrid experience—attendees will choose to participate in the full conference either in person or virtually.

Those who want to experience the energy and camaraderie of the in-person conference more fully can join THC staff, partners, and constituents at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin. Those who can’t make it to Austin or prefer the flexibility and savings of the virtual option can stream all the conference sessions, and the recordings will be archived for viewing up to 60 days after the conference.

An added bonus - with the hybrid model, the recordings will be available to all attendees—both in person and virtual participants will be able to watch presentations they missed because sessions were running concurrently.

Whichever registration option they choose, conference attendees will learn best practices and strategies to protect and preserve the rich heritage of the Lone Star State and to promote visitation to their communities’ historic places.

Registration for Real Places 2023 is now open online at a discounted early-bird rate available through September 30. Additional discounts are available for Courthouse Stewards (county judges and county facility managers), students, and organizations registering multiple people at the same time. There is also a la carte pricing for pre-conference workshops, special events, and single-day registrations.

Hosted again by the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, the conference features about 90 speakers from across Texas and the U.S. More than 40 sessions and pre-conference workshops will address numerous topics, including how to create regional tourism initiatives, developing case statements for nonprofit fundraising, increasing energy efficiency in historic properties, saving cultural landscapes, the discovery of burial sites during construction projects, youth-led history initiatives, working with tribal nations, and many more.

Real Places keynote speakers represent a diverse range of disciplines and are renowned experts in their fields, hailing not only from Texas, but across the U.S. While most of the keynote speakers will be announced later, one has already been revealed. 

Sara Bronin was recently nominated by President Biden to chair the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and is pending Senate confirmation. Born in Houston, she is a Mexican American architect, attorney, professor, and policymaker whose interdisciplinary work focuses on how law and policy can foster more equitable, sustainable, well-designed, and connected places. She is a professor at the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, an associated faculty member of the Cornell Law School, director of the Legal Constructs Lab, and a faculty fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

For more information, including the schedule, registration, and speaker bios, visit For questions about registration, contact 512-463-7475 or