donna graves

is an independent historian and urban planner based in Berkeley, CA. She develops interdisciplinary public history projects that emphasize social equity and sense of place. Her involvement in projects that weave together local histories, preservation, art and community participation began with her tenure as executive director of The Power of Place, which received national acclaim for its ground-breaking work in interpreting the history of downtown Los Angeles through urban design, historic preservation and public art. 

Graves holds an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, an M.A. in American Civilization from Brown University, and a B.A. in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has lectured widely and taught about inter-disciplinary approaches to developing public history projects, and new ways of thinking about cultural heritage conservation. 

She is an Advisor to the National Park Service’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Theme Study and serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Recognitions for Graves’ work include the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s first Advocacy Award, the National Park Service’s Home Front Award, the California Preservation Foundation’s Excellence in Historic Preservation Award, the California Governor’s Historic Preservation Award, and the Environmental Design Research/Places Research Award. In 2009-2010 Graves was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Graves can be reached at or at 1 (510) 282-3608.