Danny J. Bonenberger

A photo of Danny Bonenberger

Professor of Historic Preservation

Geography & Geology

140I Strong Hall


[email protected]


  • Ph.D, Geography (Geographic Information Systems & Science), West Virginia University, 2019
  • MA, History, West Virginia University, 1997

Interests and Expertise

Common places, buildings, people and landscapes at the intersection of historic preservation, cultural geography and digital cultural heritage. Current research integrates GIS, 3D modeling and serious games to produce and examine knowledge about the physical spaces of nineteenth century American dwellings, explore cultual landscape contexts and experience sensuous and emotional aspects of place.   

  • Heritage recording, documentation and information management
  • Digital heritage, virtual heritage and serious games
  • Historic and cultural landscapes
  • Humanities GIS, Critical GIS and geovisualization
  • 19th-century urban historical geography
  • Sensuous and intangible cultural heritage
  • American vernacular architecture


  • GEOG 100—Geographic Science and Technology
  • GHPR 335—Historic Preservation
  • URP   435—History of Urban Form & Function
  • GHPR 475—Architectural Nomenclature
  • GHPR 400/500—Historic American Architecture
  • GHPR 531—American Cultural Landscapes
  • GHPR 547—Problems in Architectural Interpretation
  • GEOG 548—American Vernacular Architecture
  • GHPR 450/550—Digital Heritage & Geovisualization
  • GHPR 551—Historic Building Systems
  • GHPR 572—Funding Historic Preservation
  • GHPR 620—Preservation Research Techniques
  • GHPR 630—Documenting and Recording Historic Places
  • GHPR 631—Preservation Administration & Planning
  • GHPR 636—Historic Preservation Field Methods
  • GHPR 651—Advanced Geovisualization

Selected Professional Service

Professional and Academic Experience
  • Professor of Historic Preservation, 2021–present. Department of Geography and Geology, Eastern Michigan University; Assistant Professor, 2008–13; Associate Professor, 2013–21.
  • President, 2006–08. National Road Alliance, Inc.; Chair, Preservation Committee Sep., 2003–Nov., 2007; Board of Directors Jan., 1999–May, 2008.
  • Associate Director, Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology. 2000–05. West Virginia University; Research Manager 1998–1999; Research Associate 1997–1998; Graduate Research Assistant 1994–1997.
  • Field Supervisor, 1997. National Park Service – Heritage Documentation Programs; Historian, 1995, 1996.
Recent Papers and Publications
  • Dan Bonenberger. 2020. Historical GIS for vernacular architecture surveys and virtual reconstruction of urban cultural landscapes: A case study in 1850s Wheeling, (West)Virginia. Material Culture 52:1.

    _____. 2020. The National Road scandal of 1818: Routing America’s first Interstate to the Ohio Valley. Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review.

    _____. 2019. Early Dwellings of North Wheeling, Phase 2: Intensive survey of Wheeling, West Virginia.  Charleston: West Virginia State Historic              Preservation Office.

    _____. 2019. Reconciling the dissonance between Historic Preservation and Virtual Reality through a place-based Virtual Heritage system. Ph.D. dissertation. Morgantown: West Virginia University.

  •  Dan Bonenberger, Melissa Milton Pung, and Jessica Flores. 2018. Early Dwellings of North Wheeling:  An intensive survey from 3rd Street to Walnut Alley, Wheeling, West Virginia.  Charleston: West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office.

  •  Dan Bonenberger. 2016. Not quite a house? A preliminary evaluation of side passage townhouses in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Past 39: 19-37.

  •  Trevor M. Harris, H. Frank Lefone, and Dan Bonenberger.  2016. Beyond mapping text in space   to experiencing text in place: exploring literary virtual geographies. in Literary Mapping in the Digital Age, ed. David Cooper, Christopher Donaldson and Patricia Murrieta-Flores, 221-39. London: Routledge.

  • Dan Bonenberger and Trevor M. Harris. 2013. Placing Virtual Heritage: Reconciling virtual and cultural heritage with the spatial turn.  Proceedings of the First Digital Heritage International Congress. Vol 2. IEEE Press.