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BEST Preservation Workshop Series – 2020

The Western Center for Historic Preservation is excited to be opening registration for our 2020 BEST Preservation Workshops (formerly called Vanishing Treasures workshops).

What are BEST Preservation Workshops and where are the Vanishing Treasures workshops?

Starting in 2020, the training arm of the Vanishing Treasures Program – the Western Center for Historic Preservation (WCHP) – was realigned under the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), to create a nationwide preservation training and services program. This means that the Vanishing Treasures Workshops that were offered through the Western Center for Historic Preservation from 2015-2018 will now have the opportunity to serve the preservation training needs for historic resources occurring nationwide, rather than those only found in the American West. To reflect this change, the VT workshops have been renamed to the Brick, Earth, Stone, and Timber (BEST) Preservation Workshop Series.

What’s the difference between the new BEST Preservation Workshops and the old Vanishing Treasures Workshops?

There are only 2 differences: the name, and the scope. BEST Preservation Workshops will cover historic resources that occur nation-wide, rather than those only in the American West. BEST Preservation Workshops continue to use the Vanishing Treasures curriculum and continue to be dedicated to problem-based and hands-on learning.

Workshops and Trainings for 2020

Inquiry Courses

Documentation & Investigation Courses

Treatment Courses

Maintenance Courses

No maintenance courses are being offered this year. Check back next year!

Special Topics

Course Progression

BEST Preservation Workshops build upon one another, following the natural progression of a historic preservation project. Inquiry courses lead to Documentation & Investigation courses which lead to Treatment courses which in turn lead to Maintenance courses. Special Topics courses are stand-alone. So:

I –> D&I –> T –> M

This structure identifies major categories that take a project from concept to reality, and from design to implementation. This structure was originally designed and implemented by the Vanishing Treasures Program and has been in use since 2017 offerings.

  • Inquiry: Courses cover the basics of historic preservation and are strongly recommended for all students before taking more advanced courses.
  • Documentation & Investigation: Documentation workshops focus on researching historic resources and recording existing conditions in the field. Investigation workshops teach problem-solving strategies for defining deterioration problems and quantifying their potential impact.
  • Treatment: Workshops cover the construction strategies, condition assessment, treatment, and conservation science of major building materials. Treatment workshops are hands-on and split between the field and the classroom.
  • Maintenance: Workshops introduce students to methods and best practices for continued stewardship of historic resources after preservation, including how to evaluate treatments, write and follow maintenance and lifecycle plans, and bring historic resources into asset management programs.
  • Special Topics: A selection of special topics cover pressing issues in preservation each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are the BEST Preservation Workshops part of the Vanishing Treasures Program? In 2019, the training arm of the Vanishing Treasures Program was moved under the Historic Preservation Training Center in order to offer workshops servicewide. BEST Preservation Workshops will continue to use the curriculum created while partnered with Vanishing Treasures program. We are indebted to Vanishing Treasures for supporting the design and implementation of a coherent series of workshops that are considered the gold standard of historic preservation trainings.
  • What is the BEST Preservation Workshop Series? The BEST Preservation Workshop Series works to train employees at all levels of the National Park Service to ensure the preservation of traditionally built architecture and traditional trades skills. The workshop series also works to promote connections between culturally associated communities and places of their heritage.
  • Who can take a course? Courses are open to anyone who is interested: federal, state, and local government employees; private sector contractors, consultants, architects, and design professionals; students; non-profit employees; and homeowners. Federal employees must have supervisory approval to register for workshops.
  • What is the cost per course? Course costs vary. Refer to each course offering page to see associated costs.
  • Who do I talk to about an accommodation? If you are a person with a disability and you need accommodations, please contact us at least 3 weeks before the workshops at BESTpreservation@nps.gov or (307) 739-3571.
  • Is there still lodging at White Grass Dude Ranch? Yes, for workshops held in Grand Teton National Park, there is limited, free-of-charge, housing available at the White Grass Dude Ranch. The ranch is a rehabilitated historic dude ranch located inside the park that serves as WCHP’s training facility. More information is available in the registration form.
  • Where can I download a copy of the catalog? Visit the Western Center for Historic Preservation website.

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