Historic Preservation Training Programs

Sarah Polzin



In 2014 the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) partnered with Conservation Legacy – Stewards Individual Placement Program – to introduce youth to the National Park Service and hands-on preservation skills training.

Conservation Legacy is a national organization dedicated to supporting locally based conservation service programs. It provides service and work opportunities for a diverse group of individuals to complete important conservation and community projects for the public benefit.


Stewards is the individual placement program of Conservation Legacy, and it continues a history of pairing environmental stewardship and community development first pioneered by the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team in 2002.

Since its inception, HPTC has been developing and modifying the program to meet a variety of audiences and needs. There are four programs that can all be defined by:

  • An immersive skills training experience
  • A high ratio of trainers to trainees
  • Exposure to National Park Service sites and personnel
  • Accomplishing important deferred maintenance work throughout the training period

Active preservation maintenance projects provide the training opportunity and current NPS trades professionals provide the skills training. Program participants can expect to receive training in a wide range of skills including:

  • Exterior Wood Component Restoration

    Two men focus on repairs to a wood window.
    Photo Credit: NPS HPTC. TTAP participant receives training in window joinery repair.
  • Repointing, Dismantling, and Reconstruction of Brick and Stone Structures
  • Timberframe Repairs
  • Log Construction Repairs
  • Mothballing and Structural Stabilization
  • Slate, Metal, and Wood Shingle Roofing
  • Historic Window Sash and Door Restoration
  • Floor, Wall, and Roof Structural Repairs
  • Monument and Headstone Cleaning, Resetting, and Repointing

Man in hard hat and dust mask uses a saw to cut a stone walkway with blue sky and ocean in background

Photo Credit: NPS HPTC. PWE Steward makes repairs to Fort Christiansvaern at Christiansted NHS.


Preservation Work Experience (PWE)

This program is offered to individuals with some prior preservation experience. After completing required safety and site orientation, participants are placed individually in HPTC craft teams (Woodcrafting, Masonry, Carpentry, Architecture). Their training continues as they work with expert craftspeople and contribute to preservation projects.

This program is dependent upon HPTC project schedules and are on-going throughout the year. Participants are based out of HPTC’s headquarters in Frederick, MD and are expected to travel with project crews accordingly. PLC Hiring Authority and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are associated with this program, subject to term length and eligibility.

Term length ranges from 12-26 weeks, with opportunities to serve up to two years total through the Preservation Work Experience.

Preservation Work Experience – Local

Preservation Work Experience – Local is similar to the PWE, except these participants don’t travel to multiple project sites. This opportunity recruits applicants local to a planned HPTC project. Participants work alongside HPTC Preservation crews on a specific project. Past projects include:

  • Goat Barn Preservation at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
  • Bellefield Mansion Window Restoration at Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site

Terms generally range from 10-14 weeks and provide skills training specific to the project at hand.

Man in a barn wearing a hard hat and leg protection holding an axe hews a log
Photo Credit: NPS HPTC. PWE steward Theo Aase-Remedios hewing logs for Jefferson Expansion National Memorial.

The Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program (TTAP)

This WASO-funded program recruits a cohort of 8-10 individuals from a broad range of backgrounds to participate in a 20-week immersive training experience in hands-on preservation work. Participants are trained as a group in the fundamentals of historic preservation, job-site safety principles, material selection and tool use, as well as the logistics of working on an active job-site.

Following 4-6 weeks of training held in and around Frederick, MD, program participants are either assigned to an HPTC craft team (Carpentry, Masonry, or Woodcrafting), or are placed with host parks that have an established Preservation Maintenance presence. Members of the cohort are essentially embedded into preservation maintenance projects across the National Park System. This immersive format results in apprentice-style skills training from traditional trades professionals within the National Park Service.

TTAP members are recruited nationally, with a focus in the communities surrounding NPS sites. All participants receive Public Land Corps (PLC) Hiring Authority upon completion of their terms as well as a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award commensurate with their length of service.

A line of workers in hardhats and matching tshirts sit on the ground as they repoint a brick wall.
Photo Credit: NPS HPTC. TTAP Stewards receive brick pointing training at Sherrick House at Antietam National Battlefield.

Veteran Trades Apprenticeship Program (VTAP)

The Veteran Trades Apprenticeship Program brings together a group of post-9/11 Armed Service Veterans to work on preservation maintenance projects throughout the NPS.

In 2018, the program will be focused on the preservation and maintenance of monuments and memorials of Civil War Battlefields. This cohort will be based at Gettysburg National Military Park for 4 weeks before completing their 25-week terms at one of several sites including:

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Historic Preservation Training Center
  • Vicksburg National Military Park 

Benefits to Host Parks

When the stewards complete their terms they often want to continue working and learning preservation trades in the NPS. One of HPTC’s goals for this program is to disseminate these workers to other NPS sites. HPTC partners with host parks to ensure workers receive the appropriate skills and provide the following outcomes:

  • Ability to recruit workers from your local community
  • Terms are flexible and can be extended should the Park be interested
  • Initial training is provided by HPTC staff to Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Preservation
  • Work completed by these participants directly reduces the NPS deferred maintenance backlog
  • Opportunity to pass on important skills and knowledge at a time when many maintenance employees are eligible for retirement


Recruitment for these programs is on a revolving basis. HPTC opportunities are only one of many agencies and programs that recruit through the Conservation Legacy-Stewards Individual Placement Program.

For More Information

HPTC Contact: Hillary Lennox via email.

Southeast Region also has lots of great resources on youth programs, including Using the Public Hiring Authority.

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