Who We Are
The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) is an interdisciplinary National Park Service office with expertise in historic architecture and engineering, archaeology, collections, cultural landscapes, and material conservation. We are an external program that reaches beyond national park boundaries to help sustain and conserve historic resources throughout the United States. We also focus inwardly, ready to aid and partner with national parks and regional offices.
Our project partners include National Park Service sites; other federal agencies; state and tribal historic preservation offices; universities; and local, state, and national non-profits. The Center also cooperates with international preservation organizations to promote understanding and application of technology to cultural issues.
What We Do
NCPTT undertakes research at its in-house laboratories and in partnerships with universities and laboratories around the U.S. The NCPTT labs include the National Park Service’s richest store of scientific equipment specifically designed to study environmental impacts on cultural materials. Current research includes:
- Cleaning methods to remove crude oil from cultural heritage.
- Mitigating the effects of fire suppressants on cultural resources.
- Analyzing the effects of alternative herbicides on historic stone and masonry.
- Best material and procedures for stabilizing paper shale fossils excavated at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
- Documentation of sites and properties disappearing due to loss of coastal wetlands, sinking land, rising sea-levels, storm surges, and manmade alterations to land and waterways in the Mississippi River Delta.
NCPTT offers a range technical services to the National Park Service and other agencies in the cultural heritage sector. Examples include mortar sampling and analysis and non-destructive evaluations.
The National Center provides direct and competitive grants to promote research and training opportunities in preservation technology. The Preservation Technology and Training (PTT) Grants program provides funding for innovative research that develops new technologies or adapts existing technologies to preserve cultural resources. Recent grants awarded to NPS offices and parks include:
- Modernizing Plant Records Management in National Parks, Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation
- Training Program and Hands-on Experience with Cyclic Maintenance and Stabilization of Historic Horse-Drawn Vehicles, Pipe Spring National Monument
- Evaluate Stone Conservation methods for Potential Application to Petrified Tree Stabilization, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
- Improve Method for Repairing Wooden Structural Beams in CCC NHL District, Bandelier National Monument
- Development and Testing of an Archeological Site Condition Assessment and Monitoring Mobile Application, Midwest Archaeological Center
NCPTT promotes excellence in preservation by developing training events in house and in partnership with others. These includes nationwide seminars, workshops, classes, and webinars.
Topics have ranged from traditional trades to non-destructive technologies.
The NCPTT website includes over 300 documents, including research reports, how-to manuals, and best practices. Many of these are products of PTT grants. Others were produced in-house and with partners. All are available to download from the NCPTT website.
In-house publications include:
- Graphic Stories that explain conservation concepts related to the preservation of gravestones, iron objects, masonry walls, and wooden windows.
- Resilient Heritage: Protecting Your Historic Home from Natural Disasters
- Best Practice Recommendations for Cleaning Government Issued Headstones
- Stopping the Hands of Time: Nine Tips for Cemetery Preservation
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