A group of people in hardhats pose in front of a stone wall.
Photo Credit NPS-HPTC. The 2018 cohort of HPTC’s Traditional Trades Advancement Program.

The Future of Historic Preservation?

Eleven people are more than half way through their 20-week stint with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program (TTAP), one of HPTC’s Historic Preservation Youth Programs. This program is the result of a partnership between the Stewards Individual Placement Program and NPS Youth Programs Office. The cohort started at the Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, Maryland, with a 3-week training including:

  • OSHA-10 safety instruction
  • An introduction to historic preservation and the National Park Service
  • Basic craft training in masonry and carpentry

When asked what they hoped to get out of their training experience, here’s a couple of responses:

“Hands on experience with the trades side of Preservation, and the skill set/experience to start a career with the National Park Service in Resource Management.”

“Experience with the appropriate materials, a working knowledge of Restoration & Preservation techniques and philosophy, hands-on skills, connections for future work/employment”

Young man on scaffolding powerwashing a bronze monument of a rearing horse and Civil War soldier pointing a gun toward the man.
Photo Credit: NPS HPTC. TTAP Steward power washes a monument at Gettysburg.

They are getting what they hoped for. Five of the cohort are currently embedded with HPTC crews, working on historic sites locally and around the country. The other six returned to their home regions for assignments at:

We are thrilled that one participant is a recent graduate of the Stephen Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School in NYC. Others have had some education in historic preservation, or have had some experience working with the trades. Others had no knowledge or experience, but a willingness to learn. When asked what the most satisfying aspect of their experience so far:

“I am quite satisfied with my experience here, by and large, especially when I am privy to new skills and tool operation. That being said, perhaps the best part of this program is seeing one’s handiwork come together into a remarkable final result.”

During their time working at HPTC and the other parks, the stewards are learning craft skills while helping to address the NPS’s deferred maintenance. We hope that they are inspired by the places they see and the work they complete. And we also hope that inspiration will move them toward a career in some aspect of historic preservation.

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