Field School showcases preservation philosophy
October 23, 2013
Early in October, twenty-three students from historic preservation programs across the Northeast gathered at Historic New England’s Jewett-Eastman House properties to learn more about our unique approach to preserving historic structures using the highest standards of architectural conservation. The Field School in Preservation Philosophy and Practice, which took place over three days, featured lectures, presentations, and hands-on exercises designed to introduce students to the decision-making process employed by our own preservation staff when implementing projects at our properties.
Participating students attended detailed lectures outlining the steps Historic New England's property care team uses to develop treatment plans for repairs that reflect our commitment to preventing the loss of historic fabric at our sites. Students then applied those same steps in small and large group field exercises at four sites: Sarah Orne Jewett House and Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine, and Jackson House and Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
In addition to experiencing first-hand how Historic New England's preservation philosophy is applied at our properties, and working directly with preservation carpenters and project managers at these sites, students benefited from the breadth of each other’s experiences and training. The program brought together students from Columbia University, Boston University, the Boston Architectural College, Plymouth State University, Roger Williams University, and the University of Vermont, a first among the well-established historic preservation training programs in the Northeast.
Reviews were uniformly positive, with some saying they wished the event had gone on even longer. All praised the depth of the learning experience and the opportunity to work directly with Historic New England staff, see our properties in a unique way, and be with other students with similar interests. The Field School will be offered to students again in the future at other properties. This first program successfully proved the value of one-on-one learning about Historic New England’s preservation philosophy and how it is put into practice every day and at every property under our care.