Field School showcases preservation philosophy

Oct 23, 2013

Early in October, twenty-three students from historic preservationprograms across the Northeast gathered at Historic New England’s Jewett-EastmanHouse properties to learn more about our unique approach to preserving historicstructures using the highest standards of architectural conservation. The FieldSchool 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 processemployed 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 teamuses to develop treatment plans for repairs that reflectour commitment to preventing the loss of historic fabric at our sites. Students then applied those same steps in small and largegroup field exercises at four sites: Sarah Orne Jewett House and Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine, and Jackson House and Governor JohnLangdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In addition to experiencing first-hand how Historic New England’s preservationphilosophy 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 andtraining. The program brought together students from Columbia University, BostonUniversity, the Boston Architectural College, Plymouth State University, RogerWilliams University, and the University of Vermont, a first among thewell-established historic preservation training programs in the Northeast.

Reviews were uniformly positive, with some saying theywished the event had gone on even longer. All praised the depth of thelearning 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 similarinterests. The Field School will be offered to students again in the future atother properties. This first program successfully proved the value of one-on-one learning about Historic New England’s preservationphilosophy and how it is put into practice every day and at every propertyunder our care.

Learn more about Historic New England’s approach to preservation.