What it’s about
Ten-week internships will be available pending availability of funding.  Positions will begin no later than June 1, 2009.  Interns will be short-term employees of Northwestern State University.  Compensation will be based on academic background and work experience. Half time internships may also be available.

Opportunities may include curriculum development, teaching opportunities, hands-on research, geophysical prospection, materials and product testing, or cemetery conservation.

Who We Are

NCPTT is an interdisciplinary research facility serving the historic preservation community nationwide.
NCPTT is an office of the National Park Service located on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

What you need
Applications are invited from qualified candidates for a limited number of undergraduate and graduate internships at the NCPTT.

Applicants should demonstrate skills and knowledge in preservation technology.  This may include but not be limited to:

  • documentation
  • condition assessments
  • laboratory or field research
  • materials testing
  • hands-on preservation treatments.

All undergraduate applicants must be accepted to or currently enrolled at a four-year accredited university or college program.  All graduate applicants must be accepted to or currently enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral degree program in a related discpline.

To apply, send a letter of interest that includes the dates that the candidate would be available for work at NCPTT (between June 1, 2009 and August 15, 2009), resume with three references, and a current unofficial transcript, to Mary F. Striegel, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, 645 University Parkway, Natchitoches, Louisiana, 71457.

Applications will be accepted through February 16, 2009.

Positions will be announced  March 2, 2009.

The National Park Service and Northwestern State University are Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers.  Women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

NCPTT’s Historic Landscapes Program encourages research and partnerships to improve the technologies available to practitioners as they undertake the complex tasks of documenting, preserving, and interpreting historic landscapes significant to a wide variety of people and cultures.

Projects

Electronic Landscape Maintenance Plan

The Historic Landscapes Program is in the process of developing a  web-based tool for planning and management of historic landscapes. Prototype development during FY-08 included initial database development on a portable touch screen computer.  The database software will support disconnected data collection in the field with automatic synchronization when an internet connection is available.

Bibliolography of Online Historic Landscape Resources

The historic landscapes program has assembled links to 45 historic landscape resources (books, articles, government publications, etc.) that will be accessible through NCPTT’s website.  All of the resources have been added to the social bookmarking tool Delicious.  Once tagged, they will be easily searchable.  The bibliography will benefit historic landscape professionals and students.  While NCPTT staff will continually add to the bibliography, others in the historic landscapes field will be able to contribute resources as well.


Training and Outreach

Replacing Trees in Historic Landscapes Video

Planning is in place for a video that will demonstrate best practices for planting trees in a historic landscape.  Two techniques will be highlighted: replanting an in-kind tree within the stump of a removed tree and planting a tree in an archeologically sensitive area.  The video will be filmed De. 9-11, 2008, at the Magnolia Plantation slave quarters and will be made incooperation with the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

Cemetery Landscape Preservation Workshop

NCPTT conducted cemetery landscape preservation workshop Sept. 16-17, 2008 at American Cemetery in Natchitoches, La.  Eighteen participants, including cemetery managers, maintenance personnel, educators and volunteers participated in the two-day workshop. Instruction focused on the preservation and care of historic cemetery vegetation.  Topics included condition assessment of trees, proper pruning techniques, invasive plant removal, vegetation versus built features, and stump removal.

MAHR Program Presentation

Debbie Smith spoke to students in the Northwestern State University Masters of Heritage Resources program about historic cemetery vegetation. The presentation focused on the historic use of vegetation, determining a cemetery’s historic character, and the identification of invasive vegetation.

Historic Landscape Summer Intern

The Historic Landscapes Program hosted an intern during summer 2008.  Michelle Rapp came to NCPTT from the Oklahoma State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.  In addition to working on the Electronic Landscape Maintenance Plan, Rapp created a plan for a park in the Natchitoches Historic District.


Consultation

Chalmette National Cemetery

Debbie Smith consulted with Paul Vitale, NPS maintenance foreman at Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, a unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.  The primary issue discussed was turf maintenance.  Vitale would like to see research that answers the question: What is more destructive to the stones, mechanical damage from weed-wackers or chemical damage from herbicides?

Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery

Debbie Smith consulted with officials at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery regarding a planting plan for the hatchery’s new Caddo Memorial Plaza.  Dedicated on March 7, 2008, the memorial plaza commemorates a Caddo Indian village which originally stood at the site of the fish hatchery.

Lee Nelson Hall Landscape

NCPTT has contracted horticulturalist John Harris to maintain the Lee Nelson Hall Landscape.  Harris routinely weeds, prunes, trims, mulches, and protects the plants from insects and diseases.

NCPTT’s Materials Research Program focuses on understanding how cultural materials deteriorate with time and on developing new methods to preserve these materials.


Research

Summit of Preservation Scientists

NCPTT partnered with the Library of Congress and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to host a two-day summit focusing on future directions in preservation science. The meeting was held July 24-25, 2008 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The summit  helped to share priorities, identify common goals and facilitate development of preservation research strategies to cooperatively advance the science resources needed to preserve cultural heritage in the digital age.  International participants included those from the British Library; Canadian Conservation Institute; Center for Sustainable Heritage; University College, London; Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (formerly the Centre de Recherche pour la Conservation des Documents Graphiques), France; the Koninklijke Bibliothek, Netherlands; and the National and University Library, Slovenia.  Non-government national research centers included the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles; the Image Permanence Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology; and the Center for the Materials of the Artist and Conservator, Carnegie Mellon University.  Other participants represented universities, museums and science centers.  A follow-up meeting is planned.

Historic Congressional Cemetery

NCPTT and the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) partnered with the Veterans Administration’s National Cemetery Administration to complete cleaning treatment studies on the Alexander MaCombe Monument and the U.S. Arsenal Monument in Historic Congressional Cemetery.  Based on more than 12 months of research, NCPTT recommended pretreatment of the monuments using Prosoco’s HCT, followed by 48 hours of intermittent water misting.  In the course of misting, a biocide is added.  Jason Church provided HPTC staff with treatment recommendations and training while implementing the treatment on the MaCombe monument in September.  A larger scale of the system will be built and used on the Arsenal monument.  This novel treatment is environmentally friendly and requires fewer resources than other treatments.

Portable Tempest Laser

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art returned a portable laser system funded by NCPTT. The system is being reconditioned and will be used in graffiti removal studies and training at NCPTT’s joint laser facility on the Northwestern State University of Louisiana campus.  The laser was originally purchased with federal funds as part of a cooperative agreement.  NCPTT has been asked to sponsor a laser training workshop in partnership with the American Institute for Conservation for FY 2009.

New FTIR Microscope

A new Perkin Elmer Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) spectrometric microscope was installed in the NCPTT research labs in November, 2007.   The instrument will allow researchers to map chemicals on the surface of cultural materials.  This can be used to track chemical changes of organic treatments to small metal or stone surfaces over time.  The instrument will be used immediately in conjunction with the evaluation of stone consolidation and cleaning treatment recommendations for the Arsenal and Macombe monuments in Historic Congressional Cemetery.  NCPTT staff, including Jason Church, Catherine Situma, and Mary Striegel, have received applications training on the newly installed microscope.

Comparative Cleaning Study

Results to date regarding the evaluation of commercially available cleaners for federal headstones were  accepted for presentation at the fall annual meeting of the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI).  Jason Church provided comparative results of cleaners including Cathedral Stone’s D2, World Environmental Group’s Marble and Granite cleaner, Kodak PhotoFlo, Daybreak, H2Orange Grout safe cleaner, and water.  Based on these results, D2 and Daybreak are the top performers based on the ability to clean biological growth from marble surfaces.  However, both cleaners are capable of leaving soluble salts.  Further studies are on-going.  This research will be presented as a case study in an upcoming Biology and Cultural Heritage Workshop in 2009.

NCA Interagency Agreement

The Department of Veteran Affairs, National Cemetery Administration, has entered into a new interagency agreement with NCPTT to continue the evaluation of commercially available cleaners for use on federally-issued headstones.  The agreement provides NCPTT with $34,335 in funds to apply to this research over a two-year period.  The follow-up study will continue to monitor biological regrowth at two national cemeteries.

Training

NCPTT hosted one Cemetery Monument Conservation Workshop and three “Basics” workshops this fiscal year as part of its ongoing commitment to quality training in cemetery conservation.  In addition, NCPTT televised two training broadcasts to National Park Service stations through the NPS TEL program.

Cemetery Monument Conservation Training, Pensacola, Fla. 2008

NCPTT held its Southeast Cemetery Monument Conservation Workshop at St. Michaels Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla., on Oct. 23-25, 2007.  The workshop focused on geophysical techniques to identify unmarked graves.  Special lecturers included Bryan S. Haley and Jay K. Johnson.  Twenty-five participants from 12 states, Guam and the United Kingdom attended the three-day hands-on workshop geared to cemetery maintenance and management staff, monument builders and preservation professionals.

Cemetery Monument Conservation Basics, 2008

Cemetery Monument Basics workshops are geared to cemetery conservation enthusiasts and  focus on topics of survey and documentation, condition assessments and basics of cleaning. NCPTT partners with state organizations or historic preservation offices  to coordinate and fund these half-day workshops.  The workshops are run on a cost-recovery basis and all travel costs are provided by the state organization.  Three workshops were held within the 2008 fiscal year:

  • On September 29, 2007, NCPTT and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program held a Cemetery Preservation Basics Workshop in Hot Springs, Ark., at Hollywood and Friendship Cemeteries.  A special topic of this workshop was African American Cemeteries.
  • On May 17, 2008 NCPTT and the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency hosted a Cemetery Monument Conservation Basics Workshop in Morris, Ill. A special topic of this workshop was grave surrounds, including fencing, coping, cribbing, and walls.
  • On June 12-14, 2008 in Savannah Ga., NCPTT and the Georgia State Municipal Cemeteries Association hosted a Cemetery Monument Conservation Basics workshop as part of the first annual meeting of the cemetery assocation.

TEL Courses

Two NPS TEL courses were offered by NCPTT in January.  Instructors Mary Striegel and Jason Church team-taught the course, “Essentials in Cemetery Monument Care.”  This two-hour course focused on proper cleaning and resetting issues and was designed for maintenance staff and personnel responsible for the care of historic cemeteries; cultural resource specialists who oversee the care of grave markers and commemorative monuments; and archeologists assigned the responsibility for care and maintenance of grave sites or cemeteries.  The course had a minimum of 26 NPS employees participating.  A new TEL course offering, “Basics in Iron Fencing Care,” was taught by Jason Church.  This one-hour course emphasized sound maintenance techniques for iron fencing and exterior iron elements. The course addressed documentation, cleaning, simple repairs and surface treatments.

Grant Symposium

NCPTT and the New York Conservation Foundation hosted “Progress in Preservation through NCPTT Grants,” a two-part presentation on the PTT Grants program at the Eastern Analytical Symposium held Nov. 12, 2007 in Somerset, New Jersey. Twelve past PTT Grant recipients presented the results of their work at the sessions.  The projects presented included topics of materials conservation, architecture, archeology, and landscapes. Mary Striegel co-chaired the sessions and presented on the NCPTT PTT Grants program.

Internships

NCPTT interns Stace Miller and Bilal Khurshid were acknowledged for their research efforts and professional presentations at NSU’s Annual College of Science and Technology banquet.  Miller and Khurshid received awards for their American Chemical Society (ACS) presentations.  In addition, Miller was the beneficiary of a research grant awarded to NCPTT by NSU’s research council, which will fund her attendance at the AIC annual meeting and presentation of her paper entitled “A comparative cleaning study for fragile marble monuments after pretreatment with Hydroxylating Conversion Treatment (HCT).”  NCPTT intern Anna Johnson a junior at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, placed first in the regional science competition for her work using portable X-ray Fluorescence to study the effects of labeling methods on elemental analysis of archeological pottery.

The Materials Research Program hosted two interns during the summer of 2008: Molly McGath and Catherine Arceneaux.  McGath is pursuing a Heritage Conservation Science PhD from the University of Arizona. Her main tasks were to continue comparative study of pollution deposition to cleaned marble and develop online learning modules for uses of thin-layer chromatography for binding media analysis. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design majoring in historic preservation.  Arceneaux’s initiated a project on graffiti removal from masonry.

The NPS Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program awarded a position to NCPTT during the summer of 2008.  Candida D’Avanzo continued work on the project, “Oral Traditions: Recording Fading Aspects of Traditional African American Burial Practices.”  In addition to research, D’Avanzo attended the annual career workshop hosted by the NPS and the Student Conservation Association.

Outreach

NCPTT consultated with Arlington National Cemetery regarding maintenance and repair of the Tomb of the Unknowns.  Jason Church and Mary Striegel prepared a written report offering guidance regarding specifications for cyclic maintenance to the Tomb, including monitoring of major cracks, replacement of previous repairs, cleaning and treatment.

Jason Church and Sean Clifford assisted the WASO Historic Preservation Grants Program in documenting the effects of hurricane recovery grants in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In addition to taking photographs of the homes restored with grants funds, the team interviewed many of the owners about their experiences restoring the homes. Sean Clifford is working further with the grants program to develop a web site featuring the house projects.

NCPTT offered technical assistance to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport, La. in November 2007.  The museum expressed concern about the condition of several archeological copper objects associated with the Gahagan burials which were excavated in the 1930s.  The objects included a pair of long-nosed god masks, a copper hand effigy and copper/wood ear ornaments.  NCPTT staff, including Mary Striegel, David Morgan, and Jason Church, evaluated the chemical makeup of the objects using a portable X-ray Fluorescence Analyzer.  They offered recommendations about display conditions and referrals to conservators who may assist the museum.

The Joint Readiness Training Center and Ft. Polk hosted their first Heritage Day Celebration on November 3 at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.  Over 400 family members and descendents of those who owned the land before the military acquired it in 1941 attended the event.  Jason Church was on hand to speak about caring for the more than a dozen family cemeteries that still remain on the military base.

Meetings

Mary Striegel represented the National Park Service at the American Institute for Conservation Fall Board Meeting and Internal Advisory Group Meeting held November, 2007.  Striegel is responsible for coordinating officers from ten specialty groups within the organization.  Additionally, she participated in a strategic planning meeting for AIC.

The University of Cincinnati, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, invited Mary Striegel to speak on the topic of air pollution and cultural resources to an audience of more than 30 graduate students held Nov. 30, 2007.  Striegel presented a 55 minute presentation that focused on three of NCPTT’s recent research projects. One outcome of this presentation was a visit on March 27 to NCPTT by Dr. Mingming Lu and Dr. Tim Keener to explore possible future partnerships.

Jason Church was part of a session on cemetery preservation planning and maintenance as part of Saving Places 2008, Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s annual historic preservation conference, held Feb. 6-8.  More than 40 participants learned about surveying and documentation, project planning, and conservation of wooden gravemarkers.

In light of the growing variety of media, Mary Striegel was invited to present a 45 minute presentation to the 2008 Louisiana Library Assocation Annual meeting on March, 2008, in Shreveport, La.   The presentation, entitled “Protecting and Preserving Louisiana’s historic Legacy: The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training – An Overview,” focused on advances in book, paper, photograph, electronic media, and moving image preservation resulting from NCPTT’s grants and projects.

NCPTT was represented at the Northwestern State University 21st Annual Research Day on March 20 by five staff members or associates.  Presentations included the following:

  • “The Effects of Labeling Methods on the Elemental Analysis of Artifacts” by Anna Johnson
  • “Identifying Stone Commonly Found in Cemeteries” by Caleb Johnson
  • “A comparative cleaning study for fragile marble monuments after pretreatment with Hydroxylating Conversion Treatment (HCT)” by Stace Miller
  • “Comparative Study of Commercially Available Cleaners for Use on Federally Issued Headstones” by Jason Church
  • “Effectiveness of Consolidants to withstand Air Pollution” by Catherine Situma.

Jason Church and Stace Miller presented results of NCPTT research at the annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation in Denver Colorado, April 21-24, 2008.  Church presented recent evidence that hard water irrigation systems in western states were resulting in severe granite deterioration.  Miller discussed the development of treatment and cleaning methods for large marble monuments in historic Congressional Cemetery.

Mary Striegel participated in the 2008 MayDay event hosted by NCPTT and organized by Sarah Jackson.  The event focused on disaster preparedness, response and recovery and targeted local and regional museums, collections, and historic homes.  Striegel presented an overview of disaster preparedness strategies from online planning to disaster teams.  She demonstrated the the NCPTT funded http://www.dplan.org/, an online planning tool created by the Northeast Document Conservation Center.


The information technology component of NCPTT is primarily responsible for information management of grants and projects, the NCPTT website, in-office computer systems, and product distribution.

PTTGrants

NCPTT’s in-house PTT grants system has completed the application and selection cycle for 2008 as well as the application cycle for 2009.  Ongoing improvement of the PTT Grant application form has consolidated the application into a single page. Applicants reiterated requests for the ability to submit attachments. NCPTT will add this feature for the next grant cycle. Similarly, the NCPTT intranet site has been revised to address requests of program chiefs. Additional modifications are under development to continue migration from paper systems to a fully electronic system.

NCPTT Website

The NCPTT website serves as a primary vehicle for establishing NCPTT as an authority on preservation technology research and training. The website promotes training, in-house research and PTTGrants products.

NCPTT’s efforts with search engine optimization (SEO) have paid off as the Center has climbed into first page Google search rankings for keyterms like limewash, cemetery training, archeology training,  and preservation degree, for example.

Throughout FY2008, additional content including videos and publications have been added to the site.  NCPTT will migrate its website to the popular WordPress content management system.  This application will decrease turnaround time, dramatically increasing the amount of quality information NCPTT is able to post to the web. Additionally, the site will be more search-engine friendly and allow NCPTT content to be syndicated on other sites. This migration will be completed by the beginning of the 2009 calendar year.

Website Statistics

NCPTT web statistics are based on server log files analyzed by a third party utility called WebLog Expert.

*FY 2005 – June 7, 2005-Sept. 30, 2005. NCPTT changed servers and launched the first re-design on June 7, 2005. Log files from the old servers were not available for analysis.

**Unique visitors are based on unique IP addresses in that specific year. Unique visitors for the entire period are therefore not equal to the sum of these numbers.

A visitor is a client who views the website within a single session. For example, one person viewing the site once per week for five weeks would count as five visitors.

A unique visitor is a single client regardless of how many times that client visits the website. This metric is based on IP Addresses. Each computer on the internet has either a temporary or permanent address assigned to it in order to send and receive information.

A page view is a single request for a web page sent by a visitor’s computer. A single page view can result in multiple hits (e.g. multiple images and other elements on a web page).


2005-2008 Website Statistics by Month

Month Visitors Page Views Event


Activity by Month – Visitors to the website by month. Activity rose sharply at the beginning of FY2006, peaking between April and September of 2006.

Since June of 2005, NCPTT has served nearly 25 million pages to over 280,000 unique visitors. After the June 2005 design was launched, traffic grew as search engines indexed the NCPTT website and steadily increased with the addition of updates to the Hurricane Preservation Technical Assistance section and traffic from NPS. A redesign, as well as additions to the product catalog, heavy traffic from Google and other search engines, training marketing, mailings of the print version of the product catalog, and traffic from referring sites combined to result in a dramatic surge in visitors during the summer of 2006 with additional spikes in 2007 during periods of traditional direct-mail marketing for training and the January 2007 TELNPS course.

Page views and overall visitors have decreased while the number of unique visitors has risen, indicating that repeat visitors may not be easily locating the information they are searching for although new content is regularly added to the web site. To address this, we are in the process of migrating our web site and product catalog to WordPress, the gold standard for web-publishing. This system provides multiple paths to easily access content. These “paths” include everything from RSS (really simple syndication) feeds, to tag clouds for quickly locating the most extensive content, to the automatic listing of related pages.

The open-source WordPress platform provides a foundation for the development of web-based applications built on the plug-in model which will provide the added benefit of releasing internally developed modules back to the open source community. NCPTT-developed modules will allow users without technical expertise to plug applications into their WordPress-enabled web sites.

FY 2008 Most Popular Sections by Page Views (excludes home page and search)

  1. Product Catalog: 297,326
  2. Training: 238,423
  3. News: 200,559
  4. PTTBoard Reports: 190,104
  5. NCPTT Notes: 113,685
  6. Cemetery: 74,852
  7. Archeology & Collections: 71,747
  8. Grants: 65,397
  9. Heritage Education: 59,758
  10. Contact Us: 51,395

2008 Most Popular Print Products Downloaded

  1. Historic American Timber Joinery – A graphic guide (2004-08): 8,598
  2. Timber Framing: No. 71, March 2004 (2004-11): 4,938
  3. Timber Framing: No. 67, March 2003 (2004-09): 4,781
  4. Timber Framing: No. 73, September 2004 (2004-13): 4,461
  5. Nondestructive Method for Hardness Evaluation of Mortars (1999-02): 4,461
  6. Timber Framing: No. 69, September 2003 (2004-10): 3,590
  7. Manual on Conservation Methodology for Historic Buildings and Structures (1997-07): 2,720
  8. Load Paths in Historic Truss Bridges (2004-25): 2,636
  9. Study on the Durability of Traditional and Modified Limewash Recipes: 2,427
  10. Digital Image Analysis of Petrographic Thin Sections in Conservation Research (2004-01): 2,253

2008 Most Popular Video Products Downloaded

  1. Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker (2007-01): 5,113
  2. Iron Fence Repair (2007-03): 4,638
  3. Building Dry Stone Retaining Walls (2002-06) : 4,282
  4. Walls of Stone: How to Build Drystone Walls and Rock Fences (1996-01): 2,617
  5. Glass and Stained Glass Conservation (1998-28): 1,736
  6. Culture Shock: Fire Protection for Historic and Cultural Property (1995-01): 1,166
  7. Secret of Lake Meade (2004-17): 790
  8. Application of Advanced Computer Simulation and Visualization to Enhance Cultural Resources Documentation (1997-06): 700
  9. USS Arizona: Preserving a War Memorial (2004-23): 743
  10. Dry Tortugas: Searching for the Windjammer Avanti (2004-22): 658

Software Development Projects

In conjunction with the Louisiana Army National Guard (LAARNG) and NCPTT’s Archeology and Collections Program, Information Technology has converted a paper-based site vulnerability assessment form into a web based format and integrated it with the LAARNG archaeological site database. The purpose of this project is to simplify the identification of the most vulnerable archeological sites and allocate resources to monitor these sites more closely. This project is largely complete.  Changes will be implemented based on feedback and additional GIS queries from the LAARNG.

The Historic Landscapes program and IT continue to collaborate on the development of a tool for landscape management for use by landscape architects and groundskeeping staff via GPS-enabled portable computers.

During 2008, NCPTT has worked with the Historic Preservation Grants program to photograph hurricane recovery grant projects, collect audio interviews, and develop a web site to document the recovery work performed by homeowners and the Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi SHPOs. This project is expected to be complete in early 2009.

In-office Computer Systems

NCPTT’s IT department faces many of the same challenges as larger IT departments.  Of particular emphasis has been security, data storage and disaster recovery.  The IT staff strives to stay ahead of the curve in these areas but recent major events nationally and on the state level have caused the Center’s IT staff to address these issues at greater length.  The IT staff is confident that its continued diligence in these areas will continue to safeguard the NCPTT’s electronic data.

The Center’s IT staff has implemented new stringent log-on procedures for all workstations in the office and has updated security patches for all NCPTT servers.  Last spring, staff installed and configured Extensis Portfolio 8.5.2 in order to increase data management of NCPTT’s growing knowledge base.  Portfolio is a powerful digital asset management tool that allows users to visually organize, sort, and preview NCPTT’s complete library of images and other digital assets.

This fall the IT staff has been upgrading the network and server hardware at the Center.  Four new servers will be phased in to increase storage space and replace some aging servers.  Of note will be the replacement of the DHCP server and both DNS servers.

A new, more powerful web server will be brought online as well.  The replaced web server will be sent to the WASO IT office with an exact replica of the website that is on the new web server.  This replica server will enable the Center to quickly get its website online if a catastrophic event takes NCPTT’s website offline.  The WASO IT office has plans to store one of their servers in Center IT spaces for similar reasons.

Disaster recovery is a key component of the Center’s IT disaster preparedness plan.  Currently a weekly backup of the primary office electronic data is stored off-site.  One of the new hardware upgrades is the purchase of a large scale tape backup machine.  This will enable a more comprehensive daily and weekly backup of all electronic data in the office.  Due to storage restrictions, some non-critical data is backed up on a monthly basis.  The new backup machine will enhance the timeliness of all data as well as increase the speed in which to recover data on short notice.

Of equal concern to IT staffers is security.  Currently, NCPTT has a firewall layer between itself and the internet.  One of the new hardware purchases was an additional firewall that will give the Center a second layer of security between itself and the outside world.  NCPTT has been relatively free of intrusions but malicious attacks from the outside are always a concern.

The final hardware upgrade is a new Cisco switch that will replace an aging switch that has been in place since the Center opened at its current location in 2001.  This switch will increase reliability and network speed.

Product Distribution

One of the major functions of the NCPTT web site is to provide a central location to search for preservation products. In the past year, approximately 329 product orders were mailed to the public by NCPTT IT staff. The majority of these orders were submitted via the online product catalog, averaging seven products per order.

Additionally, the contacts on NCPTT’s mailing list were added to Contact Management Pro. This new mailing list management system aids in the editing of mailing recipients and helps to ensure deliverance of all outgoing mail including NCPTT marketing materials and other products.

The Top 5 Ordered Products (physical copies)

  • Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker (2007-01)
  • Resetting a Stone Grave Marker (2007-02)
  • Basics for Iron Fence Care (2007-03)
  • Protective Glazing Study (1996-06)
  • Preservation Resource Guide for Public Works Manager (1998-01)

NCPTT VHS products were phased out this year with master copies being converted to DVD videos.  The VHS copies will be archived.  All future requests for video will be mailed DVD videos unless VHS is specifically requested.

NCPTT Library

NCPTT has completely cataloged all the center’s library books into the Procite database. Forty-three new books were added to the library this year.

TELNPS/GovTrip Webex Training

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Network allows thousands of National Park Service and other federal employees to receive competency-based training at or near their work site at little or no cost to them. The network has over 230 receiving stations across the Service spanning five time zones. The highly interactive training allows students immediate access to their instructor. This interactivity is the key component to the success of broad and varied training opportunities.

From Oct. 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2008, 19 classes were taken at NCPTT with 79 participants.  Some of those participating were staff from the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission.  January 2008 was a particularly busy month of training at the Center due to the GovTrip Webex training that was being conducted by the Park Service.  Thirty participants from the Center and local parks took part in GovTrip Webex training over several days to be ready for the new DOI travel system.

The installation of the TELNPS station at NCPTT has provided Center employees and NPS employees from the surrounding area with the opportunity to gain high quality training specific to their jobs at a convenient location.  The Center is excited to be a part of the NPS’s continued growth of interactive distance learning activities.

NCPTT’s Architecture & Engineering program encourages research and partnerships with organizations and institutions working to advance preservation technology for buildings and other structures.

Research

US/ICOMOS Cooperative Agreement: Internship and Preservation Technology Research

The U.S. division of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) and NCPTT are developing an annual awards program that will serve as an incentive for graduate students to adopt thesis topics related to major needs in the field of preservation technology.  NCPTT and US/ICOMOS have had initial discussions regarding the awards program, which will be implemented under the National Center’s new Cooperative Agreement with US/ICOMOS.

US/DOCOMOMO Cooperative Agreement

NCPTT has drafted a cooperative agreement with the United States committee of the International Working Party for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement (DOCOMOMO International). The cooperative agreement will provide a framework for cooperation in the development of research and training related to the preservation needs of modern era resources.

APT Cooperative Agreement: Preservation Technology Research Cooperative Agreement

NCPTT worked with APT on an agreement to offer a Nondestructive Evaluation Workshop, which took place in Charleston, S.C., on May 16-17. The workshop provided guidance in the evaluation and rehabilitation of historic structures. The two-day workshop was attended by engineers, architects and technically oriented professionals from other disciplines. The program was divided between classroom time and hands-on field sessions. Additional partners for the Charleston event included the APT Southeast Regional Chapter and Drayton Hall. A second offering is currently being planned that will take place in another region in 2009.

LSU Cooperative Agreement: Innovative Documentation Strategies

NCPTT is continuing to work with the Louisiana State University School of Architecture to develop and test a methodology to use geospatial digital video documentation technology to efficiently survey historic buildings and landscapes pre- and post- disaster. This technology will enable planners and others to better assess risks to historic resources, plan effective mitigation strategies and improve disaster response. Andy Ferrell, Barrett Kennedy of LSU and Deidre McCarthy of the NPS Heritage Documentation Program presented current progress at the National Trust Preservation Conference in St. Paul, Minn., in October.

Natchitoches Architectural Survey/Graduate Assistantship

NCPTT intern Belinda Diehl worked on the Center’s Natchitoches Architectural Survey. Diehl used ArcGIS software and Trimble GPS units to collect data.  Diehl also revised the Natchitoches Architectural Survey Guide, which provides an overview of the survey and directions for surveying.

Comparative Study of Commercially available Paint Removers for use on Historic Brick

NCPTT’s Sarah Jackson began a literature review of articles and books available on paint removers for use on historic brick.  A&E’s summer intern Edward Fitzgerald continued the literature review and worked with NCPTT on developing a testing matrix.  After coring all the samples for use in the study he began the baseline testing for the study.

Training

Preserving Coastal Forts: A NPS Workshop

Working with other NPS partners, NCPTT planned “Preserving Coastal Forts: A NPS Workshop” on April 8-10, 2008, in Mount Pleasant, S.C. The workshop provided a forum for learning and sharing information about the preservation problems and solutions common to masonry coastal fortifications. Partners included the Historic Preservation Training Center, the Southeast Regional Office and Fort Sumter National Monument. Kirk Cordell and Andy Ferrell from NCPTT participated.

International Preservation Trades Workshop and Traditional Buildings Exhibition and Conference

Sarah Jackson presented the results of the Center’s limewash research and offered hands-on demonstrations on traditional limewash at the International Preservation Trades Workshop in Frederick, Md., and at the Traditional Buildings Exhibition and Conference in New Orleans, La. This was based on the Center’s research that was completed in 2006.

Colorado Preservation Inc.’s 2008 Saving Places Conference

Andy Ferrell chaired a session titled “Sustainable Preservation” that focused on historic preservation and environmental conservation. Topics included historic building performance and energy conservation, efforts to integrate preservation values into the LEED rating system, and a case study of a rehabilitation project using the Sustainable Preservation Assessment developed by SLATERPAULL ARCHITECTS. Ferrell was joined by Barbara Campagna of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Gerhard Petri and Melanie Short of SLATERPAULL ARCHITECTS, Denver, Colo.

Trades Training

Kirk Cordell and Andy Ferrell met with Dr. Elwanda Murphy, superintendent of the Natchitoches Parish School Board, and members of the parish school board to discuss possible collaboration to develop a trades training program for area high schools. Building on the Brooklyn High School of the Arts model, the partners would develop a curriculum tailored to the needs of Natchitoches students and take advantage of the cultural resources available in and around the city of Natchitoches, La.

Christine Faith, NCPTT Heritage Education coordinator, and Andy Ferrell participated in a Preservation Trades High School Curriculum Summit to discuss, develop and implement a framework for facilitating traditional trades training in high schools.  This meeting was funded by NCPTT through a cooperative agreement.  Participants discussed the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of programs but focused on the models in place at the Brooklyn School of the Arts (BHSA) and the Randolph Career Technical Education Center in Detroit.  The BHSA program was developed by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) with funding from NCPTT.  The Randolph program features an “under the radar” approach to integrating traditional skills training into existing courses. As a result of the meeting, representatives from NJIT and the Randolph School are discussing working together to test the teacher preparation program developed by NJIT that was supported through an existing cooperative agreement between NCPTT and NJIT.

Environmental Adaptations in Louisiana Buildings Workshop

NCPTT has worked with Eddie Cazayoux of EnvironMental Design, Gene Cizek and Mark Thomas of Tulane University, and Barrett Kennedy of Louisiana State University to develop a workshop on environmental adaptations of traditional buildings. The workshop will include an introduction to southern Louisiana and Gulf Coast climate; survey of vernacular architecture from Native American to French colonial to present; basic principles of sustainable design (materials, orientation, heat transfer, etc.); and techniques and examples of sustainable restoration/renovation work.  The workshop will be held in Lafayette, La., on Nov. 20-21, 2008.

Limewash Workshop and Video

Based on NCPTT’s in-house study on the durability of traditional and modified limewash, Sarah Jackson completed an instructional video on the Preparation and Application of Limewash.  The video was filmed in New Orleans, La., during the 2008 Traditional Building/Historic Preservation Field School in partnership with the University of Florida. The workshop presented the Center’s research on traditional and modified limewashes and provided hands on training in preparing and applying this finish. The video is available online at http://www.ncptt.nps.gov/Limewash/Default.aspx.

Outreach

Limewash

Sarah Jackson has responded to numerous inquires from homeowners in New Orleans with questions about applying limewash to their historic structures.  Her contact information has been passed on by grant administrators for the Road Home Program she met while manning the booth in the exhibition hall at Traditional Building and Exhibition in New Orleans.

Front Street Bricks

NCPTT was contacted by contractors for Progressive Construction for suggestions on cleaning the bricks removed from Front Street in Natchitoches, LA.  The bricks were removed to enable work beneath the street and are being laid down as the final step of the project.  NCPTT passed on information for several companies that manufacture cleaners for use on historic bricks, contact information for conservators that specialize in cleaning historic bricks, and TPS Preservation Briefs that address this subject.

Melrose Plantation

Andy Ferrell and Sarah Jackson met with Eddie Cazayoux of EnvironMental Design and Patrick Sparks of Sparks Engineering, Inc.  They discussed the continuing deterioration of the Yucca and Africa Houses towards developing an intervention to stabilize and preserve these structures. NCPTT has been involved in this discussion since NCPTT’s Engineering for Older and Historic Buildings training held during 2004-2006. They also passed on electronic copies of historical photos of Africa House.

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Sustainable Preservation Research Retreat

Andy Ferrell participated in a retreat that sought to develop a joint research and advocacy strategy for integrating preservation into the green building movement. The organizations involved were American Institute of Architects, Association for Preservation Technology International, National Park Service, General Services Administration, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.

Louisiana Flood Protection and Ecosystem Restoration Professional Development Program

Andy Ferrell participated in the final day of the three-day program exploring flood protection policy, flood protection administration and various aspects of the design, construction and maintenance of flood protection systems.  More than 60 levee board officials, emergency management administrators, floodplain managers, engineers, biologists, geologists and representatives of state and federal agencies participated in the pilot program. Ferrell met with collaborators Dr. Barrett Kennedy of the LSU School of Architecture and the event’s organizer Dr. John C. Pine, director of the LSU Disaster Science & Management Program, to discuss how to enhance the training by developing a cultural resource component or tailoring the current workshop for cultural resource managers.

The 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, Title IV (16 U.S.C. 470x-4) provide that, “The Secretary, in consultation with the Board, shall provide preservation technology and training grants to eligible applicants with a demonstrated institutional capability and commitment to the purposes of the Center, in order to ensure an effective and efficient system of research, information distribution and skills training in all the related historic preservation fields.”

This report details the Preservation Technology and Training Grants (PTT Grants) program activities in FY-2008. The PTT Grants program supports innovative preservaton technology projects in archeology, historic architecture, historic landscapes, and materials conservation.

2008 PTT Grants Call for Proposals

In FY 2008, NCPTT implemented a pre-proposal application process.  Applicants were required to submit a brief one- to two-page abstract online that described their research or training idea.  The pre-proposal offered applicants an opportunity to get feedback early in the grants process, while allowing NCPTT staff to quickly identify proposals that fit with NCPTT’s mission.

The call for pre-proposals was posted on the website by September 15, 2007.  A total of 137 were received by Oct. 15.  Program chiefs reviewed and responded to each of the pre-proposals within five days of receipt.  Chiefs provided specific comments to help strengthen accepted pre-proposals and to provide future guidance for rejected pre-proposals.  Staff invited applicants to submit full proposals if the pre-proposal was complete, addressed a national meed, fit the Center’s mission, and seemed cost-effective.  A total of 63 completed grant applications were received and reviewed by NCPTT staff.  Fifteen proposals were forwarded to a national panel for review.  Overall, the pre-proposal phase of the grant process seemingly led to better quality proposals.

NCPTT convened a national review panel on March 11 by conference call.  Prior to the conference call, panelists reviewed proposals and submitted comments and scores to NCPTT. Next, panelists were provided a ranked list based on their reviews prior to the call. Based on discussions, six applications were recommended by the panel for funding and ranked by priority.  Budget constraints permitted NCPTT to recommend only five for funding, although it was clear that many of the projects had the potential to significantly contribute to the development of new preservation technologies.

PTT Grant 2008 Recommendations

In 2008 NCPTT funded five grants totaling $215,415:

  1. Historic Windows Assessment Project, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, Washington, DC,  $50,000
  2. New Technology, New Opportunities: Development of a National Chert Characterization Database, Tulane University, New Orleans, La., $42,644
  3. Sustainable Fiber Reinforced Mortar (FRM) Mixtures for the Preservation of Unreinforced Masonry Architectural Heritage, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb., $49,771
  4. Rapid Quantification of Ceramic Paste Recipes using Digital Camera Capture and Image Analysis, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Ok., $50,000
  5. FAIC Conservation Catalog Wiki, Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC), Washington, DC, $23,000

Total Funding: $215,415

2009 PTT Grants Call for Proposals

In planning for the 2009 grant cycle, NCPTT studied the need to make a greater impact with a shrinking grant pool. Subsequently, NCPTT implemented a one-to-one match requirement and limited awards to $25,000. The grant review process was also streamlined further by eliminating one tier of review. Proposals submitted for consideration will now undergo a staff peer review followed by a national panel review. Also, pre-proposals were accepted again this year as a way to provide feedback to applications but the process was made optional.

Recent Grant Product Highlights:

PTT Grant MT-2210-07-NC-04, Conservation of Wooden Artifacts in Cemeteries: A Reference Manual, Principal Investigator, Ron Anthony, City Of Aspen Colorado. The project is about saving wooden artifacts in cemeteries by providing caretakers with information on conditions and conservation treatment options. The manual compiles the limited information on wooden cemetery artifacts into one publication.

PTT Grant MT-2210-07-NC-05, Diagnosing and Controlling Hygric Swelling of Stone, Principal Investigator, George Scherer, Princeton University.  Some sedimentary stones contain clays that swell upon wetting, and this can lead to damaging stresses. The most commonly observed damage mechanism in the field with clay bearing sandstones is that of buckling, where the surface delaminates from the bulk of the stone. In this study, researchers compare experimental results to theory in the prediction of buckling and find that buckling occurs above a critical flaw aspect ratio. Because of the large size of the aspect ratio, they also explore a potential flaw growth mechanism based on subcritical deflections created by varying wetting patterns.

PTT Grant MT-2210-07-NC-07, Microbial Detoxification of Mercury Contaminated Museum Collections: Effect of Material Composition on Mercury Removal, Principal Investigator, Timberly Roane, University of Colorado Denver.  NCPTT received an interim report from Dr. Roane on research to optimize use of micro-organisms for the removal of mercury from ethnographic collections.  The work is progressing well and test bacteria are capable of removing up to 80% of the contaminants from human hair and horse hair.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-09, Vernacular Wooden Church Steeples in the Eastern United States: Form and Restoration, Principal Investigator, Will Beemer, Timber Framers Guild.  At historic churches the steeples are the portions of the building most likely to suffer structural damage through high winds and water infiltration. Until this project, however, there were no written sources available on the structure, technology, and repair of American wooden church steeples.  This project produced a series of five articles documenting steeples, interpreting steeple form and structure, and clarifying misconceptions about and offering guidance on their repair and restoration.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-02, Mechanical Anchor Strength in Stone Masonry, by Principal Investigator, Kelly Streeter, the Association for Preservation Technology International.  This research project studied the failure strength and the modes of failure of different types of mechanical anchor systems in stone masonry. A secondary objective was to discover whether various non-destructive methods for evaluation of physical properties applied to the stone specimens helps to predict the tension and shear strength of the mechanical anchors.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-04, High Definition Documentation in Archaeology, Principal Investigators: John Loomis, of the Kacyra Family Foundation, and Glenn Hill, of Texas Tech University.  Loomis and Hill used a 3D laser scanner and high dynamic range digital camera, along with conventional surveying and GPS, to illustrate how these technologies can be employed to cut down dramatically on the time required to document the built, structural component of archaeological sites.  They used Fire Temple at Mesa Verde as a test site.  In 2007 at MEVE they conducted a two-week training workshop, a two-day overview session on high definition documentation, and four four-day training workshops.  To disseminate their information even more widely they designed a webinar that reached 90 people.  Major deliverables include a formal report, the stipulated on-site training, high definition documentation of part of MEVE, and DVD copies of the webinar for posting with all three collaborators.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-04, Architectural Records Conference: Preserving the Architectural Record, Final Report, Principal Investigator: Ingrid Bogel, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts.  The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) presented a national conference, Architectural Records Symposium:  Managing and Preserving Design Records, at the Chicago History Museum on July 16 and 17, 2007.  The sessions were tailored to meet the training needs of collections care professionals on both theoretical and practical levels.  Participants learned about the significance of architectural records;  the array of materials and methods used to create them, from the earliest processes to those in use today;  collecting policies;  appraisal;  intellectual control;  preventive and remedial preservation measures;  innovations in conservation treatment;  methods of access;  reformatting;  and management of electronic files.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-05, Development of a Rapid Indicator of Biodeterioration of Historic Stone Final Report, Principal Investigators: Ralph Mitchell and Christopher J. McNamara, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  Biodeterioration plays an important role in the degradation of stone in historic buildings, monuments, and archeological sites. Microbial deterioration occurs through the action of organic and inorganic acids produced by biofilms. Detection of microbial deterioration of culturally important stone objects is difficult. The use of microbiological indicators of environmental conditions is common (e.g., E. coli is a key indicator of fecal contamination of water). The objective of this research project was to compare the microbial community on deteriorated and undeteriorated stone. The microbial community of both deteriorated and undeteriorated locations was dominated by Cyanobacteria. In undeteriorated locations the dominant organism was Anabaena cylindrica. In deteriorated locations, the dominant organism was Chroococcidiopsis sp. Differences between the communities suggest that microbial indicators could provide a simple and rapid means for early detection of stone biodeterioration.

NCPTT’s Public Relations and Marketing program establishes the Center’s relevance to its stakeholders by using a full range of media to project a consistent, unified brand throughout its programs and research initiatives.

During Fiscal Year 2008, NCPTT advanced its web communication efforts through the use of social media. The term social media refers to the new generation of online tools   that engender free communication and thought among people of similar interests regardless of their location. Because NCPTT’s budget has remained flat since its inception, traditional print and advertising media have been too expensive and exclusive in reaching its targeted audiences.  Social media have the potential to reach these audiences with free services that attract large audiences. Program highlights include:

  • Producing the web’s first netcast incorporating Web 2.0 principles with the production values of the six o’clock news.
  • Creating an interoffice Friendfeed account, allowing open discussion of preservation news and topics of relevance to the Center and its programs.
  • Creating a NCPTT wiki that provides encyclopedic information on the Center’s history.
  • Starting a NCPTT “preservation technology” podcast
  • Implementing marketing efforts for NCPTT workshops
  • Meeting with departments over the summer about methods for adoption social media
  • Creating interim WordPress newsroom online to disseminate the Center’s press releases


Preservation Today: the web’s first netcast incorporating Web 2.0 principles with the production values of the six o’clock news

Despite the meteoric rise of social media communication, the heritage preservation community has been slow to adopt these technologies. NCPTT is partnering with Northwestern State University to produce a news program called “Preservation Today,” with the mission to inspire connections to heritage values using new media. Accompanying the broadcast will be a “shownotes” website and blog incorporating frequently updated news from online sources. The program will look and feel like a television news broadcast but will be based on the way people people now like to get their information, relevant to their intellect and interests rather than generalized and peppered with shock value. In short, it’s a show about ideas. But it also integrates social media tools to help viewers understand how to communicate heritage values in the new Web 2.0 world. This convergence of media is being attempted by newspapers and television news programs across the country to little avail. The reasons for their failure lie at the heart of what differentiates the two approaches. Traditional media is limited to a geographic location and thus must appeal to the broadest audience possible in that region to remain viable. Information is filtered through gatekeepers who “broadcast” the concepts they deem most important to a passive public. Social media at its most effective is rooted in bringing together people of like interests and values to better one another and the societies in which they live, regardless of their location in the world.

Friendfeed: sophisticated information sharing for NCPTT

As the social web evolves, blogs are becoming dated as a method to share information. At the same time, people are finding their online activities hard to manage. Lifestreaming applications enable a web user to incorporate all of their online activities on one page. Services like Friendfeed are replacing blogs, wikis, and discussion boards as more people become aware of them. NCPTT now has a Friendfeed “room” incorporated into its intranet. Using a bookmarklet in a browser toolbar, the staff and other room members can share web pages and provide commentary on the content. Other people can subscribe to the feed, then jump in, add their responses and share related links too. Since it’s effortless to post/comment, the Center has an opportunity to build a community quickly around this content.

NCPTT wiki: Encyclopedic Reference on the Center’s history

Early in its history, NCPTT encountered a significant amount of staff turnover. This created difficulties in maintaining an institutional memory regarding the Center’s formation, research and operating procedures. The NCPTT wiki developed over the summer to become a repository for the Center’s historical record. Contents include programmatic overviews and a complete list of grants funded since NCPTT’s inception, along with related links from other areas of the web. The wiki is functional, though still in draft form.

NCPTT “preservation technology” podcast

NCPTT has a lot of stories to tell beyond strict discussion of its research. The “Preservation Technology Podcast” is the Center’s medium to communicate both the personal and professional aspects of its research and people. The first podcast featured Jason Church of the Materials Research Program talking about how he came to love cemeteries as a fourth-grade student and how that led to a passion for preserving grave markers today. Future podcasts will feature Kirk Cordell, NCPTT’s executive director, as well as PTT Grants researchers and PTT Board members. The Preservation Technology podcast is available on iTunes.

NCPTT Social Media Toolbox

NCPTT uses numerous tactics when communicating on the social web. Here are the tools on which the Center currently focuses:

Facebook is quickly becoming the web’s top social networking site. The Center now has a page that updates the Facebook community on its activities.

One of NCPTT’s major challenges has been in the management of images. In the past, images were spread about the organization’s server space, often never to be seen again. This has changed with the Center’s subscription to Flickr, an online photo sharing service. Photos can be tagged with keywords and organized into “sets” for easy recall. While the service helps us find our own images, others find them as well. Images from NCPTT’s photo stream have been used in several regional and national magazines over the past year.

Likewise, NCPTT has been using the ever-popular YouTube to distribute its preservation videos to a larger audience. The Center’s YouTube channel includes training videos, promotional video for workshops, and even an “overview” video describing how the organization functions.

On Twitter, NCPTT provides brief “headlines” of its activities to its growing number of followers. Twitter is a “microblogging” service that allows messages to be broadcast, so long as they consist of fewer than 140 characters.

Several titles on social media have been added to the NCPTT library.

Implementing marketing efforts for NCPTT workshops

With so much time invested in social media efforts, one would think that NCPTT’s training programs would suffer from inattention. However, the FY 2008 workshops were the most successful in the Center’s history. Part of their success stems from improved location strategy or tapping unmet needs. But part of this success also owes to more skillful marketing online using social media tools. Using the social networking tool Ning, departments were able to gather potential participants into a social network that allowed open discussion about topics related to the workshops. This allowed staff to essentially create “focus groups” for their events and tailor training to the needs of the participants. It also served to create a buzz around the training workshops. As a result, most of NCPTT’s training programs enjoyed capacity or near-capacity participation.

Meeting with NCPTT programs over the summer about methods for adoption social media

While social media is noted for its openness, organizations and individuals must take care to craft their image online. After all, content that goes on the web may be “out there” somewhere as long as the human race endures. The marketing manager met with programs over the summer to inform personnel about the basics of blogging, net etiquette and media sharing. These meetings were also opportunities of identify premium content from each department that should go online first as the Center introduces its redesigned “WordPress” website. A baseline survey was also taken to measure NCPTT employees comfort level with the web and social media tools. Once the NCPTT WordPress site is functional (along with its integrated analytics tools), employees will be able to engage with blogging more fully. Additional social media tools will be implemented into the site and an additional “stakeholder” survey disseminated among NCPTT’s publics. In the next year, NCPTT will host professional development for its staff with social media experts.

Creating interim WordPress newsroom online to disseminate the Center’s press releases

One of the marketing manager’s goals for the redesign of the Center’s new website is to incorporate a social media newsroom function that reflects the model created by SHIFT Communications. The social media newsroom serves as a place for press releases and related media, presented in a format that the press can easily use. In preparation for the NCPTT WordPress site, the marketing manager has experimented with incorporating elements of the SHIFT model using a free WordPress.com site. The content of this site will be easily imported into the Center’s new WordPress site.

NCPTT’s Archeology & Collections program seeks to enhance the preservation of archeological sites, landscapes, materials, and collections through research, grants, and partnerships.

Fiscal Year 2008 was a successful one for the A&C program.  In the first half of the year, budget constraints demanded a more focused approach to the range of initiatives presented in prior board meetings.  Several projects or events in planning phases were deferred.  Major initiatives continued that were underway, many of which came to fruition.   Program highlights include:

  • broadcasting NCPTT’s first webinar
  • awarding 2 new archaeology grants and concluding 4 extant grants
  • co-sponsoring a productive international workshop
  • disseminating online a component of “Prospection in Depth 2007”
  • conducting “Prospection in Depth 2008” with the Presidio Trust
  • revising a key PTTGrants research priority
  • conducting the “Remote Site Surveillance” workshop

RESEARCH

In-house research is integral to NCPTT’s mission.  Major ongoing endeavors in FY08 included:

Bone Consolidation Techniques

Ms. Megan Smith, a graduate student in archaeological conservation at Texas A&M University, joined NCPTT from May to August to work on this project.  Her efforts produced a thorough literature review of extant practices for treating and consolidating archaeological bone.  She also outlined a research plan for comparing the efficacy of these techniques, and plans to devote her doctoral dissertation to the project.  Smith will return in Summer 2009 to continue research.

XRF of Colonoware

The A&C and MRP programs have  drafted a Cooperative Agreement with St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (Dutch Antilles) and the College of William and Mary to investigate the utility of portable XRF for ceramic sourcing.  St. Eustatius has agreed to provide access to an ideal control sample of low-fired earthenwares, as well as comparative material and samples from island clay sources.  William and Mary provided the background case study on sourcing and Caribbean economics of the 18th century, via a master’s thesis project.  NCPTT provided the XRF equipment and analytical expertise.  An initial feasibility sample of 45 sherds has been identified.

Revised Research Priority

A Research Priority Committee of the PTT Board met in December 2007 to assess and revise several key research priorities.  The archaeologically-focused priority implemented in 2006 has been revised.  Originally the priority stated that NCPTT focused its grants program by courting proposals to “develop innovative techniques in dating, monitoring, analysis, and remote sensing of archeological sites and artifacts.”  This has been revised to state: “investigate minimally invasive techniques to inventory and assess cultural resources.”

Colorimeter Development

Mr. Curtis Desselles, a graduate student in heritage resource management at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, joined NCPTT from May to August where he worked on multiple projects in concert with the MRP program.  Desselless created a prototype colorimeter for under $50 that is capable of distinguishing hundreds of thousands of colors, making it an economical alternative to commercial models ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Eddy Current Analyzer

Also in 2008, Desselles devised an instrument for under $50 that is capable of generating eddy currents used for the analysis of sub-corrosion metal surfaces.  He currently is working with MRP to prepare a workshop on the topic for APT.

TRAINING

Disseminating information is an important component of NCPTT’s work. In FY08, the Archeology and Collections program presented the following training:

High Definition Documentation in Archaeology Webinar

NCPTT assisted the Kacyra Family Foundation’s CyArk Network and Texas Tech University with the dissemination of a six-hour webinar split over two days.  The webinar, a first for NCPTT, focused on high definition documentation methods, focusing principally on 3D laser scanning, high dynamic range panoramic photography, and photogrammetry.  Mesa Verde was the test case.  Some 90 people from around the globe watched the webinar.

Louisiana Archaeology Week Activity Venue

NCPTT hosted one of the statewide activities celebrating Louisiana’s Archaeology Week.  Visitors toured the facility and listened to a lecture on NCPTT’s innovative approach to teaching GIS, GPS, and geophysics.

Prospection in Depth

NCPTT completed an online geophysics tutorial from the 2007 class, which is now online.  In 2008 the course shifted venues for the first time, moving to San Francisco where it was hosted from September 9-16.  NCPTT partnered with the Presidio Trust to deliver its most successful training event to date in terms of both paying participants (n=17) and quantities of positive reviews.  As in prior years, the course focused on traditional non-invasive geophysical technologies (GPR, gradiometry, conductivity, and resistivity).  Field portable X-ray fluorescence was a new addition, and the course format also changed substantially.  This year excavations were conducted in advance of the class courtesy of the Presidio Trust.

Remote Site Surveillance

Building off a workshop it hosted in 1998, in September, 2008, NCPTT convened 34 law enforcement agents and other stakeholders representing seven federal agencies, plus a tribal confederacy, the private sector, and academia.  Over two days participants offered 19 presentations on archaeological surveillance best practices, field realities, and new technologies.  The participants agreed to create an Archaeological Site Surveillance Working Group for the purpose of mutual support and information sharing.  The United South and Eastern Tribes is currently considering a formal resolution in support of the group and its efforts.

Technology for Archaeological Interpretation

Due to budget constraints the planned 1-week workshop is being redesigned in a cutting edge medium: podcasts.  NCPTT is hosting a series of podcasts on technologies of interpretation.  Each podcast features a single technology and will be narrated by internationally recognized experts on that interpretive technique.  Speakers who have agreed to participate at present include John Loomis (CyArk), who will speak on high definition documentation; Graeme Earl (Univ. of Southampton), who will discuss 3-D modeling; and Ruth Tringham (Univ. of California-Berkeley), who will present Second Life and multimedia approaches to interpretation.

Heritage Values: The Past in Contemporary Society

NCPTT provided critical funding for Hamline University and NPS’ Southeast Archaeological Center to develop an international preservation policy workshop which took place from November 15-17, 2007 at Cumberland Island National Seashore.  Resulting conference sessions were held in March 2008 (SAA, Canada) and June 2008 (WAC, Ireland).  Additionally, the SAA has agreed to formally recognize a new Heritage Values interest group based off of the workshop.  Work continues to develop a website for the interest group through NCPTT, and to publish the proceedings of the workshop.

OUTREACH

Program visibility continues to improve, as evidenced by the surge in significant archaeological grant proposals witnessed in 2008.   Outreach is one of the key ways in which visibility is achieved, and the A&C program engaged in a variety of outreach activities ranging from fielding public inquiries to conference participation to professional service.  Some of the new outreach highlights include:

  • the appointment of the A&C program chief, Dr. David W. Morgan, to the Register of Professional Archaeologist’s Continuing Education Committee
  • the designation of Morgan as having Expert Member status with the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management
  • hosting the Heritage Values website for the SAA’s interest group
  • the creation of NCPTT’s first focus group for marketing research
  • the creation of an extensive database of professional archaeologists for targeted marketing
  • extensive social media participation, including image posting, creation of three social media websites, blogging, and an interview segment on the video “Preservation Today”
  • 8 public presentations; 2 professional presentations; publication of 1 book chapter

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) is planning a workshop on design and construction of historic structures along the Gulf Coast.  Vermilionville will be the site for the workshop on Nov. 20, 2008 in Lafayette, Louisiana.  On Nov. 21 the group will be visiting structures around Lafayette that are representative of the principles learned during the first day.

Held in partnership with the AIA South Louisiana, Bayou Vermillionville District, EnvironMental Design, Louisiana State University School of Architecture, Tulane School of Architecture the workshop will be a combination of lecture, group discussion, and site visits. Cost for the workshop is $125 and those interested may apply online by visiting the NCPTT website or by calling 318-356-7444.

The workshop will cover a number of specialized topics that are critical to historic preservation and design along the gulf coast such as:

  • evolution of buildings within the Gulf Coast environment
  • introduction to Gulf Coast climate
  • introduction to sustainable design principles
  • environmental architecture from pre-history to the present
  • applying lessons learned to improve sustainability of historic buildings

People from many walks of life may benefit from this workshop, including:

  • architects
  • engineers
  • state and local government employees
  • architecture students
  • preservation studies students

Several regional sustainability experts are developing the workshop. The instructors are:

  • Edward J. Cazayoux, Principal of  EnvironMental Design
  • Eugene D. Cizek, Director of the Preservation Studies Program, Tulane University
  • Barrett Kennedy, Professor of Architecture at Louisiana State University
  • Mark W. Thomas III, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture, Tulane University

Looking at Environmental Adaptations in Design along the Gulf Coast

The workshop is the first of a series developed focusing on the impact of natural disasters on buildings along the gulf coast, design adaptations of historic structures in response to the coastal environment, and ways to incorporate these ideas in sustainable design.

Historically buildings were designed to adapt to the environment they were located.  Before the advent of modern day heating, venting and cooling systems buildings were designed and materials were chosen specifically for the hot, humid climate along the Gulf Coast.  These adaptations and materials can now be incorporated in new construction or returned to use in historic structures for increased sustainability.

RELATED LINKS:

Flickr stream on examples of Gulf Coast structural adaptation

NCPTT Architecture and Engineering Program webpage

About NCPTT

NCPTT uses technology to serve the future of America’s heritage through applied research and professional training. Since its founding in 1994, NCPTT has awarded over $6 million in grants for research that fulfills its mission of finding solutions to the challenges faced in preserving our nation’s cultural heritage through the innovative application of advances in science and technology. The Center is located in Lee H. Nelson Hall on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  For more information about NCPTT, visit the Center’s website: http://www.ncptt.nps.gov.

NCPTT recently partnered with Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) to create an online media outlet that inspires connections to heritage values.

“Preservation Today,” includes a newscast that integrates a wide variety of social media distribution platforms like Blip.tv, YouTube and iTunes.

According to Jeff Guin, who is NCPTT’s marketing manager and also an instructor in NSU’s Journalism Department, this project takes a “best of both worlds” approach to newsgathering and delivery.

“The web is bringing people together based on ideas and common values, and that’s our vision for Preservation Today,” Guin said. “Unlike your six o’clock news, it’s not highly localized and it’s not designed to attract an audience through shock value. But, by maintaining the same high production values, we hope to help viewers understand how to communicate heritage values in the Web 2.0 world.”

The Preservation Today netcast includes news briefs about heritage preservation activities from around the world. It also features interviews with preservationists, bloggers and social media experts.

An accompanying “shownotes” website allows viewers to interact around the news being reported. Among the features of the website are preservation blogs and news. Recently, David Connolly, an archaeologist from Scotland, video blogged on the site about his archaeological survey in Jaresh, Jordan.

The shownotes site also features a “2.0 tips” section that offers practical help on using social media to advance the conversation about heritage preservation.

“Social media is about bottom-up grassroots collaboration that achieves a higher purpose, which makes it ideally suited to heritage causes,” Kirk Cordell, executive director of NCPTT, said. “One of the most powerful goals this partnership can achieve is to help organizations understand how social media tools work, and how those tools can be easily harnessed to advance their preservation objectives.”

NSU is providing its studio set as well as production assistance as part of the partnership. According to Paula Furr, head of the Department of Journalism at NSU, the effort also represents a rare opportunity for NSU journalism students.

“I don’t think anyone can quantify exactly how much social media is changing journalism but we know the change is fundamental,” Furr said. “This partnership will challenge our students to analyze the broader impact of the stories they report. Today, their audience is the world.”

As with all social media efforts, Preservation Today depends on feedback from its audience to remain sustainable.  Guin says heritage organizations can help simply by contributing video and news reports from their projects. Viewers can also help by tagging their online media with “preservationtoday”, which will allow it to be easily found and used for the netcast and shownotes site.

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Media Contact

Jeffery K. Guin,
Marketing Manager


Phone:
318-356-7444
Fax:
318-356-9119
E-mail: jeffery_guin@contractor.nps.gov

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