National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
National Park Service
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nov. 2-3, 2007
Preservation Technology and Training Board Fall Meeting
Preservation Technology and Training Board Members Present: Dr. Judith Bense (chair), Mr. Horace Foxall, Mr. Jim Garrison, Mr. Roy Graham, Mr. Norman Koonce, Mr. Rob Pahl, and Dr. Frank Preusser, Mr. Robert Silman, Mr. Norman Weiss.
Members Absent: Ms. Suzanne Lewis, Mr. Norman Koonce, Ms. Suzanne Turner
Designated Federal Official: Mr. Jon Smith
Association for Preservation Technology: Barbara Campagna, Michael Schuller
Puerto Rico SHPO: Aida Belen Rivera Ruiz, Karen González Jensen
San Juan NHP: Aleta Knight
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Staff: Mr. Kirk Cordell, Mr. Kevin Ammons, Mr. Andy Ferrell, Mr. Jeff Guin, Dr. David Morgan, Ms. Debbie Smith, Dr. Mary Striegel.
Chair Bense called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.
Chair Bense asked for corrections to the spring 2007 minutes. Dr. Striegel asked that the minutes reflect the Tel-Net course was held at HPTC. Mr. Foxall moved the minutes be approved with the correction. Mr. Silman seconded.
Mr. Smith, as DFO, certified the meeting with a quorum present.
Partner recognition: Mr. Cordell said NCPTT accomplishes much more through its partnerships. Ms. Ruiz said she is proud that this is the first meeting to be held outside the mainland.Mr. Silman asked if Puerto Rican government protects historic sites.
Ms. Ruiz said the media attention given to these sites has enhanced the government’s support of preserving these sites.
Ms. Knight said San Juan NHP is becoming better known for its preservation of historic sites. She is looking forward to touring the board at the NHP later today. Mr. Cordell said the preservation work taking place in Puerto Rico is a fabulous example of partnerships leveraging resources.
Mr. Cordell recognized the APT representatives, Ms. Campagna and Mr. Shuller. Ms. Campagna said NCPTT is one of the organization’s strongest supporters. This is the first meeting off the mainland of North America and will be its most successful. APT and NCPTT have created a memorandum of agreement for workshop training. She recognized Mr. Weiss, who is a fellow of APT; Mr. Silman, a past keynote speaker; and Dr. Striegel, who will accept the Oliver Tully award at this year’s conference for the Limewash research paper she co-authored.
Mr. Shuller offered his thanks for NCPTT cooperation in developing the memorandum of agreement, which has helped focus membership interest in carrying out more training programs.
DFO recognition: Mr. Cordell recognized the PTT Board DFO. Mr. Smith said the budget is on continuing resolution and on a flat-line basis. The Heritage Preservation Grants Program has been effective in getting money to people affected by the 2005 hurricanes.The program is doing great work with the $53 million allotted. In Louisiana, there were some 1,900 applicants with 283 awards. Despite the extra labor, the Heritage Preservation Assistance office was only allowed to hire one new employee to handle this program.
Mr. Smith said the next board meeting in Natchitoches would be a good opportunity for the people running the preservation grants program to speak on their work.
Technical Preservation Services is on schedule to give its final guidance on overhauling tax incentives in December.
Sharon Park has resigned to take a position as chief architect with the Smithsonian.
With financial support from NCPTT, the Federal Preservation Institute will be able to expand its historic preservation portal. Board members say they are not using the preservation portal. A training session on the portal should be included in the future board meeting.
A five-part training series for federal preservation officers, headed by Connie Ramirez, will make core knowledge more consistent.
The National Heritage Areas program is growing. There are 37 now with 16 more planned. NCPTT assisted in an evaluation tool for a congressionally mandated review. In January, a system for evaluating the heritage areas consistently will roll out.
Brenda Barrett just resigned from the Heritage Area program. Mr. Graham moved to express the boards appreciation for Brenda Barrett’s hard work and expertise with the heritage area’s initiative. Mr. Foxall seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.
Heritage Education services and NCPTT heritage education are cooperating on a college-level curriculum to enhance heritage tourism.
State of NCPTT: Chair Bense recognized Mr. Cordell to present the State of NCPTT report.
Mr. Cordell said the Summer Institute has been changed into a year-round training model. The program managers will explain those in more detail later. NCPTT developed a 2008 training calendar outlining upcoming events, which it promotes at tradeshows.
Several interns interned with NCPTT this summer, including an ICOMOS intern. Preservation in Your Community, a community event held each year by NCPTT and its NPS partners in Natchitoches, allowed the interns to present the results of our research.
NCPTT currently has cooperative agreements with ICOMOS, DOCOMOMO, APT and Louisiana State University. The agreements help leverage our limited funds.
Mr. Cordell and Dr. Morgan will have articles in a publication on heritage values.
The staff had a retreat to develop the strategic plan. Staff also devoted much time to creating a proposal for the Preserve America initiative.
The president’s proposed budget for 2009 includes a small cost of living increase. Debbie Smith was hired as the new chief of Historic Landscapes.
Dr. Catherine Situma joined NCPTT as a materials research. NCPTT is now fully funded for the first time in the past five years. Dr. Morgan has been promoted effective this week.
In facility management, NCPTT’s new landscape plan at Lee H. Nelson Hall has been implemented after much effort. The Center is still working to mitigate water infiltration. The server room was cited in a recent audit as being too accessible, which is difficult since it hard to cool the room. An independent cooling system will have to be installed.
The library continues to add titles and is becoming a more useful tool. The website is growing exponentially. The marketing manager is working with program chiefs to create marketing strategies.
Heritage Education is being reinvented.
The Archeology and Collections program has generated a lot of interest, especially on the NCPTT website and in the grants program.
Architecture and Engineering is developing partnerships Mr. Ferrell has done much of the legwork for NCPTT’s cooperative agreements.
Historic Landscapes is new, but already working to develop a palm-top documentation plan.
In board business, Jonathan Spodek has been appointed to the board. NCPTT moved for the reappointment of some current board members that are scheduled to rotate off the board. The current charter doesn’t allow reappointments, but members can continue to serve until replacements are found. In January, the Center can work to change the language of the charter. One replacement still needs to be appointed to the board. Suzanne Lewis is very busy with political matters at Yellowstone and may have to resign from the board, so an additional replacement may have to be found.
Introduction of the Strategic Plan: Mr. Cordell introduced an updated strategic plan. The strategic goals and objectives are being revised. Mr. Silman offered that the board might have useful input on the strategic plan as part of its advisory role.
Mr. Cordell said among the preliminary updates include more Tel-NPS training events. Mr. Weiss asked if the Center has gotten beyond the point that people are asking, “What is NCPTT?” Mr. Cordell said more work still has to be done, but NCPTT does have a much higher profile among preservationists as a whole.
Mr. Graham said there are opportunities to work with schools and universities and distance learning technologies to develop preservation courses. Mr. Weiss suggested exploring ways to supplement existing courses with information already developed by NCPTT.
Chair Bense said preservation education programs like hers would probably pay to use such programs to fill in holes in the curriculum.
Mr. Silman said continuing education credits among affiliated professionals continues to be a huge market for training promotion. Professionals can take web-certified training courses to count toward professional development.
Dr. Striegel said the Conserving Historic Structures curriculum developed by NCPTT has been popular and effective.
Dr. Morgan said a PTT Grant winner will host a webinar to offer training to Vanishing Treasures sites.
Mr. Weiss said NCPTT should partner with APT and its regional organizations, which are potentially a ripe training ground to host seminars on the Center’s programs and grants.
Mr. Cordell announced the Friends of NCPTT group has been officially incorporated and is moving towards 501(c)3 status with IRS. There is a Friends of NCPTT fund at NSU (formerly the J.Bennett Johnston fund). There are also funds with a Baton Rouge group ($13,000). The NSU alumni foundation can assist immediately for the Wingspread Conference. To apply for grants, the Board can advise Friends group to write grants. NSU cannot help with grant writing. The officers of the group are working on bylaws. Officers include, Pat Tiller, Norman Koonce, Thomas Whitehead, Saidee Newell and Sharon Gahagen.
Mr. Silman sees an opportunity to establish a corporate-sponsored foundation that can support heritage Education (i.e. the Exxon Foundation in Louisiana).
Heritage Education: Mr. Cordell presented the NCPTT Heritage Education program activities. The program is being retooled to account for the fact that there is no additional funding for it. Using funds returned to the state from teachers that left the area due to Hurricane Katrina, the program is working with Main Streets to expand the lessons already developed.
The program’s past lesson plans are being formatted in a consistent manner to be distributed on a wider scale.
Various NPS offices have “traveling trunks” that contain replicas of objects from the Park. The trunk is made available to schools to provide a tactile learning experience without them having to travel great distances. The Center is making a traveling trunk with handheld devices already loaded with lessons developed by the program.
Heritage Education is developing a Tel-Net course of tying interpretation of historic places to educational standards.
Budget: Mr. Ammons presented information on the budget. The board report includes line items on the budget. Costs for utilities have come under control due to a more “green” approach to NCPTT’s operations.
The green activities included more attention to programming environmental control, use of fluorescent bulbs, turning off unused lights in offices and getting rid of space heaters.
Due to increased fixed costs, the PTT Grants program is the only place where money can be cut.
Mr. Pahl asked if the Center would still meet its mission if it runs out of money for PTT Grants. Mr. Cordell indicated it would not.
BREAK & FIELD TRIP
PTT Grants: The meeting resumed with Dr. Striegel updating the board on the PTT Grants program. 137 pre-proposals were turned in this year. 78 were directly related to preservation technology.
Dr. Morgan said while final proposals haven’t been submitted, the chances of having on-mission proposals is much greater.
Mr. Cordell said featuring the Call prominently in NCPTT Notes may have helped along with a postcard mailing. The staff made calls to pre-proposal applicants within 24 hours of receiving them.
Mr. Weiss asked if staff is advising quality off-mission proposals of other grant opportunities. Dr. Morgan said the staff did offer ideas for other potential granting agencies and partners.
Mr. Cordell said the Center is interested in working with the PTT Board to simplify the review process, which is much more elaborate than required by law.
Mr. Weiss said he is interested in serving a panelist for grant review.
Dr. Bense said there are natural breaks in the quality of grants. Staff can score proposals as high, medium and low, then cut off proposals below one of the natural breaks and review based on the higher scorers.
Mr. Weiss said there should still be the consideration of research and geographic needs. Mr. Smith added there is a perception that cultural resources grants programs are not responsive to tribes.
Dr. Morgan said the tribal proposals are based in resource needs and not advancing preservation research.
Mr. Cordell said the NCPTT staff would winnow the proposals down to a manageable number of quality proposals; an independent panel would then make the ultimate selections.
Mr. Ammons asked if more selection should be performed in the pre-proposal stage in order to keep many people from taking the time to fill out a full application, leading to poor relations with these constituents.
Mr. Cordell said he was pleased with the new process so far and thanked the board for the idea at the spring board meeting.
Dr. Preusser moved to support the idea of letting NCPTT staff do initial review and let an independant panel make the final selections. Mr. Weiss seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Mr. Pahl suggested that applicants should have to write in their proposals how their project fulfills NCPTT’s mission. Those present agreed that this was a good idea.
Dr. Striegel wrapped up grants discussion by mentioning the Eastern Analytical Symposium later this month, which will feature NCPTT grantees as speakers.
Materials Research Program: Dr. Striegel began her report on the Materials Research program. Sarah Jackson’s paper on traditional limewash research will be recognized with the Tully award during the APT meeting.
The program’s study on cleaners for federally issued headstones with the National Cemetery Administration has been extended at Jefferson Barracks and Santa Fe.
The program has done two highly successful Cemetery Conservation Basics workshops. The recent Cemetery Conservation Workshop in Pensacola was the best-reviewed CMC workshop so far. Ground penetrating radar was the special focus. At total of ten cemetery monuments were repaired at St. Michaels cemetery as a result of this workshop.
Mr. Weiss said the logistics for the meeting were very good, with seminar space being adjacent to the cemetery.
Dr. Striegel said her program introduced a DVD on iron fence repair and translated its cemetery conservation DVD into Spanish.
Mr. Pahl said a bill recently passed asking the Army to repair the tomb of the unknown soldiers rather than replacing it. Mr. Foxall said the Army has decided to repair the crack in the stone.
Archeology and Collections: Dr. Bense recognized Dr. Morgan to present on the Archeology and Collections programs.
Dr. Morgan started with an update on research about consolidating bone fragments. A summer intern created an annotated bibliography of research.
The second year of Prospection in Depth training occured in June. Morgan modified the format to two weeks versus three weeks last year. More professionals attended the training, which was videotaped for training and marketing purposes.
The Louisiana National Guard has transferred money for the remote site surveillance workshop. Morgan would like to identify contacts of fitting partners for this project.
Funding was provided to SEAC for a workshop on heritage values.
The center is working to strategically market the program, beginning with mailing lists and developing focus areas and groups.
The program is looking a new technologies to research the age of mounds. Personal issues with one of the researchers have currently stalled the project.
Architecture and Engineering: Dr. Bense recognized Andy Ferrell to report on Architecture and Engineering. Mr. Ferrell said he would report on trades training rather than program activities, which are already outlined in the board report.
Trades training is not an obvious fit with the NCPTT mission. However, the research NCPTT fosters is meaningless without craftsmen to implement it in practice.
There is not a national leader for standardizing preservation trades. There are many curricula for preservation training at numerous levels, including high schools, colleges and vo-techs.
NCPTT has supported several innovative projects related to preservation trades over the years. Mr. Ferrell highlighted those projects and training programs.
Mr. Graham said the World Monuments Fund created a task force two years ago on preservation trades.
Mr. Weiss suggested Belmont Tech as a potential partner, since it is the country’s model preservation trades school.
Mr. Silman said the question of whether this idea is in NCPTT’s mission is one that should be thoroughly considered.
Mr. Weiss said there are already programs in preservation trades, which NCPTT could enhance through curriculum contributions. However, becoming a leader in this type of training is not necessarily something the Center should do.
Mr. Cordell said preservation trades has become a crisis for the field, so everyone in the field should contribute in some way. The Center can help in curriculum development. The success of the limewash project taught us that technology research is sometimes necessary for understanding historic materials.
Mr. Graham said the preservation trades summit mentioned in the heritage education section of the board report is an appropriate role of NCPTT.
Mr. Foxall said the Center should act as a clearinghouse that brings all the relevant partners and training together. Dr. Morgan said this was a suggestion that came up at the staff retreat, perhaps based on the archeological contractor model.
Mr. Weiss said the San Juan park training should serve as a model within the National Park Service. The Center will start with research on all the players, which should be incorporated into a clearinghouse.
Dr. Bense opened the meeting by recognizing Paul Hartwig, associate director of NPS Cultural and Natural Resources, Partnerships and Interpretation. Mr. Hartwig stated the Southeast Region supports the Center’s important work and that he is glad to be in San Juan, where he served for five years.
Wingspread Conference: The meeting was turned over to Mr. Silman to discuss the Wingspread Conference. Mr. Silman is confident that the idea is solid, but is concerned about raising the funds for the event. He has discussed the idea with friends. One suggested Kykuit, a National Trust property funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. It has only been open to the public for five years. The conference facilities are offered for free if the conference idea is accepted.
Mr. Silman has close ties to the National Trust, which has grants writers and organizational expertise for this kind of event. An alliance with the National Trust is a possibility for making this conference a reality, though their involvement may minimize the board’s role.
Mr. Foxall and Dr. Preusser agreed that the Trust is a good political ally.
Mr. Cordell said NCPTT has had successful joint projects with the National Trust in the past. He agrees with the assertion that the alliance would make the conference a reality but is also concerned about NCPTT’s name would be dwarfed.
Dr. Preusser suggested a memorandum of understanding or like document between the board and the Trust could help set the appropriate tone for the event. This would make sure NCPTT is given proper credit while taking advantage of the Trust’s large communications staff.
Mr. Garrison said the Trust would have to be involved with this conference to some extent just to sell the conference findings.
Mr. Pahl suggested the Trust might be willing to issue a grant for this event, which would ensure NCPTT’s name is associated in any publicity they issue.
Mr. Cordell will look into FACA requirements in this area.
Dr. Preusser moved to allow Mr. Silman to negotiate with the Trust. Mr. Foxall seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Preusser also said scientific research permeates the other categories identified as points of discussion: architecture, archeology and landscapes. The conference panelists should be structured as such.
Mr. Ferrell said he would forward to the board a white paper in which the National Trust defines sustainability.
The board reviewed the budget established at the previous meeting with the new Trust alliance in mind.
Mr. Silman will discuss these ideas with Dick Moe of the National Trust about the potential agreement. The board members still would like to see the conference findings be disseminated as a charter.
The board will have two subcommittees: one for fundraising and one for inviting participants. Mr. Koonce, Dr. Preusser, Mr. Pahl and Mr. Silman will work on the fundraising. Mr. Pahl pledged funding from his architecture firm for the conference.
Mr. Foxall will lead a team including Mr. Graham, Dr. Bense and Ms. Turner regarding event invites. Mr. Silman said invitees must be approached within nine months of the conference date. Invitations will have to be out by February 2008.
The group agreed that Nov. 6-8 would be the dates for the conference. The board meeting will potentially be reduced to one day.
Mr. Silman will forward the budget to the board. Fundraising will be an immediate action item.
Historic Landscapes: Debbie Smith, NCPTT’s new historic landscapes chief, presented her work with the Center. She is working on an electronic management system for historic sites in conjunction with the Materials Research program. It will be compatible with the National Park Service Facility Management software. Its components include an inventory assessment handheld system and maintenance database.
The online historic landscape bibliography will be included on the NCPTT website.
She is in the early stages of developing a preservation workshop focusing on vegetation issuesin cemeteries. A series of videos on maintaining historic landscapes is in the concept stage as well.
Ms. Smith presented a slideshow showing the progression of the Lee H. Nelson landscape plan. The implementation had two phases and included new sidewalks.
Mr. Weiss asked is there was a correlation to the cemetery landscapes workshops that the Chicora Foundation presents. Dr. Striegel said Chicora focuses on basic landscape care, such as using lawnmowers around cemetery monuments.
Mr. Hartwig asked if there was any historic bearing on this plan. Mr. Ferrell said the Olmsted Center provided an initial plan, though there was little meaningful history related to the landscape. Mr. Cordell described the result as “historically informed.”
Mr. Garrison encouraged Ms. Smith to keep her historic landscapes focus on her cemetery work, rather than drifting into the realm of “cultural resource” site viewpoint.
Drs. Morgan and Striegel presented an analysis of the Center’s training. The spreadsheet in the board report includes costs for staff time only for the MRP program. Other programs did not include this cost.
Dr. Morgan said his program played with the costs of his training event. He is now looking to poll the professionals he is targeting to make programmatic charges.
Mr. Cordell said NCPTT programs do this to a certain extent by continually examining instructors, location and course length. On the other hand, NCPTT is a government agency that has a greater objective of meeting underserved preservation needs.
Dr. Morgan said archeologists don’t have continuing education incentives to get them to go to trainings. His approach to marketing his training will be to target archeological contracting companies, which have expressed great interest if course dates and details are established with more lead time.
Preserve America: Mr. Cordell proceeded to discuss the Preserve America Initiative, in which NCPTT has been identified as the leader of a potential clearinghouse. The idea of a preservation clearinghouse was envisioned in the original concept of NCPTT.
Center staff took two to three weeks to craft the clearinghouse concept. Mr. Smith said the Center’s proposal is among the most thought-out among those he has seen. Where the budget will come from is still under discussion.
Mr. Cordell said this directive couldn’t be accomplished without significant political will and budget commitment. These are major hurdles.
Mr. Hartwig said tying this proposal into the NPS Centennial initiative might help matters since NPS also wishes to re-establish its leadership role. The clearinghouse may be a tool to accomplish this.
Dr. Bense commended the staff for putting substantial time and thought into an initiative that is essentially a gamble. She offered the board’s help
Wrap-up Discussion: Dr. Preusser suggested that the board’s time may be put to more efficient use if their meetings shifted toward more topical matters rather than listening to reports from the programs. He said he can read those from the board report.
Mr. Smith said that issues like the Wingspread Conference need more in-depth discussion at these meetings.
Mr. Graham and Dr. Preusser liked Mr. Ferrell’s presentation, which focused on one specific issue for the board to discuss.
Mr. Cordell said the staff has no special need to present its program activities. The decision for this is up to the board.
Dr. Bense said the next meeting is an ideal starting point for this.
The board identified March 17-18 as the dates for the next meeting. Backup dates are April 14-15. Mr. Cordell will follow up with the board when he returns to Natchitoches.
The meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.