More than $165,000 will fund research to protect America’s historic legacy as part of the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training’s PTT Grants program. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recently announced the award of four project awards that address preservation issues like assessment of historic windows and information sharing via the web.

The awardees were selected and the assistance agreements will be administered by the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Center was created under the 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act.

“NCPTT exists to equip preservation professionals with the training and tools they need to protect America’s historic legacy,” Cordell said. “These grants represent some of the most forward thinking projects in preservation today.”

2008 PTT Grant awardees are as follows:

“Historic Windows Assessment Project”

National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, Washington, D.C., $50,000

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) is undertaking a Historic Windows Assessment Project that will entail a three-phased evaluation of the performance of historic wood windows.   The PTT Grant will fund Phase I of this project, which evaluates the thermal performance of historic wood windows relative to new, high performance windows.  Phase I will result in research that will facilitate the creation of a Decision Matrix and guidelines.  The Decision Matrix will help building owners decide what interventions are the most appropriate for their building and climate, from both an energy savings perspective as well as from a historic preservation perspective.

“FAIC Conservation Wiki”

Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC), Washington, D.C., $23,000

The AIC Conservation Catalogs are a compendium of working knowledge on materials and techniques used to preserve and treat works of art and historic artifacts. The series, begun in 1985 and still in active development, was intended to be updated on an ongoing basis as techniques, technologies, and modes of practice evolve; however it is currently constrained by printing and distribution costs. Converting the catalogs to a wiki (online collaborative knowledge base) will allow easy and timely collaborative editing and also provide much broader access to these resources, ensuring that innovative methods and materials are documented and widely disseminated to practicing conservators and conservation scientists.

“Sustainable Fiber Reinforced Mortar (FRM) Mixtures for the Preservation of Unreinforced Masonry Architectural Heritage”

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb., $49,771

The majority of the world’s architectural heritage encompasses unreinforced masonry structures. These structures are generally strong enough for gravity loads, but are vulnerable to unexpected magnitudes of external out-of-plane loads and environmental effects. The recent trend to rehabilitate and strengthen unreinforced masonry with fiber reinforced polymer laminates, while effective, is unacceptable in historic buildings for aesthetic reasons. Thus, there is a need for an effective and aesthetically pleasing methodology. This project proposes the use of fiber-reinforced-mortars, specifically sustainable organic fibers, for masonry rehabilitation. Deliverables will be an online and searchable database of material properties and discussions of effectiveness.

“New Technology, New Opportunities: Development of a National Chert Characterization Database”

Tulane University, New Orleans, La., $42,644

Chert is a nearly ubiquitous, durable material recovered from prehistoric archeological sites dating from the Paleolithic through European contact.  Unfortunately, this material has provided little insight in terms of prehistoric economy because of the difficulty of attributing material to source.  A development using x-ray fluorescence has made possible the creation of a database of “fingerprints” using inexpensive analysis of large quantities of chert. This new technology, a collection of materials from the source, the analysis of these source materials and artifacts from a three-state area will provide the beginnings of a national database for chert elemental analysis.

Since 1994, NCPTT has awarded more than $6 million for preservation technology research. To download past research products in the NCPTT Product Catalog and learn more about the Center by visiting About Us.