NCPTT strives to develop and distribute skills and technologies that enhance the preservation, conservation, and interpretation of prehistoric and historic resources throughout the United States. It conducts research and collaborates with partners on projects in several overlapping disciplinary areas which are organized into four program areas: Archeology & Collections, Architecture & Engineering, Historic Landscapes, and Materials Conservation.

The Center conducts in-depth research about current preservation issues at its laboratories in the historic Lee H. Nelson Hall in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Center’s research has been developed across the country through our grants program and is available at no cost to our users. Many of America’s most treasured cultural resources have benefited from NCPTT’s research, including the Statue of Liberty, Congressional Cemetery and a number of National Parks.


NCPTT: Lee Nelson HallThe National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training protects America’s historic legacy by equipping professionals in the field of preservation with progressive technology-based research and training. Since its founding in 1994, NCPTT has awarded over $8 million in grants for research that fulfills its mission of advancing the use of science and technology in the fields of archeology, architecture, landscape architecture and materials conservation. NCPTT is headquartered at Lee H. Nelson Hall in Natchitoches, La.

Video Training Series

Document existing conditionsNCPTT offers various downloadable training videos in the field of preservation, such as:

Protecting Historic Buildings and Structures from Termites

Termite BaitingAs part of its grants program, NCPTT funded the first commercial termite bait, the Sentricon Termite Colony Elimination System. The Sentricon System uses a process of monitoring and baiting for termite activity. This product has been valuable for the treatment of historic buildings and structures. Field trials were held at a number of National Park Service sites, including the Statue of Liberty. Trials were also conducted in the French Quarter of New Orleans where many historic properties were suffering from a severe infestation of Formosan subterranean termite. The system has gone on to become one of the country’s most popular kinds of termite protection.

Technologies of Archeology

Technologies of ArcheologyNCPTT created a training program on the technologies used in archaeology. The Prospection in Depth workshop has been held in Louisiana’s Cane River region and at The Presidio in San Francisco. Technologies like ground penetrating radar advance archaeological discovery without disturbing the earth. NCPTT has also funded several advancements in archaeology technology including a “powered parachute” that allows archaeologists to make discoveries from the air.

NCPTT Online Webinars

NCPTT Online WebinarsIn April 2010, NCPTT offered its first online webinar from its headquarters in Natchitoches, La. The course provided an overview of landscape maintenance issues and their impact on cemetery historic resources. The interactive course had more than 100 viewers and is available for viewing on the NCPTT website.

Using Eddy Current Technology in Conservation Science

Eddy Current AnalyzerNCPTT has developed a low-cost instrument that allows conservators to see through layers of corrosion and recover lost inscriptions. For example, NCPTT worked with students and professors at Northwestern State University to study obscured inscriptions on French iron crosses that mark the graves of early Louisiana settles. NCPTT has also worked on analyzing a number of items for the FBI solving an 8-year-old Wisconsin unsolved murder case.

Sustainable Preservation

NCPTT is partnering with federal, state and local governments, nonprofit, research and educational organizations, and others to define and develop the role of historic preservation in safeguarding historic resources in a sustainable manner.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System has become the industry standard for demonstrating the sustainability of new construction and rehabilitation projects. NCPTT has begun offering LEED Technical Review and Exam Preparation workshops to prepare participants to take the LEED Green Associate Exam.

Working with the Association for Preservation Technology, the National Center also supported the development of a workshop on tools and approaches to quantifying the sustainability of historic structures in conjunction with the Association for Preservation Technology.

Selected Podcasts on iTunes

Investing in the Future of the Past: NCPTT and Heritage Education

Heritage Education acid rainNCPTT contributes to educational activities locally, regionally and nationally by helping students learn more about real world applications of science to cultural heritage, such as creating labs where students can observe acid rain dissolving marble or where students can study pottery sherds with an optical microscope. NCPTT holds student field trips and lectures for all ages, mentors high school researchers, supports preservation trades training and donates surplus equipment to local schools.

Ground-breaking Report Shows Economic Benefit of Tax Credits Using NCPTT Model

Economic Impact Model: Tax Credit

Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Policy Research recently released a ground-breaking in-depth report analyzing the economic impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program. Economists David Listokin and Michael Lahr utilized the Preservation Economic Impact Model (PEIM), an input-output model developed in partnership with NCPTT, to study direct as well as secondary effects of Federal tax credit-aided historic rehabilitation investment. Report findings show that tax credit investment has generated $97.6 billion in GDP. Source: First Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit (PDF).