Preservation Jobs + Internships

We’d all like to stroll around historic districts everyday!


How do you find a preservation job? It depends on where you live, of course. And like everything else in life, it helps to have good connections, whether to put in a good word for you or to alert you about employment opportunities. However, you should still seek out and apply for any job that suits you.

As President of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Alumni Association, I feel a certain level of responsibility to connect the current students, recent grads, and alums looking to change HP directions with good links for job searching. Here’s my updated list:

HistPres, although no longer a website, has an excellent Twitter account, with jobs and opportunities you might not see elsewhere. https://twitter.com/histpres. Also, take note of where the jobs are posted and continue to search those sites, especially if you are looking for a similar style job. Note: you do not need a Twitter account to view this page.

PreserveNet remains the stalwart of preservation job listings.

Preservation Directory is another good option, sometimes with different listings than the above.

Saving Places: The National Trust lists jobs within the organization.

The University of Mary Washington keeps its historic preservation job board current.

LinkedIn: Search for “Historic Preservation” and see what’s been posted recently.

You’re school preservation department likely has listings, and be sure to connect with your alumni group. You never know what could come your way. And if you’re looking to work in the private sector, reach out to that firm and ask if anything is available.

Good luck! If you have other favorite sites, please share in the comments.

Internship Searching?

DSCN2205

The 1848 Greek Revival Congregational Church in Charlotte, VT on a snowy January afternoon. Fun fact: The steeple is topped with a pineapple finial. 

It’s that time of year: internship and/or job searching for many students or for those looking for a change. While you probably have excellent Googling skills, I thought it might helpful to have a list of sites to check frequently for postings. Some you might know, some might be new. If you have others, please share.

Internships are the best. I’ve waxed poetic about the benefits of internships previously, so I won’t go on and on. Instead, in summary: Internships.

  • Low paying? Yes. You can do it for a short time. Get roommates.
  • Short Term? Perfect. If you don’t like, not the end of the world.
  • Experience? Tons. You’re the intern. You can soak up all the information you need. And then take another internship!

Good luck searching. If you want to talk internships or job searching or grad school, send me an email or leave a comment. Have fun!

Also, Happy Groundhog Day. Winter, what winter (in Vermont)?

NTHP Savannah 2014: A Location Review

A street near Forsyth Park: porches, brick sidewalk, mature trees.

A street near Forsyth Park: porches, brick sidewalk, mature trees.

Savannah, Georgia: a perfect setting for the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference (or “PastForward” as we call it these days). Historic homes and live oaks draped with spanish moss line the gridded streets and monumental squares of Savannah, planned in the manner of the Ogelthorpe Plan. Everywhere you look, the architecture is beautiful and photo-worthy. It’s a photogenic city in every sense of the word (and we preservationists love our photographic documentation). The Savannah Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District designated in 1966. The Historic Savannah Foundation is active in restoration, stewardship, and community involvement to achieve its mission of preserving and protecting Savannah’s heritage. Students of the Savannah College of Art & Design benefit from having Savannah as a living, learning lab. Historic preservation and heritage are common conversations in Savannah (not to imply that it is always easy). You can understand why preservationists were excited for a conference in Savannah. After attending the conference, I can say that my excitement for Savannah was well worth it. The National Trust has always put together great conferences, too.

However, I am interested in discussing the location in more detail. Anyone up for it? Let me explain. Many of the conference sessions were held at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center located on Hutchinson Island, which is across the river from the city of Savannah. It’s a short drive over the bridge or a free ferry ride across the river, which wasn’t really a big deal. The issue that I found (and discussed and overheard many times) related to the fact that the convention center felt so far removed from downtown Savannah.

Looking at Hutchinson Island, waiting for the ferry from the Savannah side.

Looking at Hutchinson Island, waiting for the ferry from the Savannah side.

Why did it feel so far removed? The only places on the island were the convention center and a Westin hotel. This meant that there were no local businesses to support on the island. Your break between sessions, if any break, could not be spent wandering the street to another session and passing by the local stores or cafes. Speaking of cafes, there was no place to buy a cup of coffee or a snack or lunch on the island, unless you wanted to spend an arm and a leg at the corporate hotel next door. If you took time to catch the ferry and head back to the city side, you would miss sessions, probably those lunch time sessions! That was not convenient.

In such a large convention center, there was definitely space to contract with a few local cafes or caterers to sell coffee, lunch, or snacks. If contracts limited that option, perhaps that was not the best location. On Thursday and Friday there were “nosh and network” breaks in the preservation studio, but it didn’t quite fit the bill. Most people eat and drink coffee on different schedules. This seemed like a major oversight.

In a city so large with so many hotels located in the downtown historic district, it would seem that session locations could be spread out and attendees could walk from one to another or easily slip outside for a coffee before catching the next session. Spending most of the day in a convention center, only staring at the historic district across the river, felt odd to a preservationist, particularly to one attending a historic preservation conference.

Perhaps there were perfectly good reasons to site the conference across the river. It should be noted that field sessions, TrustLive and other events were located on the city side of the river, but many sessions were held at the convention center. I’d be interested to know why. And I’d recommend to the National Trust that the next conference be sited more in line with preservation practices.

In summary: great conference content, great overall location, poor conference HQ choice.

What do you think?

It’s that Time Again!

Who is going to the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference next week in Savannah, GA? More information on it’s way. Hope to see you there!

pastforward

Thoughts about Home: Part Two

Continued from Part One*

Part Two: The Physical Location – How Do You Make a Place Your Home? 

When you own a house, you have the right to change whatever you’d like. This is assuming you aren’t breaking any zoning ordinances or design review standards, of course. And to quell the rumor: if you have a house listed in the National Register of Historic Places, you are only required to follow state and federal review if you are receiving state or federal permits or money. A listing does not dictate your every move with your house. Still, you should respect the historic integrity of your house and community. But, aside from that, let’s talk about making a place a home in terms of the tangible elements.

How do homeowners begin to make their mark? Paint is the first and easiest answer. Gwynn lives in Northern California and though she rents, she plans to immediately paint when she does own a house. A fresh coat of paint does wonders. Removing wall to wall carpets is an easy (albeit annoying) task that can immediately change the look of your house.

When we own a place, often the best way to go about making a place your home is by living in it for a while and getting to know it, as Jim suggests: “I prefer to buy a place I can live in for several years as is, while I get to know it and form plans for how to make it more mine. In this case, I have been slowly taking up the carpets so I can live on the hardwood floors that lurk beneath, and I remodeled the bathroom, but that’s it over the six years I’ve been here.”

Jane (Vermont) sees her house as an on-going project, too: “I am removing the vinyl siding, replacing the ‘lifetime replacement windows’….insulating as I go. Maybe some day I will get to the kitchen. We’ve done the basics: roof, plumbing, electrical, heating.”

Yet, if you rent, what can you do? Most landlords allow you to paint in reasonable colors. Nothing neon or black (probably not even pink). White is a good option to make everything look fresh and clean. Colors add life to apartments. Some landlords are kind enough to upgrade appliances or door locks. Others landlord will let you do work, as long as they do not have to pay for it.

My experience has been the latter: my landlords are happy to allow me to paint or make minor repairs on my own dime. I’ll always paint because the standard beige/off-white apartment wall color is too blasé for me. If I’m going to live in a place for a year or more, I’ll gladly invest in a few cans of paint and hours of my time (and I love to paint). My biggest endeavor to date is a drop ceiling removal (which is another story, but one that was done out of sheer necessity. My pet peeve is a drop ceiling – a filthy, mismatched, aesthetically unpleasing one at that).

And for those who cannot do any painting? Our stuff – furniture, linens, artwork makes all the difference, of course. Dave (NYC) writes, “Moving into a house or apartment is part of the process too, arranging furniture and kitchen gear makes the place our home.” Lani writes, “I live in Chiang Mai Thailand, a growing mid-sized city, in an apartment that I rent. Since I move frequently, I feel like the first thing I want to change is the wall color! I wish I could but never can. Nevertheless, I almost always manage to make where ever I live more like home.”

We all seem to be on similar wavelengths: clean up the place. Paint if we can. Lovingly arrange our belongings. And if we own our homes, then take on one project at a time. For those who are renters and crazy enough to take on projects for the goodwill of the house, I’d like to hear your stories.

Anything we missed?

——–

*Hiatus to due to holiday distractions. Thanks for your patience. 

Preservation Photos #180

Historic preservation at work: sidewalk construction in Jamaica, VT.

Historic preservation at work: sidewalk construction in Jamaica, VT.

Historic preservation is part of all sorts of projects, especially sidewalk construction (or reconstruction) in historic villages. Sidewalks encounter contributing features such as walkways, hitching posts, markers, landscaping, fences, and trees, as seen above. This photo shows sidewalk construction ongoing and tree protection barriers in place. Note the tight squeeze of the sidewalk between the trees and the historic properties.

Mobile App for Historic Resource Survey in Alexandria, VA

Preservationists are moving forward in 2013! Are you looking for a way to help or are you interested in how the preservation field can incorporate mobile devices & apps for our work. Wouldn’t it be nice to conduct survey with your smart phone or tablet and transfer that information to a database without many in between steps?

You’ve probably heard about the app FieldNotes LT, which can geo-reference your resource and combine it with photographs and notes as a .kmz file. However, the file is dependent on whatever outside platform you’re using to open it (Google Earth in my experience) and you can’t really store it in a database. It’s useful, but not flawless.

So what’s better? What is a new digital & preservation initiative? Read on for news from Alexandria, VA (information adapted from correspondence with Mary Catherine Collins, a preservation planner with the city):

The City of Alexandria’s Historic Preservation division is seeking volunteers to assist with an architectural survey of the Old and Historic Alexandria District. This survey will be the first of its kind in the country using an exciting new GIS-based mobile application designed to expedite the surveying process and facilitate data sharing between the City of Alexandria and other cultural resource organizations.

Like FieldNotes LT, it will geolocate all of our survey data and photos, but more importantly by using a geodatabase format, we will be able to easily transfer our data to VDHR and NPS’s databases. The outcome of this survey is a set of digital transfer standards as well as digital update to our National Register and Landmark listings. Additionally the app will be made available for free on ESRI’s website once the project is complete.

Alexandria is a great place to begin this since, like many of the first designated historic districts, the NR nomination is entirely inadequate at only three pages!

Surveying will begin in early March, with training taking place in late February. We anticipate 2 days of training and approximately 5-10 days of field surveying. Please contact Mary Catherine Collins at preservation@alexandriava.gov if you are interested or for more information.

This is a great opportunity for anyone in the DC area to not only be part of an exciting project, but also to network with other design professionals and preservationists in the area!

Preservationists in the area, including Mary Washington & GW preservation students, I hope you’re listening. Get out, have some HP fun and learn about the digital age in preservation. If you do participate, report back to PiP.  Thank you Mary Catherine for providing this information. Good luck!

Vermont Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference 2012

Friday June 8 was the much anticipated Vermont Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference, held in Wilmington, VT. Wilmington was one of the Vermont towns most damaged from the flooding of Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, 2011, and the theme of the conference “Resiliency” fit Wilmington perfectly. Wilmington is a beautiful Vermont village, filled with an array of historic architecture, concrete bridges, local retail, eateries and lodging among residential, civic and religious buildings.

Wilmington: Where Amazing Happens. Seen at morning registration.

Luckily, the day was graced with beautiful Vermont weather: blue skies, white clouds, warm sunshine and green mountains in the background. The morning began with registration followed by the welcome, keynote speaker and preservation awards in Memorial Hall. How wonderful it is to see so many preservation-loving people in one place and to hear inspiring stories. The keynote speaker, Stuart Comstock-Gay of the Vermont Community Foundation, gave an excellent speech, acknowledging the hard work that has defined Vermonters (particularly since Irene), but also the fact that we have to keep going and keep up our motivation and momentum. Before the afternoon sessions began, everyone broke for lunch and enjoyed the local places in town.

Preservation in Pink (Flamingos): How Historic Preservation Relates to You, was slotted in the first afternoon session, 1:30-2:30, and held in the St. Mary’s in the Mountains Episcopal Church. My attention throughout the conference was focused on this presentation and not taking photographs, which is my explanation for the lack of images. (Sorry!)

Preservation in Pink set up in the church!

Opening slide for Preservation in Pink (Flamingos)

To all who attended the PiP session, thank you! I had the best time presenting, sharing the Preservation in Pink story with you and talking about how historic preservation and our built environment relate to each other. How nice it was to meet readers and those new to Preservation in Pink. This was the debut of PiP outside of the blog and newsletter, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience. I hope the attendees enjoyed themselves as well. And thank you for laughing when I unknowingly said “preaching to the choir.” I did not plan it! Of course, thank you to the Preservation Trust of Vermont for inviting me to speak.

During the presentation. Photo sent by reader and Vermont author Beth Kanell. Thank you Beth!

The conference continued with a second round of afternoon sessions and then an afternoon barbecue held at North Star Bowl on Route 100. This locally owned business suffered greatly from the flood, but with a dedicated community behind it, recovered and rebuilt. Wilmington is full of inspiring people, from residents to business owners to second home-owners. They have come a long way since the August flooding, but still have a long way to go. If you are traveling on Route 9 or Route 100, stop in for a visit. Hope to see you next year!

Spring Home Projects

Spring maintenance or maintenance of any season is critical for the preservation and upkeep of your homes; but, let’s be honest, it’s not as fun as project planning. So, I ask, what are your short term and long term plans for your home?

In our bungalow, we have a long list of projects and plans, but some take priority over others. I know we are not alone when I say one thing needs repair immediately after something else. For starters, the original cast iron waste pipe from the second floor bathroom is leaking. Of course, it is our only bathroom and the leak is somewhere that we cannot see. Until we get to that project (sooner rather than later) we have a makeshift catch basin below the pipe in the basement to prevent the leaking water from damaging our brand new post-flood furnace. It’s a good Yankee fix for now. Anyone have suggestions for cast iron replacement and/or repair? This also speeds up our bathroom renovations. Who has experience with reglazing a cast iron clawfoot tub?

We need to rebuild the back porch steps, as the previous steps were washed down the river by Tropical Storm Irene. We have high hopes of removing our asphalt driveway and replacing it with concrete. Our projects could go on and on: electric upgrade, the kitchen ceiling, window sash repair, and more. But, it’s a labor of love when you live in a historic house. Taking care of the house is like taking care of part of the family (even though plumbing is not our first choice of tasks. I’d rather paint!).

If you have advice or stories to share, please do. It’s good project weather. Open your windows and bond with your house!

Spring Home Maintenance: 10 Tasks

Maintenance is Preservation. Preservation is Maintenance. 

Often the old & historic building stock falls into disrepair because of neglect over the years. Minor problems become major expenses, which homeowners cannot afford. It is an unfortunate situation, because many of these problems could have been prevented with routine maintenance. Yearly maintenance is preventative maintenance and will prolong the health of your building and save you money in the long run. The tasks listed below may be obvious to you, but a reminder is sometimes helpful to all.

(1) Clear brush and leaves away from the foundation.

(2) Make the sure the grading of the ground abutting the building feeds water away from the foundation.

(3) Clean out the gutters.

(4) General cleaning or washing of a building is a good idea to, from windows to siding to porches (just don’t power wash anything!)

(5) Check the window casing/frames for cracks, deterioration — e.g. cracked or peeling paint, water stains. Stick a pocket knife or similar object into the wood to test for quality. If it goes in easily, more than you would expect, the wood will need to be repaired or replaced soon. A fresh coat of paint can protect your window sills and window frames.

(6) Open your windows to get good air flow throughout the building. Fresh air can do wonders for a building.

(7) Check the roof flashing, shingles (be safe or hire someone qualified!). Make sure it is there are no leaks or dirt accumulation.

(8) Have your chimney inspected if you haven’t already. For example, our chimney was unlined when bought our house, so we had to have a liner installed (otherwise it can be a fire hazard).

(9) Check for water damage inside and outside. Be sure to check in the attic and basement spaces. The best time to look for leaks is when it’s raining.

(10) Check your smoke alarms and all of your building systems. Check your attic insulation. Get in all of those places that you avoid in colder weather. Investigate your walls for cracks – and the foundation. Crawl under the porch. Basically, get to know your building.

This list is what I would do for my house, so there are likely other tasks to add for your own building. What else do you recommend?  Good weather is coming this weekend (finally!), so it is a good time to take care of some home maintenance tasks. Have fun! Remember, maintenance = preservation = building love.