The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) has announced its first ever Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program, through which local contractors can participate in a 12-week program to earn a certificate in preservation from the NRF. With help from the Campaign for Historic Trades, a partnership between Preservation Maryland and the National Park Service, the NRF developed a 60 hour curriculum designed to train individuals in historical preservation. The program was created in response to the shortage of trades people trained in restoration and preservation of historic buildings. The first iteration of this program will begin in November of 2022 and a subsequent course is planned for the Spring of 2023.
“This premiere training program is a culmination of research and planning with our local and national partners over the last 18 months. We are excited to offer this unique learning opportunity for our local community,” said Kris Turgeon, NRF’s Historic Trades Manager, in a press release.
In 2021 the NRF established the Historic Trades Initiative which offers summer carpentry internships, upskill training programs, and job shadowing opportunities with the intention of encouraging trades people to pursue historic preservation. The Initiative recently sponsored two internship programs for students from International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, Rhode Island, and the North Bennet Street School in Boston as well as a youth summer camp dedicated in collaboration with nonprofit FabNewport. The camp, which is designed to educate local students about preservation and historic sites, will be held at Prescott Farm and Rough Point Museum, two historic sites in Rhode Island. Local contractors can nominate workers for the Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program through the Historic Trades Initiative.
During the Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program, students will learn restoration techniques and how to work with brick and stone masonry. The project is supported by Kirby Perkins Construction, Crocker Architectural, Heritage Restoration, Joseph Gnazzo Company, Inc, as well as the International Yacht Restoration School, which will provide the program with classroom space.
Over 50 percent of the buildings in Newport are considered historic and the town is home to the largest number of colonial homes in the country. Founded in 1968 by tobacco heiress Doris Duke, the NRF currently owns 78 historic buildings in the storied coastal New England city including Rough Point mansion, Duke’s former residence. Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was raised at Hammersmith Farm, a Victorian mansion in Newport, and was the NRF’s original vice president. In addition to Rough Point, which contains Duke’s European art and furniture collection, the NRF also manages three museum Newport museum sites including Whitehorn House Museum, featuring 18th and 19th century Newport furniture, and Prescott Farm, a historic site in nearby Middletown.
The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program received funds from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the 1772 Foundation, and the Historic Preservation Education Foundation. “NRF is extremely grateful to our funders, who have made this next phase of the Historic Trades Initiative possible,” added Alyssa Lozupone, Director of Preservation at NRF. “As NRF continues to advocate for the development of the historic trades workforce, we look forward to the skills these participants will learn during the 12-week program.”
Organizations and individuals interested in the program can apply on the NRF’s website.