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Newport, RI, October 3, 2023 – The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is announcing a new session of its pilot Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program, a hands-on training and experience-building course designed to expand the skillsets of experienced tradespeople and increase knowledge of preservation tradecraft in Newport.
The course will be held from November 2023 to February 2024. Classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 to 7:30pm in Newport. The fee for the program is $250 which will cover instructor fees and materials, and graduates will receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF. More information about the program, fees, and application can be found on the NRF website at newportrestoration.org/preservation.
Building on the success of two previous cohorts held in November 2022 and April 2023, this course will further NRF’s goal of developing training programs by utilizing craft and historic sites all over Newport for participants to receive hands-on training in a range of preservation trade skills, as well as work side by side with NRF’s in-house crew of experienced tradespeople.
The Fall 2023 session is being funded with contributions from the Doris Duke Foundation, and funding for future sessions has been secured with support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and an individual donor.
The Preservation Trades Specialist Training Program is designed to address the impending loss of expertise facing the preservation trade industry. Much of the existing preservation trade knowledge is held by craftspeople who are aging out of the workforce, and many new workers do not have access to specialized training required of historic preservation. One of the main aims of the program is to train experienced general construction workers in the specific skills required to work on historic structures; 54% of Newport properties are of a historic age and need to be maintained or restored using modified techniques that consider the original materials and methods of construction.
“Newport has a high percentage of historic homes with an undersized workforce to keep those properties standing,” said Kris Turgeon, NRF’s Historic Trades Manager. “This course will allow NRF to continue training the local community with an eye toward preservation rather than replacement of buildings.”
Participants in the program will gain a working knowledge of how to identify and approach repairs on historic buildings, and learn skills such as historic preservation fundamentals, traditional plastering, historic paints and finishes, and more. Graduates will also receive a “Preservation Trades Specialist” certificate from NRF, and expand their network of local contractors, preservation professionals, and other working craftspeople in Newport.
“It has been so rewarding to see the participants learn and develop these crucial skills that are integral to the future of the preservation field, and to hear from participants how much experience they’ve gained through this program and will carry with them into the industry,” Kris Turgeon said.
The NRF PTS program is run in collaboration with several national and international preservation organizations, including Rockwood Joinery, The Campaign for the Historic Trades, International Yacht Restoration School of Technology and Trade (IYRS), and local preservation contractors like Gnazzo Masonry, Kirby Perkins, and Crocker Architectural. These partnerships are fundamental to NRF’s goal of engaging community collaborators to generate effective change in the Newport community.
About the Newport Restoration Foundation
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit organization established by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1968 to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of 18th and 19th century Newport. NRF promotes economic and community restoration through historic preservation initiatives like Keeping History Above Water, which addresses the impact of sea-level rise on the built environment in the wake of climate change, and the Historic Trades Initiative, which harnesses the knowledge of local specialists to train the next generation of preservation craftspeople. In addition to a collection of more than 70 colonial houses, now rented to tenant stewards, NRF operates properties that are open to the public —including Rough Point, the Newport home of Doris Duke, and The Vernon House, a site of expansive storytelling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
NRF is on Facebook /NPTRestoration and Instagram @NPTRestoration. Visit newportrestoration.org for more information.