The Whitehill Report on Professional and Public Education for Historic Preservation was submitted 15 April 1968 to the Trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation by the Committee on Professional and Public Education for Historic Preservation, Walter Muir Whitehill, Chairman.
In January 1967 the Chairman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation appointed a Committee on Professional and Public Education for Historic Preservation and Restoration consisting of:
Walter Muir Whitehill, Director and Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, Chairman
Francis L. Berkeley, Jr., Assistant to the President, University of Virginia, Vice Chairman
John Otis Brew, Director, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Leonard Carmichael, Vice President for Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society (former President of Tufts University and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution)
John Peterson Elder, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
Ronald F. Lee, Special Assistant to the Director, National Park Service
Ralph G. Schwarz, Director of Operations, Ford Foundation
Charles van Ravenswaay, Director, Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum
Of the, committee, half (Messrs. Whitehill, Carmichael, Lee, and van Ravenswaay) were Trustees of the National Trust
Aided by a grant from the Ford Foundation, the committee spent some five months upon its investigation. William G. Wing of Englewood, New Jersey, an experienced journalist (formerly on the New York Herald Tribune) who has long been concerned with the conservation of natural areas, was engaged to do the necessary staff work for the committee.
The committee met at the Boston Athenaeum on 3-4 February, at Winterthur on 26-27 February, at Williamsburg (by invitation of Carlisle H. Humelsine, president of Colonial Williamsburg) on 5-7 May, and in New York City on 9 June. Messrs. Berkeley, Brew and Elder were appointed as a Sub-Committee on Architectural Curricula, and Messrs. van Ravenswaay and Lee as a Sub-Committee on the Conservation of the Traditional Building Crafts. Both sub-committees met on various occasions in New York, Charlottesville, and elsewhere. Mr. Wing traveled throughout the United States, visiting architectural schools and preservation organizations to gather information required by the committee and report opinions obtained during his visits. The committee is indebted to Mr. Wing for his willingness to undertake this assignment on the shortest of notice, and for the efficient manner in which he carried out much of the fact-finding involved in the committee's work. The Chairman, Hon. Gordon Gray, and former Executive Director, Robert R. Garvey, of the National Trust were unfailingly helpful to the committee. By invitation, they attended its four formal meetings, and throughout the period of its investigation assisted in every way possible. By assigning Mrs. Jane Coughlin to act as secretary to Mr. Wing at the National Trust Headquarters, they made it possible for the widely scattered members of the committee to keep abreast of each other's activities and investigations.
Although the original investigative mission of the committee was completed in June 1967, its members were glad to comply with the request of the Executive Committee of the National Trust, made at its meeting on 12 June 1967, that they continue in being as a permanent Standing Committee of Professional Consultants.
The report that follows was, in slightly different form, approved by the Trustees of the National Trust at the annual meeting in St. Louis on 19 October 1967. Since he assumed the presidency of the National Trust in January 1968, James Biddle has worked closely with the committee which met in New York City on 6 February 1968 with representatives of Columbia University, Cornell University and the University of Virginia to discuss proposals made by these institutions for the possible establishment of graduate programs in historic preservation. Although the committee is still working to perfect feasible specific programs for which the National Trust might seek financial support, the report is now published as a statement of purpose and direction for the activities of the National Trust in professional and public education.
The findings and recommendations of the two sub-committees are given in substantially the form in which they were submitted by their chairmen, Messrs. Berkeley and van Ravenswaay.
Walter Muir Whitehill
15 April 1968
In the past twenty years the speed of change in the appearance of the United States, both in city and countryside, in buildings and in landscape, has been vastly accelerated. Continued prosperity combined with rapid growth of population bring about more changes in a year than were previously normal in a decade. A sudden awareness of this new rate of change has aroused a vastly enhanced interest in historic preservation, for many Americans have now become aware that, unless they do something, and do it fast, they will soon have lost all ties with their past and will have reached George Orwell's 1984 a number of years ahead of schedule.
A century ago historic preservation was chiefly the concern of historians and antiquarians, who sought to save, for exhibition and edification, buildings and sites associated with the lives of great men or with great events. In the present century men became aware that fine examples of architecture, regardless of their age or events associated with them, added dignity and beauty to the scenes in which they stood, and shouldn't thoughtlessly be demolished in the quest for "progress" (a word frequently used to justify needless change). One cannot pickle or crystallize the past; indeed no sensible person would wish to live surrounded by obsolete artifacts simply because they were old. But many fine survivals of the past can lend distinction and variety to their surroundings, and so preservation turned from its earlier concept of exhibition and edification to the idea of keeping such buildings in use--their original use, if possible, and if not, a new one that will do the least harm to their salient features. Thus historians and antiquarians ceased to be the only advocates of historic preservation. In this new phase, everyone concerned with maintaining the character and integrity of their surroundings has a part. As the rate of change increased, popular enthusiasm for preservation grew apace. A threat to a significant building often generates activity accompanied by generous gifts of money. It is, however, a great deal easier to raise the funds for desirable projects in historic preservation than to find the architects and craftsmen necessary to carry it out.
Forty years ago most architects had been trained in the grammar of historic styles and in draughtsmanship, while many older carpenters and masons were still familiar with the traditional techniques of their crafts. Through changes in the curricula of architectural schools beginning in the 1930's, only an occasional architect of the present day has the interest in and knowledge of the past that were once a commonplace of the profession. With rapidly changing techniques in the building trades, inspired by new materials and pre-fabrication, the ability to repair (or where necessary reproduce) details in old buildings has become extremely uncommon. The larger public and private organizations engaged in historic preservation--of which the National Park Service and Colonial Williamsburg are conspicuous examples--have been forced to train and develop their own staffs of archaeologists, research historians, architects, and craftsmen. As these specialists are normally fully occupied with the work of their own organizations, the number of professional restorationists available for general work is very small indeed. The pressing need to increase their number is the main problem to which this committee has addressed itself.
Our concern with professional education in historic preservation is rigidly limited to architecture and the building crafts, for it is only by continued practical use of some kind that most buildings can or should be preserved. Only a limited number of highly exceptional buildings are important enough to be preserved solely for exhibition. We already have on exhibition more museums and (supposedly) "historic houses" than we need, or can afford to keep up, or are good for us as a nation. Therefore we are not, as a committee, concerned with matters of museum administration or interpretation, or anything else to do with exhibition, but solely with the problem of the people who are so urgently needed to carry out the physical aspects of preservation and restoration.
The Sub-Committee on this subject--Messrs. Berkeley (Chairman) Brew, and Elder--presents the following report.
Five years ago, in a manifesto on its educational program the National Trust asserted it as an accepted fact that "Americans are riding on a wave of enthusiasm for the preservation of their heritage in the form of the three-dimensional document." The vast extent of this mass enthusiasm is a phenomenon that is apparent in 1967 to all observers of the American scene. Equally apparent is the generally uninformed and nostalgic character of this enthusiasm. The restoration and preservation in our populous future of such portions of our physical past as are worth preserving can be accomplished only if the discipline and authority of learning--that is, professional education at the highest level--can be brought to bear upon the universal enthusiasm.
Your committee's extensive review of architectural curricula in recent months has been primarily a search among the colleges and universities of the United States for professionalism in the field of historic preservation.
The School of Architecture of the University of Virginia has pioneered in establishing the degree of Master of Architectural History and was the first institution to provide classroom, seminar, and laboratory instruction in the methodology of restoration in cooperation with the Historic American Buildings Survey, Colonial Williamsburg, and others.
The School of Architecture of Columbia University now grants a degree of Master of Science in Architecture with a certificate in restoration and preservation.
The College of Architecture of Cornell University proposes a program that would train city and regional planners in the conservation of architecture and would train students from various disciplines in restoration from the point of view of the planners.
For over thirty years, the Historic American Buildings Survey has played a key national role in developing professional knowledge of historic American architecture. Jointly sponsored by the National Park Service, the American Institute of Architects, the Library of Congress, and more recently by the National Trust, it brings the experience of major national bodies to bear on the study of early architecture. The Historic American Buildings Survey is important to (1) enlisting the interest of young architects through summer work measuring early buildings; (2) helping train architects in preservation work through measured drawing projects; (3) developing comparative records of early buildings for study and reference; and (4) establishing standards for preservation and restoration. Opportunities abound for collaboration between universities and the HABS in summer projects for students.
1. The goal of professionalism in preservation and restoration can best be approached by the National Trust's assuming leadership for the advanced education of professionals, who will control the standards for future training and for practice in the preservation field.
2. "Leadership" is meant in a general sense, since the specific responsibility for performance belongs to the educational and training institutions and to the professional societies that set and maintain standards. The National Trust should not attempt to become a university or a museum. It should assume a moral responsibility that will be respected by the universities, the foundations, and the accrediting governmental agencies.
3. The conditions that prevail today, as revealed by our study indicate the need for strong moral leadership. The conditions prevailing in the education of restoration architects and restoration planners can be characterized as elementary. There are no programs at accredited and planning schools in the United States, as far as we have ascertained, that grant a graduate degree in historic preservation and restoration. It can be said, in fact, that with certain exceptions there have been only rudimentary attempts to codify preservation and restoration as an independent academic discipline. Owing to circumstances surrounding the education of architects in the last generation, there appears to be relatively small awareness within the architectural and planning professions of the importance of restoration and preservation techniques. There is, consequently, an even smaller level of awareness among laymen who own or control historic properties of the need for professional guidance to the detriment of the nation's historic sites. In sum, the situation today is one of beginning growth. Therefore, the type of leadership needed is one that encourages, coaxes, inspires, nourishes and nurtures growth of the professional spirit in preservation.
4. The committee feels that the National Trust, to exert this type of leadership must be in a position to assist the development of the most promising existing university programs into model programs. The establishment of model programs would serve three ends:
a. The programs would produce professionals to staff other programs and assume leadership in education and training.
b. The existence of the programs would establish restoration and preservation as an academic discipline.
c. The programs would be studied and copied by other institutions.
5. The Trust can exert its leadership most effectively by adding to its organization an Office of Professional Education and Training Programs, directed by a leading professional in the preservation and restoration fields. This office should be guided by the Standing Committee of Professional Consultants.
6. Because the Trust would have to exert a large part of its leadership indirectly, through professional societies and educational institutions, the Trust should establish formal working relationships with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and other societies and institutions. The relationships should be established by the management of the Trust, and maintained by the new Office of Professional Education and Training Programs.
7. The new office might have the following functions:
a. It would apprise professional societies and colleges of existing conditions in the preservation field, and the kinds and extent of professional help needed.
b. It would suggest revisions in the professional standards for historic preservation.
c. It would collect data on the experience of colleges that train restorationists.
d. It would maintain contact with deans of college.
e. It would become a clearinghouse of information, assisting college programs by preparing and distributing technical material, providing lectures and consultants, arranging field trips to historic sites.
f. It would take steps to stimulate discussion of education for restorationists in the professional press.
g. It would serve as liaison in the recruitment of needed professional talent, bringing students in touch with career opportunities.
1. The National Trust's leadership in professional education can be most effective if it has a strong voice in the allotment of public and private funds to support educational and training programs. The national preservation situation would be substantially benefited if the National Trust, as a central funding agency, could stimulate educational programs on a coordinated basis. Both public and private funds are needed. An immediate need is a demonstration program to enlist the future support of foundations, individuals, and government. This committee recommends to the National Trust that substantial foundation grants be sought at the earliest practicable date to enable the Trust to establish an educational support program.
2. While it is true that the Trust's contribution as a funding agency or as an advisory agency in the appropriation of funds, will be made because of its ability to coordinate programs nationally, the national situation at this moment is not one that requires coordination so much as acts of creation. It might almost be said that the chief criterion for consideration of support to a university at this time (assuming the competence and sincerity of the institution) is the exhibition of willingness.
The many subjects that must be taught an architectural student in undergraduate schools today to equip him to become a licensed architect have stretched undergraduate programs until they cover five, six and seven years. The pressure on architectural schools to add even more courses is constant. This committee has concluded after study, therefore, that specialization in restoration and preservation is most effective on the graduate level. It would further recommend that undergraduate programs permit the student to select options in architectural research, and preservation, in place of regular design work.
3. This committee believes that the most fruitful action the Trust could take at this time would be to assist in the establishment of one or more graduate programs that would grant a degree in preservation and restoration.
4. The goal of the Trust's educational program should be to foster the spread of graduate programs geographically until each region has its educational center. The Trust should encourage the interest expressed at schools of architecture in many sections of the country during this study.
The study has shown that the economic risks of a relatively new field like restoration architecture are a major factor in the development of educational programs. At this time, therefore, the Trust should institute a program of assistance in job placement for graduate restorationists. This could also be a function of an Office of Professional Education and Training Programs, as mentioned above.
1. In considering the question of increasing the appreciation of historic architecture by the general architect, the committee has taken note of subjective factors. Changes in philosophy in architectural education emphasize creativity; as a backwash of these changes is the feeling held by many contemporary architects that interest in historic architecture stands in opposition to creativity. The committee recognizes that concern for tradition always carries the threat of reaction and of stifling creativity. The committee wishes to make clear, however, that its interest in aiding preservation is to increase the creativity of contemporary architects, and the creativity of other artists as well. No art can develop true significance without relevance to the history and traditions of its won cultural base. As Osbert Lancaster well puts it: "Without the continuous deposit of architectural humus no modern architecture can thrive, and if we scrape away the topsoil it will inevitably wither away, for no matter how clearly we envisage our objectives, no one can build the New Jerusalem in a cultural dustbowl."
2. The Trust, through its educational office, should encourage the teaching of historic and preservation subjects in undergraduate programs.
3. One way to reach the student and the practicing architect is through summer workshops and seminars. The Historic American Buildings Survey, with its well-established program should cooperate in summer training both generously and effectively, Sir John Summerson has observed that "there is no substitute for actual experience on a preservation project in the education of preservation architects." Over the years Colonial Williamsburg has welcomed certain qualified architectural students from the University of Virginia for summer internships of this kind. The committee hopes that plans can eventually be developed for cooperative arrangements between the National Trust, universities, and preservation projects in expanding the number of such opportunities for "on-the-job" experience of students who intend to become general architects.
4. Another promising way is through an awards program. These are most effective if conferred by local civic organizations. The Trust should encourage such awards to architects creating designs in harmony with traditional structures. This might have influence in changing attitudes toward historic preservation.
5. The Trust should seek to influence practicing architects through a publishing program, involving associations such as the American Institute of Architects, and seminars.
1. The Trust must also assist in preparing legislation for government-supported educational programs.
2. The Trust should study and in some instances adopt the programs initiated in other countries. It should maintain close liaison with the National Park Service, especially the new office concerned with preservation and restoration. It should assist liaison between the Historic American Buildings Survey and the teaching institutions, and it should remain alert to the possibilities of cooperative programs with state and local governments and with private agencies.
3. The influence of the Trust upon architectural education--that is, its own increased respect and authority in this field--will not be disproportionate to the respect that it accords to the integrity of the universities and professional associations with which it deals. It should avoid any intrusion into the internal affairs of educational institutions. In any grants of funds, for example, to which it is a party, either as grantor or as advisor, it should confine itself to lump sums for broad programs of which it approves. It should grant sums for scholarships, but never individual scholarships. It would be fatal for the Trust to attempt any "empire-building", any oversight over the curricula or other activities of universities. It should avoid over-emphasis on publicity and prizes, which can become meaningless. The problems faced call rather for professional concern. The National Trust can best serve education if it maintains its perspective and its dignity as an auxiliary organization, respectful and respected, helpful, wise, and knowledgeable.
The sub-committee on this subject--Messrs. van Ravenswaay (Chairman) and Lee – presents the following report.
Technology has displaced the traditional building craftsmen as effectively as industry previously displaced the handcraftsmen who made the objects of domestic use and commerce. Not only has prefabricated and disposable construction destroyed the general need for such craftsmen, but artificial materials have replaced many of the natural materials used in earlier buildings whose properties are part of the craftsmen's lore. These ancient crafts are a significant part of our national cultural resources. Their continuation as a living tradition is essential to insure the authentic conservation of our early buildings.
The survival of these crafts will require the most thoughtful solutions to human as well as economic problems. No existing formula can be used. A new solution must be found, based on a national realization of the importance of these skills to our continuing culture. Public knowledge of the standards and objectives required in such craftwork should be developed through education at all levels. Practical means for providing careers in such work need to be found through the joint efforts of government and private initiative. These objectives cannot be accomplished on a limited basis no matter how dedicated such projects might be, for the need is so urgent and so general in scope that it must be recognized as a national responsibility, requiring national leadership, direction, standards, and continuity .
In order to keep preservation techniques from becoming sterile antiquarianism, those craftsmen should also be encouraged to produce contemporary work. These two objectives are not incompatible. An inquiring and creative mind, disciplined by expert knowledge, is needed by the conservation specialist. If the preservation of our historic buildings and our tradition crafts have continuing validity as part of an organic cultural tradition, they should stimulate the creation of contemporary works of beauty.
The sociological and economic values to the nation through the conservation of our intangible as well as tangible cultural resources has been demonstrated a good many years ago and public response to this need is rapidly developing. Indeed the whole preservation movement is the expression of public effort toward strengthening a wide spectrum of our cultural resources. Various programs exist for conserving our natural landscape and wildlife. When technology revolutionized agriculture and plants once commonly grown became obsolete, the Federal Government established seedbanks to preserve species necessary for continuing plant research and hybridization. Thus on many fronts and in many different ways, the utility of survivals from the past is being recognized, not for nostalgic reasons but from an awareness that this thoughtless and hurried age cannot afford to be prodigal with an inheritance that has such continuing practical as well as sociological values.
Our immediate need for conserving the traditional building crafts is to insure the preservation of early buildings, but from such action may come dividends impossible to anticipate now. These crafts, like the seeds the Federal agencies are preserving, could produce countless benefits for future generations.
1. Any program undertaken in the United States should be national and local in conception and aimed toward a permanent, not a temporary, attack on the problem. One of its objectives should be toward increasing public awareness of the importance of authentic craftsmanship as part of the essential quality of early buildings. This would help generate employment for building restoration specialists.
2. The Sub-Committee has knowledge of a small number of carpenters, masons, plasterers, wood carvers, and painters (particularly along the eastern seaboard) considered by competent preservationists to be skilled in early building crafts. Most of those known are employed by agencies with major preservation and restoration responsibilities or by small contractors who specialize in restoration work. In addition there is believed to be a diminishing number of competent individual craftsmen who are able to practice their skills in traditional building crafts only a small part of their time, and who devote most of their effort to modern construction in order to make a living. These men should be sought out and identified, and the opportunities to utilize their skills should be explored before undertaking major efforts in training new craftsmen. The small number of skilled craftsman who continue to arrive as immigrants from other countries is also a factor in the labor supply.
3. The economic base for even this small group of skilled craftsmen is uncertain. The Federal Government gives very little recognition to these skills in Civil Service classifications. The flow of work to support these craftsmen inside and outside the Government is uneven. Pay scales are often inadequate and some skilled craftsmen who would prefer to work on early buildings are forced, by economic circumstances, to seek more profitable employment on routine jobs or in maintenance. There are few organizations that guarantee skilled craftsmen permanent employment in the preservation and restoration of early buildings.
4. It is necessary to stabilize the employment, and insure the security, status, and professional future of the present supply of skilled craftsmen. It would be impractical and unwise to recruit and train craftsmen for an uncertain future, or to train new craftsmen, when available craftsmen are not able to practice their skills much of the time.
5. We do not know of any training centers for the traditional building crafts within the United States. Neither the vocational schools, nor the unions, nor the preservation agencies have developed any systematic training to preserve skills, and to maintain and replenish the supply of carpenters, masons, plasterers, wood carvers and painters increasingly needed in preservation and restoration work. The craftsmen who possess and use these skills have been trained as apprentices either here or abroad, are self-taught in part, or were guided to their special skills, by the architects and craftsmen of the large preservation agencies.
6. Craft training programs and the practice of the crafts will require the following resources, among others:
a. Photographic, oral, and written records of craft methods. Colonial Williamsburg has recently made a significant motion picture in color, carefully recording every step in the old methods of making a keg. Such a film points out the way for other projects to record authentic craft methods as demonstrated by skilled practitioners.
b. Written and illustrated publications describing early craft methods and techniques. A few publications of this kind are available, though scarce. However, a vast body of essential knowledge is available in the minds and notes of specialists. A systematic program should be developed to get this information written down and duplicated for general use.
7. Authentic preservation and restoration work requires the supervision of a trained historical architect. A craftsman, however skilled, needs guidance based on the knowledge of building design and practice achieved by the historical architect through measured drawings and photographs, comparative field studies of early buildings and study and research in documents.
8. The best method of training a craftsman is the oldest method – apprenticeship – for the hand must be trained as well as the mind. In specialized work this means beginning the apprenticeship as an already qualified journeyman carpenter, and training for the special skills required for preservation and restoration work. A craftsman should have training and experience in every phase of the cycle of restoring a building from its initial state to its completion. He should also have the benefit of experience of working, as a member of a restoration team, with other specialists. Such a team might include a preservation architect, an architectural historian, an historic sites archaeologist, and an historical horticulturist.
9. In addition to a program to conserve the early building crafts, there is need for more systematic study and training in providing authentic early settings for early buildings. A program for research and training in early horticulture (and agriculture) is needed for this purpose.
10. Various national organizations and interests are properly concerned with one or another aspect of the traditional building crafts. These include, in addition to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, such government agencies as the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the principal labor unions in the field of building crafts; major professional associations such as the American Institute of Architects; and leading preservation agencies such as Old Sturbridge Village, Old Salem, Inc., Winterthur, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Colonial Williamsburg, and other major museums. There is at present no focal point or program around which these interests may gather to formulate and agree on a national program. The support and participation of all these groups appears essential to accomplish our objective.
11. It is evident that other countries concerned with historic preservation are far ahead of the United States in providing for the conservation of craft skills. Czechoslovakia, for example, has a national system of craft centers supported by the government for this purpose. Japan, by law officially recognizes certain skilled craftsmen or groups of practitioners of early skills as "intangible cultural monuments" important to the life of the whole nation. Thirty years ago the Congress authorized a Board of Indian Arts and Crafts in the United States, and there is now also a government financed school, the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Documentation for these and other examples should be available to the Council proposed below.
12. The National Trust, as part of the general program for the training of restoration specialists, should consider the feasibility of regularly publishing a national roster of restoration specialists, including craftsmen, and suppliers of period-type materials and special services. If some appropriate accreditation system can be devised, this roster should also include craftsmen who have the requisite skills, but have not taken the training courses, as well as those who successfully complete their courses.
13. A problem basic to the success of perpetuating the building crafts, and one for which this committee has not found a satisfactory solution, is the need to provide some central exchange through which the craftsmen and the client can be brought together. These craftsmen will always be relatively few in number and may often live at considerable distances from their potential clients. It is possible that a National Roster of Restoration Specialists would serve to meet much of this need; other possibilities should be studied.
14. Many restoration projects require the services of an entire restoration team rather than the services of one or two specialists. The problems and difficulties involved with a client forming his own team are obvious. Study should be made of the possibility of furnishing restoration teams from the staffs of the craft centers to clients restoring buildings included on the National Register of Landmarks.
15. We have been encouraged to learn from restoration contractors, individual craftsmen, and others, that there would be no difficulty in obtaining applications from able men for training courses. There are apparently many craftsmen who are dissatisfied with the impersonal and routine work they are required to do in modern construction, and who would be eager for careers in the traditional crafts if they had opportunities for training, and some assurance of steady employment.
In order to provide a national focus for a permanent national program to perpetuate the traditional crafts and to give national leadership and guidance to this effort, it is recommended that:
1. The National Trust establish within its organization form a permanent Conservation Council for Traditional Building Crafts. (One of the primary needs of such a Council would be to define the time span involved in the program.)
2. The membership of this Council should represent the chief professional and craft agencies concerned with preservation (not traditional education). Representation might include the National Trust, the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, various craft unions, the craft associations, the American Institute of Architects, the Historic American Buildings Survey, contractors' organizations, and private preservation societies.
3. The Council would meet perhaps twice a year, with an appropriate staff officer of the National Trust serving as executive officer and directly responsible for implementing the Council's program.
4. The Council's immediate responsibilities would be to review the preliminary findings and the recommendations embodied in this report and on the basis of the Council's wide experience and practical knowledge to (1) draft a statement of long-range objectives and (2) a five-year program designed to lay a solid foundation for perpetuating the early building crafts. Wherever possible this program should be coordinated with, and have a working parallel to, the concurrent programs for training restoration architects and architectural historians. (3) Move with all reasonable speed toward launching the recommended program, mindful that what is needed is to provide a practical opportunity for the perpetuation of the crafts and that this can be most effectively achieved with a minimum of red tape and a maximum of common sense and the informed dedication of those directing the work.
5. The National Trust should seek funds to finance the costs of organizing the Council, holding its meetings and launching the initial five-year program.
The first five-year program of the Conservation Council for the Traditional Building Crafts might include the following elements:
1. Preparation and issuance of standards and guidelines for what might be called "Conservation Centers for Traditional Building Crafts". Although no centers, such as are envisioned in this report, now exist, a number of organizations already have many of the essential elements which such a center would require, including the regular employment of craftsmen in suitable surroundings. Among others, the National Park Service has the elements of such a center in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities has one in Boston, as does Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. A "Conservation Center for Traditional Building Crafts" should include the following elements:
a. Location in an environment which provides examples of urban renewal programs, museum exhibits, private restorations, and where the intellectual and professional climate provides opportunities for cross fertilization.
b. Direction by a trained preservation architect.
c. A staff of permanently employed skilled craftsmen. The number could be very small, and the skills primarily carpentry, painting, and masonry. The point is that the skills survive and are regularly practiced on a career basis. If a potential "Conservation Center" lacks the financial basis for a permanent craftsmen staff, then support should be sought from members, government, unions, contractors, foundations, educational institutions, and others to create a permanent nucleus of skilled craftsmen. The Council should assist the efforts of the most promising "Conservation Centers" to establish a sound basis for their activities.
d. Early building where the craft skills are practiced.
e. A reference library of photographs, drawings, and publications relating to early building crafts.
f. Consultant craftsmen in several fields, employed from time to time for short periods as needed, including a wood carver, ornamental plasterer, and wrought-iron worker.
2. The Council should make agreements with preservation agencies willing to assume responsibility for the development and operation of a "Conservation Center."
The objective should be to encourage the development of at least one such center in each of the principal geographic regions of the United States within the next five years. The first center might be in Philadelphia under National Park Service auspices, and the second in Boston under the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The National Trust might have to offer initial financial support on a matching basis to get some of the centers started. The purpose of agreements would be to channel sufficient support to a few strong centers, rather than to disperse efforts in scattered and uncoordinated locations.
As experience warrants, however, the National Council would encourage and support the establishment of additional centers. It is conceivable that the comprehensive statewide plans for historic preservation, required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, might in some cases provide for creation of state conservation centers for traditional building crafts supported by state governments, with the encouragement of preservationists, labor and industry, and the State Councils on the Arts.
3. Encourage the establishment of "national archives on early building construction and early crafts" in the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation of the National Park Service. This would include historical, architectural, and archaeological reports, measured drawings, photographs and other cumulative records on traditional building construction. A substantial archive of this nature already exists in the National Park Service and that agency should be encouraged to enlarge and widen its usefulness.
4. Encourage establishment of "national collection on architecture and the early building crafts" in the Smithsonian Institution. As the Smithsonian Institution already has an important collection, it should be recognized as the logical national repository for objects in this field. Regional "Conservation Centers" could be asked to assist in gathering objects for the national collection. Regional study collection will also be needed and to some extent already exists.
5. Encourage the principal agencies to initiate active publication programs on early American building crafts, and assist them in avoiding duplications or omissions. The National Trust might have to participate financially to encourage publications. Publications series undertaken by the principal agencies could become the outlet for material submitted by smaller preservation agencies or individuals lacking a publication outlet for their own.
6. Training Program.
When the agencies establishing the Conservation Centers have given evidence of the permanence and systematic development of their programs, the Council should encourage them to develop craft training activities.
a. As an ultimate objective, the training program should provide instruction for the generalist as well as for the specialist and be flexible enough to offer various types of training according to individual needs. Thus such a program would give technical instruction to:
1. Building Restoration Foremen. These men would be considered the equivalent of construction foremen. They would take the complete course to qualify for supervisory positions.
2. Building Restoration Specialists (carpenters, painters, masons, etc.) These craftsmen would be trained only in their specialty and receive a shorter course than the above, and one accenting technical skills.
3. Individual craftsmen, desiring only brief intensive training in some aspect of their speciality.
b. The initial training program should consist of a small group of craftsmen, employed in training positions as part of the work force on a particular preservation or restoration project. The costs should be met in large part, though perhaps not entirely out of project funds. Assuming the project lasts at least a year, then the training would also last a year and involve every stage in the cycle of restoration.
c. The Conservation Council, through its member agencies, should undertake to locate positions for these first craftsmen trainees to move into at the conclusion of their training.
d. The "Conservation Center" selected to initiate training would also be asked to initiate an annual two or three day educational workshop on "Historic Structures Training Conference." This would be attended by architects, owners of historic buildings, contractors, suppliers, craftsmen, and museum curators. It would include talks, demonstrations, motion pictures and publications. The prototype for this kind of work- shop was developed by Charles E. Peterson in Philadelphia in the early 1960's.
7. Encourage the adoption of standards of training and experience for traditional building craftsmen by government, unions, and preservation agencies, together with proper pay scales, and formal recognition of the special status of these craftsmen.
The National Trust is charged with the responsibility of preserving properties that are important to an understanding and appreciation of the American heritage. Although it was empowered to purchase and preserve such properties by a 1949 Act of Congress and has in several instances done so, its physical and financial resources make this approach a necessarily limited one. To accomplish its objectives, the National Trust must rely only in certain clear-cut instances on direct action. It must, more often, assume the role of catalyst, to which public education is essential.
As a catalyst, the National Trust approaches such problems as:
I. Educating federal, state and local governmental officials in the desirability of historic preservation, and stimulating the legislation necessary to ease the task of preservation. (Major progress has been made in this area. National legislation has been passed that will make possible federal assistance to preservation, as, for example, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Model Cities Act, and the Department of Transportation Act.)
2. Through education, stimulating the raising of private monies for historic preservation. It is not possible or desirable for government to assume the sole funding role for historic preservation.
3. Encouraging local groups to more productive work in the preservation field. The National Trust should ensure-- through public education--that the preservation work done by local groups meets proper standards of excellence.
Through public education, it is possible for the National Trust greatly to amplify its impact. Public education should be considered as a complement, rather than a substitute, for direct action. It is essential that the National Trust understand this and further realize that the future of historic preservation in the United States rests largely on the ability of historic preservationists to communicate with and educate the public in their cause. This can be done if it is approached with understanding, dedication and professional knowledge.
As has been observed earlier in this report, education for preservation and restoration should avoid over-emphasis on publicity, which can become meaningless; the situation instead needs professional concern. The present crisis calls, not for evangelical fervor to cause crowds to hit the sawdust trail, but for the reasoned dissemination through every channel that is available of sound knowledge on the principles and practice of preservation. In an editorial in the July 1963 issue of the magazine Antiques, Miss Alice Winchester, in reviewing the course of historic preservation over fifteen years, observed, "All too many important buildings have been lost, but also--may we not be misunderstood--all too many have been 'saved'. The honest, painstaking restorations have too often been imitated in superficial appearance instead of being emulated in purpose and method, so that the country is dotted with 'historic house museums_ that are neither historic nor museums. Local preservation projects are frequently taken up as a delightful opportunity for playing house, and committees in charge of restoration and furnishings vie with one another in merely pleasing the twentieth century eye, not in presenting a specific aspect of an earlier era truthfully to the twentieth century mind. The time has come to recognize past mistakes and set about correcting them."
Good architectural criticism, based on sound knowledge, is the best of weapons in the cause of preservation. The essays of Sir John Summerson, or the timely articles of Ada Louise Huxtable in the New York Times, are models to emulate in attempts at popular education. Similarly, good cartoons, such as those by Osbert Lancaster, have their usefulness, for they are hard to forget. Witty verses can also accomplish more than lengthy argument. Songs such as Francis W. Hatch's "Some Coward Closed the Old Howard" can influence the public ear as effectively as cartoons do the public eye. Preservationists should seize every opportunity to turn this kind of wit, when it can be found to public education in their cause. An essential first step in any local effort in public education is to attempt to secure the active support of those who control the relevant newspapers and radio and television stations, and to see that they are furnished with reliable information. Their help will be indispensable when there is need of mobilizing public opinion behind a specific preservation project, such as a bill proposing the establishment of a historic district, which may depend upon votes cast by men and women who have no real understanding of the proposal.
It is fanciful to hope that, with the present scanty resources of the National Trust and other preservation bodies, it will be possible to achieve much in wide public education through personal contact with large numbers of people. Conferences and meetings, however pleasant, generally attract those who are already converted. Summer courses, except when part of the organized curriculum of a college or university, often achieve only superficial results, as ephemeral as the high gloss produced by simonizing a motor car. More will be accomplished by seeking the cooperation of well-established magazines and journals that, in their normal distribution, reach a wide audience, and inspiring the publication by them of pieces that will serve the cause of public education. The Life editorial of 14 July 1967, "Hard-nosed Highwaymen Ride Again" brought the threat to the Vieux Carre to many thousand times the number of people who could have been affected by any series of meetings.
Over the years Mrs. Helen Duprey Bullock, Senior Editor of the National Trust, has made imaginative use of the modest funds available to her to spread sound doctrine by means of Historic Preservation and the Trust newsletter, which was expanded in 1967 into the new Preservation News. She has also skillfully assisted in the preparation of worthwhile articles for the periodicals of labor unions, the American Institute of Architects, and other organizations, which reach an audience well beyond the frontiers of the Trust. These have frequently been reprinted for Trust distribution at small cost. It is the view of the committee that the expansion and augmentation of such practices is better adapted to the realities of the present than any attempt by the National Trust to embark itself upon large-scale popular magazine publication. One does not embark upon popular journalism without greater resources than the Trust can command, particularly when so much can be accomplished by imaginative collaboration and cooperation with existing periodicals.
A Time to Begin, a joint production of the Virginia Outdoor Recreation Study Commission and Colonial Williamsburg, has recently had a great impact on behalf of historic preservation and conservation. Motion pictures are an important means of communicating ideas and techniques to a mass audience, for they can be released on television networks in connection with campaigns, and also be rented for local showing. They are, however, so expensive to produce that they lie beyond the realities of the National Trust's present situation. To the committee it seems preferable to devote any funds that can be obtained to the long-range project of professional education, which is a prerequisite of any effort in public education.
Many elements in the country are today essential to any serious advance in historic preservation. Public officials at all levels, whether elected or appointed, must be persuaded that the continued presence of certain important buildings may be a greater ornament to the communities in which they stand than could any run-of-the-mine replacement. It is equally necessary to convince banks, insurance companies, and other sources of funds, that money can be as safely and profitably invested in the preservation of a fine old building as in the construction of a dull new one. And, as has been indicated earlier, it is essential that newspapers and television and radio stations be induced to press these points home. Public education in historic preservation will accomplish more if it be concentrated in the personal and specific education of individuals who exercise power in these ways than if it be scattered too widely. Lacking sufficient ammunition for a saturating barrage, it is better to set rifle sights on a significant target.
1. That all public statements and publications of the National Trust, in however popular form it may seem wise to clothe them be consistent in content and aims with the standards that the Trust seeks to further in professional education.
2. That the Senior Editor and her staff be encouraged and enable to expand not only the present publications of the National Trust but also the present policy of suggesting and aiding the publication of sound articles on historic preservation in other magazines and journals.
3. That the Board of Advisors be enlisted to make contracts in their several states with editors, public officials, and others who, on an individual basis, should be specially apprised by the National Trust of significant policies and developments in historic preservation.
4. That in all questions of public education there be the closest cooperation and understanding between the proposed Office of Professional Education and Training Programs, the Senior Editor, the Board of Advisors, and the Committee of Professional Consultants, so that the National Trust may speak in a single authoritative voice.
Publications on various levels are essential to both professional and public education. On the professional level they are necessary both for the training of architects and craftsmen, for many details in restoration are often incorrectly carried out for lack of available precedent. It is thus desirable that case histories of carefully executed restorations should be published, with full documentation. During restoration, details of construction normally invisible will often be revealed. There is thus great merit in printing, whenever possible, a photographic record of buildings before, during and after major restorations, accompanied by drawings and commentary. The National Park Service, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities have much evidence of this kind in their files. A precedent for such a series is the Williamsburg Research Studies, in which selected reports from the files of the Research Department of Colonial Williamsburg are modestly printed in offset and distributed by the University Press of Virginia.
In meticulousness of investigation and thoroughness of reporting, archaeology has much to teach historic preservation. Such reports as John L. Cotter, Archaeological Excavations at Jamestown, Virginia (National Park Service Archaeological Research Series, No.4), Ivor Noel Hume, Excavation at Rosewall, Gloucester County, Virginia, 1957-1959 (United States National Museum Bulletin 225) and R.G. Montgomery, Watson Smith and John Otis Brew, Franciscan Awatovi (Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, vol. XXXVI) are pertinent examples for study, for the preservationist has the same professional obligation as the archaeologist to report on and publish his findings. If a suitable format were devised, and one or more of such case histories of restorations issued, preferably as a joint publication of the National Trust and the organization responsible for the restoration, a useful precedent would be established.
In connection with the training of craftsmen, a series of reprints of rare early books and pamphlets would prove useful. The committee finds that a number of commercial publishers, such as the Da Capo Press, Benjamin Blom, Inc., Century Books, Dover Publications, Inc., Gregg Press, and Funk and Wagnalls have already published or announced plans for reprinting works of this type. It would be useful for the National Trust to keep close watch upon reprints that would be of service to craftsmen, and issue lists, from time to time, of those that are available.
One could wish that it would be possible to achieve American equivalents of such reminiscent English books as Walter Rose's The Village Carpenter and George Sturt's The Wheelwright's Shop, published by the Cambridge University Press a generation ago. Even if the time for this has passed, there is still the obligation to encourage the preparation of all possible reference books and textbooks on the nature and use of early American Construction materials and craftsmanship. The National Trust should be alert to encourage and assist any efforts in this direction, and to see that any pertinent studies achieved by other Institutions are promptly brought to the attention of persons engaged in historic preservation.
These are interim suggestions concerning professional publications. Others will undoubtedly develop if the proposed Office of Professional Education and Training Programs is established in the National Trust. It is essential that all professional publications of the Trust meet exacting standards set by the Committee of Professional Consultants, for great harm can be done by "do-it-yourself" pamphlets that are compiled to meet some seemingly pressing need.
The Committee s views concerning National Trust Publications of more general interest are included in the preceding section on public education.