National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
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The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) was first proposed in an Office of Technology Assessment Report, Technologies for Prehistoric and Historic Preservation. This report led to the National Historic Preservation Act, Title IV, which established NCPTT at Northwestern State University of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
 Office of Technology Assessment Report
This report was requested by the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs to assess preservation technologies and their use by federal agencies in the implementation of laws relating to prehistoric and historic preservation. Among the major findings of this report was the need for:
- Training in the use of technologies,
- Studying ways to apply known technologies to preservation problems,
- Improving information sharing and coordination,
- Finding the appropriate fit of technologies to preservation problems,
- Reducing the costs of new technologies, and
- Developing standards for the application of new technologies
The report cited the critical need to establish a federally funded institution as a mechanism to coordinate research, disseminate information and provide training about new technologies in preservation.
 National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1992
NCPTT was established by an act of U.S. congress with the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1992. In Sections 403 through 407 of this public law, legislators established the National Center within the Department of Interior on the campus of Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, La. The amendments defined the National Center's purposes, established the Preservation Technology and Training advisory board, created the awards, acceptance of the funds, and authorized Federal appropriations.
 Establishment of the Center
Beginning in July 1993, the National Park Service, the Secretary of the Interior and Northwestern State University of Louisiana began efforts to implement the purposes of the legislation. The first acting Executive Director of NCPTT was E. Blaine Cliver, Chief of the Preservation Assistance Division, NPS. The Center and its advisory board were organized and proposed research, training, and information management activities.
Charter members of the Preservation Technology and Training (PTT) Board were Elizabeth A. Lyon, Robert Melnick, Neville Agnew, Nicholas Gianopulos, Jon Gibson, Alferdteen Harrison, James Huhta, James Judge, F. Blair Reeves, Carolyn Rose, Frank E. Sanchis, III, and Patti Jo Watson.
In 1994, NCPTT initiated its PTT Grants program and awarded over $500,000 through 15 grants. Grants ranged from studies of woody plants in historic landscapes, to energy performance of woods windows. Nine grants funded research efforts while six grants supported training activities.
Beginning in October `94 the Center was staffed. John Robbins, a preservation architect was hired as NCPTT's Executive Director. Other founding staff members included Mary S. Carroll, Frances Gale, Mark Gilberg, Ellen Kish, and Mary F. Striegel. Over the course of the next seven years, the staff implemented NCPTT's mission through three components - research, training, and information management. The work focused on innovative practical solutions to current preservation and conservation questions.
 Dedication of Lee H. Nelson Hall and Forum
Immediately following, NPS held a two-day Forum, "Charting NCPTT's Role in Preserving America's Heritage in the 21st Century." Recognizing the successes of NCPTT's first decade, forty prominent preservation and conservation professionals from across the country joined NPS leadership to lay the foundation for NCPTT's second decade. The findings of the forum focused NCPTT on the following concepts:
- Place first and foremost emphases on preservation technology research.
- Focus research on a limited number of topics as defined through research priorities.
- Create Strategic partnerships to leverage resources and carry out projects of mutual interest.
- Serve the preservation community as a knowledge center and on-line resource.
- Define NCPTT's core audiences.
- Serve as a convener of experts to tackle a variety of preservation problems.
- Push the envelope in historic preservation education, training, and research through application of emerging telecommunications and Web-enabled technologies.
Section 403 of Title IV of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470x-2) formally established the National Center. In order to give the National Center direction and purpose, Part B of the section lays out these broad tasks:
- develop and distribute preservation and conservation skills and technologies for the identification, evaluation, conservation, and interpretation of prehistoric and historic resources;
- develop and facilitate training for Federal, State and local resource preservation professionals, cultural resource managers, maintenance personnel, and others working in the preservation field;
- take steps to apply preservation technology benefits from ongoing research by other agencies and institutions; Facilitate the transfer of preservation technology among Federal agencies, State and local governments, universities, international organizations, and the private sector
- cooperate with related international organizations including, but not limited to the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the International Center for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and the International Council on Museums.
The National Center thus is directed by Congress to work with international organizations and others to develop and apply preservation technologies for prehistoric and historic resources, and Congress further instructs the National Center to distribute and train others in the use of those technologies. In short, the mission can be pared down to three core areas: research, training, and partnering.
- NCPTT conducts preservation technology research
NCPTT undertakes research at its in-house laboratories, which include an environmental chamber that allows researches to test the effects of pollutants on cultural materials. More widely, the Center Stimulates new research through its nationwide grants program.
- NCPTT provides grants, creates partnerships
NCPTT maintains a broad partnership base that includes National Park Service sites; other federal agencies; state and tribal historic preservation offices; universities; private corporations; and local, state, national and international non-profit organizations. The Center provides direct and competitive grants to promote research and training opportunities in preservation technology.
- NCPTT serves as a trainer and convener
The Center develops and conducts regional seminars and workshops on topics like cemetery monument conservation. NCPTT promotes excellence in preservation by promoting historic preservation training and education opportunities for professionals through projects like the NCPTT Preservation Engineers Initiative.
- NCPTT serves as a Clearinghouse and Web Portal
NCPTT's website and publications enable the Center to deliver the latest news about preservation technologies to a variety of audiences. Also, NCPTT supports the distribution of preservation information through its grants and partnerships.
- NCPTT teaches preservation for future generations
NCPTT's Heritage Education program conveys to our youngest citizens the power of place and the stories behind our irreplaceable treasures. The program administers activities to enhance the educational experience by teaching students the value of their local heritage.
 Current Research Priorities
- Protect cultural resources against vandalism, looking, terrorism, and natural disasters
- Conserve architectural materials of the "recent past"
- Develop appropriate technologies to preserve houses of worship and cemeteries
- Monitor and evaluate preservation treatments.
- Study environmental effects of pollution on cultural resources
- Document and preserve threatened cultural landscapes
- Develop innovative techniques in dating, monitoring, analysis, and remote sensing of archeological sites and artifacts.
The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is organized into five main program areas:
NCPTT's Archeology & Collections Program seeks to foster and develop technological innovations and applications that enhance the preservation of archeological sites, landscapes, materials, and collections.
Eons of the human past are unknown but for the record people left in the ground and across the landscape. Industrial and technological developments of the last two centuries have threatened this record to an unparalleled degree. Even the process of doing archeology takes its toll on the very resources from which we seek to learn about the past. Modern technological innovations have, however, given us the capability of protecting these finite materials and places in ways that once were unimaginable.
 Architecture and Engineering
NCPTT's Architecture and Engineering Program encourages research and partnerships with organizations and institutions working to advance preservation technology for buildings and other structures.
 Heritage Education
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 Historic Landscapes
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 Materials Research
NCPTT's Materials Research Program consists of a group of researchers within the National Park Service who work in partnership with parks, laboratories, government agencies, universities and others to understand how cultural objects deteriorate with time. The program's goals are:
- To understand cultural resources decay;
- To develop and evaluate new treatments to protect cultural resources;
- To disseminate scientific results and preservation technologies through presentations, publications, and training for preservation professionals nationwide .
Special interests within the program are the study of outdoor air pollution effects on cultural materials and the preservation of historic cemeteries. Research projects are developed internally at the NCPTT Environmental Exposure Facility located on the campus of Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana, and externally through cooperative and interagency agreements, contracts, and grants.
- ↑ Office of Technology Assessment, Technologies for Prehistoric and Historic Preservation, #PB87-140166 (U.S. Congress, September 1986)