National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT): Preservation Technology for Climate Change and Historic Structures

NPS Unit: National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT)
Location: Natchitoches, LA
Project Title:   Preservation Technology for Climate Change and Historic Structures
Pay: Interns will be paid $12/hour for a total of 480 hours.
Position Description: The intern funded under this proposal will work with the NPS Climate Change-Cultural Resources Program (CCCRP) and the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology (NCPTT) to plan a workshop on the impacts of climate change on historic building styles and materials. Planning activities will include compilation of existing literature on environmental tolerances of traditional architecture and materials, work with NPS climate change staff developing park-level and regional climate change projections, and research and coordination with historic preservation technology and NPS facilities staff responsible for building and structure maintenance. Working with CCCRP and NCPTT mentors, the intern will help identify an appropriate target location, attendees, and case examples for the workshop, and assist with preparation of necessary funding proposals.  Final products of the internship will include the workshop plan and updates to the cultural resources climate change impacts handbook (currently in preparation) based on the gathered research. The updated handbook sections will serve as supporting material for the workshop.This intern project is a critical next step in developing the science of climate change impacts on cultural resources. The workshop this intern will help to develop will address questions such as: what do we know about how building/structure styles are suffering or are likely to suffer as local climate trends progress? What additional research is needed? Ultimately, is there a need for new guidance in assisting persist historic buildings and structures under climatic conditions that have changed since the time in which they were built? Historical technical preservation specialists have tools and expertise to address these questions, but have not yet been organized to do so at a national level. This workshop and its planning are a necessary step in doing so.
Learning goals: The intern will learn about climate change in three different capacities. First, the intern will learn about the downscaling process for climate change models, how climate drivers are defined, and how the ranges of uncertainty around those climate drivers (temperature, precipitation, etc.) are expressed. Second, the intern will be deeply engaged with the nitty gritty process of translating uncertain climate driver projections into potential actual measurable physical stresses on the built human environment. Finally, through the process of gathering relevant research and developing workshop plans and objectives, the intern will gain familiarity with how traditional, vernacular, and historic building materials and styles were designed for and functioned in the environments in which they were constructed.  In this way, the intern will see climate change, environmental variability, and the process of human adaptation through a long time lens.
Mentoring: The proposed intern will be based at NCPTT with immediate supervision by Andy Ferrell, Chief of Architecture and Engineering. NCPTT, in addition to its technical expertise in historic preservation technology, has a long history of conducting workshops and hosting outside researchers. Thus, this arrangement will provide a range of support in terms of access to technical preservation expertise, practical guidance in how workshops may be envisioned and brought together, and a supportive visiting and collaboration environment.Marcy Rockman, Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for Cultural Resources, based in Washington DC, will provide secondary supervision with respect to climate change information, adaptation  models, and anticipated form and direction of the proposed workshop. This supervision will be primarily remote (via email and phone).
Qualifications: Intern should have primary coursework in:

  • Heritage preservation; or
  • Materials science/architecture

And supplementary coursework in:

  • Heritage preservation (if not major coursework), or
  • Materials science/architecture (if not major coursework), or
  • Environmental science relevant to climate change, or
  • Anthropology, geography, or historical fields relevant to issues of climate change and heritage
Position Dates: Internship is planned to last 12 weeks. Anticipated start date is June 1, 2013, however, this start date is flexible if necessary for an appropriate candidate.
Housing Available: Housing is not included with the internship. However, intern-appropriate housing is available in the area.
Vehicle/License Required: Intern will not be required to have a personal vehicle or a license to be able to operate a government vehicle. However, it is helpful to have a vehicle in Natchitoches
Work Environment: Work environment will be predominantly an office and lab/library environment. It is anticipated that local fieldtrips to become familiar with NPS historic properties and consider climate change impacts from an on-the-ground perspective will be included in the internship experience.