Allison Brashears, an AmeriCorps Member, is learning the tricks of the trades. Allison is serving with the Wood crafting section of the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC). Before taking this position, Allison had a “very limited background in hands-on preservation.” Over the course of her 26-week AmeriCorps service term, Allison has developed the precision skills in tool usage and traditional wood crafting methods to successfully complete tasks that require skill and patience.
Allison received forklift and aerial lift training and is now certified to use this equipment with supervision.
Being an HPTC preservation intern allows for a diverse growth a skills and opportunities. Allison has been working on several projects this term and has gotten the opportunity to travel this year - under safe guidance - to finish restoring the Roulette Family Barn at Antietam National Battlefield in Antietam, Maryland (learn more about the restoration of this structure here); help restore wood features of a Vanderbilt estate tool house and install double hung windows at the Franklin D. Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York; as well as, sanding new veneer on doors for the Arlington National Cemetery out of the HPTC headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. When asked about the door project for Arlington National Cemetery, Allison stated that, “we aim to preserve as much of the historic wood as possible. In doing so, we were consciously using wood that had developed idiosyncrasies over the years, making the doors unlevel and not square. Sanding the new-wood veneers for sections of the doors that we couldn’t reasonably save insured that the remaining wood was undamaged by such a tool as a planer.”
Sanding the veneer on the newer sections of wood to help preserve the historic wood sections that complete the rest of the door for Arlington National Cemetery.
Allison has also gained multiple certifications over her term thus far that can help her pursue a career in the field of historic preservation or other skilled-labor field once her term concludes. She will also be granted the Public Land Corps preferential hiring authority, giving her an excellent pathway into a position with a federal agency. HPTC has been partnered with Stewards since 2015 in which we have helped over 125 young adults and veterans gain valuable skills in historic preservation in a traditional, individual, immersive, internship-type experience for those interested in learning more about working in the preservation trades. These individuals typically have either some construction background or education experience in Historic Preservation. An internship with HPTC allows young people to work alongside experienced craftspeople on preservation projects in NPS units throughout the country.