Director Jon Jarvis encourages all NPS programs to increase engagement of youth and diverse populations. The National Center also recognizes that preservation is very much a community affair. As such, it makes a conscious effort to reach out and share its staff and expertise with those outside of its traditional audience.


NCPTT called on preservation technology leaders to help with the first ever Preservation Technology Fair at the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers annual meeting in Suquamish, Washington. In September, a day-long technology fair was held that brought together ten experts on geophysics, 3D scanning, building evaluation, wood science, and more. Heritage Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the nation’s heritage, provided information on emergency readiness, including a related smart phone application developed in partnership with NCPTT. National Center staff provided attendees with information on past PTT Grants as well as the 2013 call for proposals.


The National Center reaches out to youth with a variety of hands-on laboratory-based activities. In April, NCPTT’s joint faculty researcher, Carol Chin, led a group of ten girl scouts through a science lesson and tie dye hands-on lab assignment. Students learned about the chemistry behind the dyes they were using and had fun in the process. The girls were excited about working in a lab and wearing the end results. Chin was assisted by staff members Debbie Smith and Mary Striegel, as well as intern Dennis Gibson.

The Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring Program is a worksite-based program for young men and women ages fourteen through twenty. This year NCPTT sponsored a new Explorer’s post working with high school students on design and development of robots in engineering. The Explorers met weekly with NCPTT’s Curtis Desselles as they prepared for local and regional robotics competitions.


NCPTT provided technical assistance to writer Ernest J. Gaines, author of “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “A Lesson Before Dying,” for his family cemetery located in Oscar, Louisiana. Staff member Carol Chin led a walk-through with volunteers to assess the conditions of the grave markers and to discuss the potential presence of unmarked graves in the cemetery.


Students enjoy hands-on lab experience at Lee H. Nelson Hall.

Students enjoy hands-on lab experience at Lee H. Nelson Hall.

Today’s students are engaged in activities that cross disciplinary boundaries and NCPTT is happy to be part of the learning experience. Jason Church provided a live webinar for middle and high school students on documenting cemeteries. A group of students at Arlington High and Middle Schools took advantage of emerging computer technology to learn more about the historical mysteries that can be solved in cemeteries. As part of a class project led by teacher Barry Jurgensen, these students from a small town between Fremont and Omaha Nebraska participated in a live webinar on cemetery documentation, which was broadcast from NCPTT headquarters at Lee H. Nelson Hall. In collaboration with the NPS Midwest Regional Office, NCPTT provided guidance to students who are preserving the oldest cemetery in their town.


NCPTT offered students an opportunity to learn about non-traditional science careers through this summer’s Conservation Scientist for a Day program. Fifteen students, grades six through twelve, learned about the role of the conservation scientist, use of the scientific method in preservation of cultural heritage, and the application of laboratory testing in studying cultural objects. They examined low and high-fired pottery and documented Native American and French Colonial pottery fragments. Students also performed diagnostic tests on objects using microscopy, chemical spot tests, and portable X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.



NCPTT intern Stan Ponomarev demonstrates robot construction to a student at the 2012 Robotics Camp.

NCPTT intern Stan Ponomarev demonstrates robot construction to a student at the 2012 Robotics Camp.

In its second annual robotics camp, NCPTT introduced students to the excitement of science and technology. Fifteen students, ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, participated in the week-long camp. Participants built and programmed their own robots, then competed against one other to test their navigational skills. On the final day of the camp, they demonstrated their robots to parents and members of the community. The workshop was co-sponsored by Weyerhauser, the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, and the Friends of NCPTT.



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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119