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The 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, Title IV (16 U.S.C. 470x-Section 405) provide that, “The Secretary, in consultation with the Board, shall provide preservation technology and training grants to eligible applicants with a demonstrated institutional capability and commitment to the purposes of the Center, in order to ensure an effective and efficient system of research, information distribution and skills training in all the related historic preservation fields.”

This report details the Preservation Technology and Training Grants program activities between Oct. 16 and March 20. NCPTT’s grants program supports innovative projects in archeology, historic architecture, historic landscapes, and materials conservation. The focus of these projects is preservation technology.

2008 PTT Grants Call for Proposals

This year for the first time NCPTT implemented a pre-proposal application process. Applicants were required to submit a brief one- to two-page abstract through NCPTT’s website that described their research or training idea. The pre-proposal offered applicants an opportunity to get feedback early in the grants process, while simultaneously allowing NCPTT staff to quickly identify proposals that fit with NCPTT’s mission.

The call for pre-proposals was posted on the website by September 15, 2007. A total of 137 were received by Oct. 15. Program chiefs reviewed and responded to each of the pre-proposals within five days of its receipt. Chiefs provided specific comments to help strengthen accepted pre-proposals and to provide future guidance for rejected pre-proposals. Staff invited applicants to submit full proposals if the pre-proposal was complete, addressed a national meed, fit the center’s mission, and seemed cost-effective. Authors of 78 pre-proposals were asked to submit a formal online proposal. A total of 63 completed grant applications were received and reviewed by NCPTT staff. Fifteen proposals were forwarded to a national panel for review. NCPTT staff felt that the pre-proposal phase of the grant process led to substantially better quality proposals submited to the program.

NCPTT convened a national review panel on March 11 by conference call. Prior to the conference call, panelists reviewed proposals and submitted comments and scores to NCPTT . Next, panelists were provided a ranked list based on their reviews prior to the call. The applications were grouped by those receiving high, middle and low scores. Based on discussions, six applications were recommended by the panel for funding and ranked by priority. Budget constraints permitted NCPTT to recommend only four for funding, although it was clear that many of the projects had the potential to significantly contribute to the development of new preservation technologies.

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Recent Grant Product Highlights:

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-04, High Definition Documentation in Archaeology, Principal Investigators: John Loomis, of the Kacyra Family Foundation, and Glenn Hill, of Texas Tech University. Loomis and Hill used a 3D laser scanner and high dynamic range digital camera, along with conventional surveying and GPS, to illustrate how these technologies can be employed to cut down dramatically on the time required to document the built, structural component of archaeological sites. They used Fire Temple at Mesa Verde as a test site. In 2007 at MEVE they conducted a two-week training workshop, a two-day overview session on high definition documentation, and four four-day training workshops. To disseminate their information even more widely they designed a webinar that reached 90 people. Major deliverables include a formal report, the stipulated on-site training, high definition documentation of part of MEVE, and DVD copies of the webinar for posting with all three collaborators.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-05, Development of a Rapid Indicator of Biodeterioration of Historic Stone Final Report, Principal Investigators: Ralph Mitchell and Christopher J. McNamara, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Biodeterioration plays an important role in the degradation of stone in historic buildings, monuments, and archeological sites. Microbial deterioration occurs through the action of organic and inorganic acids produced by biofilms. Detection of microbial deterioration of culturally important stone objects is difficult. The use of microbiological indicators of environmental conditions is common (e.g., E. coli is a key indicator of fecal contamination of water). The objective of this research project was to compare the microbial community on deteriorated and undeteriorated stone. The microbial community of both deteriorated and undeteriorated locations was dominated by Cyanobacteria. In undeteriorated locations the dominant organism was Anabaena cylindrica. In deteriorated locations, the dominant organism was Chroococcidiopsis sp. Differences between the communities suggest that microbial indicators could provide a simple and rapid means for early detection of stone biodeterioration.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-04, Architectural Records Conference: Preserving the Architectural Record, Final Report, Principal Investigator: Ingrid Bogel, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) presented a national conference, Architectural Records Symposium: Managing and Preserving Design Records, at the Chicago History Museum on July 16 and 17, 2007. The sessions were tailored to meet the training needs of collections care professionals on both theoretical and practical levels. Participants learned about the significance of architectural records; the array of materials and methods used to create them, from the earliest processes to those in use today; collecting policies; appraisal; intellectual control; preventive and remedial preservation measures; innovations in conservation treatment; methods of access; reformatting; and management of electronic files.

PTT Grant MT-2210-06-NC-03, Documenting the Arneson Theatre and its Landscape Using 3D Laser Technology, Final Report, Principal Investigator: Gary W. Smith, Texas Tech University College of Architecture. A preservation team of architectural students from the Texas Tech University College of Architecture led by Professors John P. White and Gary W. Smith completed HALS documentation of the theatre and its surroundings using a 3D laser scanner and AutoCad. Plant materials were identified by Anne Solsbery, a San Antonio Landscape Architect. Not only is this the first HALS project in the state of Texas, it is the first historic landscape to be documented for HALS using laser scanning technology. NCPTT has been provided with CAD drawings to HALS standards and a description of the process.

PTT Grant MT-2210-05-NC-09, Merging Aerial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Satellite Multispectral Data to Inventory Archaeological Sites, Principal Investigator: Doug Comer, on behalf of the Catalina Island Conservancy. Comer developed image analysis protocols for commercial aerial and satellite data that enable archaeological sites to be identified during rapid, wide-area planning level site surveys. NCPTT funds leveraged private funds that allowed Comer to develop prototype software to reduce image analytical processing time from five hours to 15 minutes, and the UCLA Cotsen Institute will provide ground truth testing in the future. Major deliverables include a formal report and protocols for detection through analysis of radar and multispectral images.

PTT Grant MT-2210-05-NC-11, Digital Archive of the Upper Tongue River Valley, Principal Investigator: Chere Jiusto, Montana Preservation Alliance. Jiusto studied the cultural landscape of the Tongue River Valley of Montana and created a digital archive of historic sites. The archive integrates GPS, site forms, and photographs and serves as a case study for the power of technology in protecting properties through innovative documentation. The project produced a one-hour video documentary that was distributed by Montana Public Television and provided as DVDs to county libraries, the Northern Cheyenne THPO, and the local school district.

PTT Grant MT-2210-05-NC-02, Acoustic Emission and Vibration Correlation, Final Report, Principal Investigator: David T. Biggs, PE, Fort Ticonderoga Association. Fort Ticonderoga and Ryan-Biggs Associates, P.C., as their consultant, performed testing on four stone-masonry walls to research vibration damage and the feasibility of using acoustic emission technology on historical stone-masonry. The Acoustic Emission and Vibration Correlation research project had three research objectives as summarized below:

  • To assess the correlation of vibration readings to visual structural damage in historical stone-masonry walls.
  • To determine the feasibility of using acoustic emission technology to detect damage in historical stone-masonry walls.
  • To determine the feasibility of acoustic emissions to predict signs of distress and sudden failure of historical stone-masonry walls.

PTT Grant MT-2210-04-NC-11, Lustron On-Line, Final Report, Principal Investigator:Jeanne Lambin, National Trust for Historic Preservation. . This grant resulted in Lustron Preservation (www.lustronpreservation.org), a web-based initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The website was created to help owners and advocates preserve Lustron homes by providing high-quality technical information and a forum for the exchange of information via the internet. The team produced a comprehensive website which includes information on the history of Lustron homes, advocacy, repair, maintenance, basic preservation standards and practices as well as a user-generated inventory of Lustron homes. The website is extensively illustrated with relevant images from the Lustron Erection Manual and, when available, contemporary and historic images.

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

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