January 25, 2011

Hancock Shaker Village and UMass Amherst: Call for Applications

Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Hancock Shaker Village and UMass Amherst Accepting Applications for New Graduate Degree Program in Historic Preservation and Design

The course schedule, meeting on alternate weekends (Friday afternoons on the UMass campus through Saturday evening at HSV), is designed to provide traditional graduate students, working professionals, and career-changers the opportunity to receive training from practicing professionals who would otherwise not have the time to devote to teaching. The program is for architects, contractors, builders, engineers, museum professionals, and owners of historic homes. This degree will help graduates meet the federal requirements to be certified as a historic preservation professional, a key to obtaining employment with cultural resource management firms, as well as state and local preservation agencies.

Hancock Shaker Village is a place not only to preserve the Shakers’ story, but to find meaning in the Shakers’ culture for our time. The values that the Shakers embraced—equality, nonviolence, community, sustainability, responsible land stewardship, innovation, simplicity, embodiment of a spiritual ideal, and quality in work—still resonate today.

Engaging the compelling landscape of the Village, the faculty and the rich resources of the Commonwealth’s flagship campus as well as the wealth of diverse architectural resources available from Albany to Boston to New York, the innovative program in historic preservation and building conservation aims to encourage scholars and professionals to become active agents in engaging those ideals today by providing an opportunity to study Shaker building theory and method, as well historic craft and trade knowledge that went into making “the Principled Life” in the context of contemporary preservation theory, emerging technologies, and responsible public history practice.

The curriculum offers field, classroom, and laboratory experience for students in historic preservation in and beyond the museum setting. Students will gain exposure to traditional building techniques that are now hard to find and perfect. As the Village undertakes new conservation projects, the students have the opportunity to assist in building condition assessments and the development of preservation plans and historic structure reports, while watching the construction and construction management process in the museum’s ongoing conservation projects.

The twelve-course curriculum is designed to be flexible enough for students to take one course at a time, or to follow the entire two-year curriculum. AIA continuing education credit certification is forthcoming.

The first year introduces students to the basics of history, theory, and research. It also follows a year-long sequence of courses to help them understand the nature of 19th and 20th century building materials—how they perform and how they fail. Using the fully-equipped wood shop, the students learn traditional construction practices while they learn building history. The second year includes a year-long course in lab-based materials analysis and testing; courses in historic structural and MEP systems; and coursework advancing students’ understanding of how the buildings were used in the 19th and early 20th centuries from a material culture point of view and an exposure to the regulatory framework that supports the profession.

The program culminates in the team production of a historic structure report (HSR), giving them a product that serves as a condensed portfolio of their building conservation skills.

For more information about the program, see and For more information about Hancock Shaker Village, see To reach Dr. Steven Bedford, call 413.443.0188 ext. 239 or write [email protected]

Media Contact:
Gina Hyams, PR Consultant
[email protected]

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