Historic Preservation

Student Work
Professor Pamela Hawkes and students Caroline Dickensheets and Elizabeth Trumbell examine the framing below the floor in the Fir

The Preservation Studio is part of the core MSHP curriculum and is taken in the fall of the second-year building on the professional skills learned in the first-year core. The Preservation Studio is a practical course making architectural, urban and landscape conservation operations, bringing to bear the wide range of skills and ideas at play in the field of historic preservation. The work requires intense collaboration as well as individual projects.

The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation also offers elective studios in the spring, like the required Preservation Studio, the elective topics and sites vary semester to semester.  

Two figures behind an adobe stone wall

Between their first and second years of study Weitzman MSHP graduate students are required to complete a summer internship with a preservation-related organization. Internship opportunities vary; students typically perform site and condition surveys, documentation, inventories, mapping, historical research, feasibility studies, material analysis and treatment, etc.

Studio looking at material under a microscope

The thesis is a requirement for the Master of Science in Historic Preservation and a foundation of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation’s curriculum.  Mastery of the research process is essential for professional success and the progressive evolution of the field.  Theses are built on original research, and in some cases original design work or laboratory experimentation.  Individually and collectively, the hundreds of Penn Preservation theses represent an impressive intellectual achievement – and a good reflection on the intellectual and practical questions driving preservation practice.

Initiatives + Centers
people in desert studying rock formation
The Center for Architectural Conservation

The Center for Architectural Conservation conducts a full agenda of research and teaching dedicated to documentation, recording, field survey, material analysis, condition assessment, risk analysis, and the development of new treatments and treatment evaluation of historic structures and sites.

teens sitting on train track bridge

PennPraxis supports design action and thought leadership to advance inclusion, innovation, and impact in communities that design doesn't typically serve.

Three panelists sitting at a table talking
Making Sense

Making Sense: Interpreting Place in the 21st Century is a new initiative of the Historic Preservation Program dedicated to exploring next-generation ideas and practices of creative heritage place-making through innovative research and experimentation in interpretation.

interior of church
The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites

The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites (CPCRS) is devoted to the preservation of built environments that reflect and symbolize the civil rights movement in the US. CPCRS is committed to advancing the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage places commemorating the African-American struggle, before and after the passage of the 14th Amendment.

lab tech looking at items on desk
Architectural Conservation Lab

The Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACL) of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation supports the program’s curriculum in a state-of-the art facility where conservation science and technical studies come together to advance teaching and research in Architectural Conservation.

dilapidated homes
Urban Heritage Project

The Urban Heritage Project addresses issues at the intersection of built heritage, cultural landscape, societal change through multi-disciplinary research and practice.