Research Center Launches Historic Preservation Continuing Education Program

By Tom McLaughlin

This year marks not only the 250th anniversary of Rutgers University, but also the 50th anniversary of the National Historical Preservation Act. In the midst of such historical celebrations, a new program at Rutgers University–Camden is offering a unique opportunity to learn the processes and techniques of historic preservation in the living classroom of Camden and nearby Philadelphia.

CooperSt1-Rutgers-CamdenHistory enthusiasts and scholars, practitioners, and other interested members of the public can engage in public history, as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH) at Rutgers University–Camden launches the new Historic Preservation Continuing Education Program in September.

The non-degree, non-credit program is designed for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the vocabulary and discipline of historic preservation, explains Tamara Gaskell, public historian in residence at MARCH and co-editor of The Public Historian, the flagship journal in the field of public history.

“This includes everyone from members of historic preservation commissions, town planners, historic site administrators, and volunteers, to owners of old or historic buildings, town planners, architects, engineers, attorneys, and students,” says Gaskell.

The new continuing education program will offer an array of classes, as well as full- and half-day workshops. Experienced, working professionals will lead all of the classes and workshops, providing a realistic perspective on how the tangible remains of the past can be integrated within current environments.

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Tamara Gaskell

“Students will gain basic competencies as well as a more in-depth understanding of contemporary historic preservation practices,” says Gaskell.

Students will earn continuing education credits – with one credit earned for every 10 hours of instruction. The intent is that students will be able to apply these credits toward a certificate in historic preservation, which is currently under development. In order to be eligible for the certificate, students would have to take a combination of required classes – Introduction to Historic Preservation, American Architectural History, and Preservation Planning – and electives. All fall 2016 classes provide credit toward the American Institute of Architects continuing-education requirements. Students can also take single workshops and classes for their own enrichment and enjoyment.

According to MARCH’s public historian in residence, the Rutgers–Camden program fulfills the greater mission of public history by supporting public historians and others who are working to preserve the remnants of the past found in our built environment.

“Public history and historic preservation help connect people to their communities, enhance the quality of life, and promote heritage tourism and economic development,” says Gaskell. “Simply put, it builds stronger communities.”

For more information, contact Gaskell at (856) 225-6878 or tamara.gaskell@rutgers.edu.

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