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Preservation Technology Field School – Old Salem

December 27, 2007

Applying mortarEvery May, Old Salem Museums & Gardens and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro offer a unique programme for those studying historic preservation.

The Preservation Technology Field School is a six-week hands-on experience for graduate students (undergrads may enroll with permission of the instructor) interested in historic preservation and architectural fields.

The Field School teaches preservation techniques important to restoring homes and buildings.

It provides analytical tools and background to help in identification and dating of materials, methods used in original construction, dating of paint types and colors. These tools are intended to allow students to understand the construction and alterations to historic buildings, which allow informed decisions on how to accurately rehabilitate or restore buildings.

The class consists of a mixture of expert lecturers (including independent consultants as well as staff from UNC-Greensboro, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, the State Historic Preservation Office, and Preservation North Carolina), study trips to historic sites in the region, and hands-on experience working on a nearby local site.

The Old Salem National Historic Landmark District, where the classes are held, is also used as a working laboratory.

For more information about the 2008 Architecture Field School, please contact John Larson , Vice President of Restoration.


Town of Salem 

SalemSalem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians – a Protestant faith that began in what is now known as the Czech Republic.  The Moravians were missionaries who established an earlier settlement in Bethlehem, PA before moving south to North Carolina.  In 1756 they established a 98,000-acre tract of land “Wachovia”, of which Salem was one of a handful of small settlements. 

The Moravian Church and Salem residents kept meticulous records and accounts of their lives, their interactions, their buildings and landscapes, and their evolution into the town of Winston-Salem.  These records, diaries, and accounts provide accurate details to tell the stories of those living and working in Salem.

Salem residents were also well respected for their architecture and eye for detail.  The architecture and landscape of Salem are still quite accurate, as many of the Historic Town buildings are original structures. 

Salem was also known as a trades town because of the town’s production of essential goods like tools, ceramics, furniture, metals, and food.  Today, costumed tradesmen and women re-create life in the 1700s and 1800s by producing these goods using traditional eighteenth and nineteenth century practices.

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