Expand and strengthen careers in the historic trades.
The Campaign focuses on the skills needed to maintain, preserve, restore, rehabilitate, reconstruct, and deconstruct historic structures.
The Campaign seeks to provide all tradespeople with clear career pathways, accessible education, and secure employment. To achieve this, we work to:
- Register apprenticeships with the U.S. Department of Labor and state labor offices.
- Create open education training resources available online in English and Spanish.
- Work with stakeholders to support preservation trades programs, associations, and businesses.
- Develop statewide and national historic trades training opportunities that are accessible to all.
- Promote and recruit for the National Park Service’s preservation and trades programs.
- Advocate for historic trades training.
- Lead the national movement to strengthen and expand historic trades careers.
To create a career environment that is welcoming, supportive, diverse, inclusive, equitable, and accessible.
To ensure responsible stewardship of historic resources.
To promote quality craftsmanship, workplaces, and industry relationships.
To find impactful solutions and actions that provide concrete benefits to people working in the field
The Campaign for Historic Trades was founded in 2019 to address a national need that’s been accelerating for the last half century.
Historic structures need specialized care and attention. Americans recognized this and passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 1966. This created defined processes for historic preservation in the United States, through the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (SOIS). Historic structures owned by the federal government or receiving federal funding are required to both document and adhere to the SOIS, following the procedures outlined in the Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings (also known as “the Guidelines”).
Shortly after the passage of this NHPA, the preservation community realized a fundamental problem adhering to the law—the shortage of qualified craftworkers. In 1968, The National Trust for Historic Preservation issued the Whitehill Report on Professional and Public Education for Historic Preservation. The Whitehill Report details specific problems in finding qualified tradespeople and recommends solutions. Fundamental to these reports are the following points, quoted from the Whitehill Report:
- “Any program undertaken in the United States should be national and local in conception.”
- “The economic base for even this small group of skilled craftsmen is uncertain. The Federal Government gives very little recognition to these skills in Civil Service classifications.”
- “It is necessary to stabilize the employment, and insure the security, status, and professional future of the present supply of skilled craftsmen.” [sic]
- “The best method of training a craftsman is the oldest method—apprenticeship.”
The Whitehill Report also calls to establish training centers throughout the United States. Although this step has been undertaken by several institutions and partners – such as the National Park Service’s (NPS) Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) in Frederick, MD – these have lacked articulation and standardization between programs due to different outputs, curricula, and training durations.
In 2020, the ACHP revisited the Whitehill Report and provided updated recommendations in the ACHP Policy Statement on Promotion and Value of Traditional Trades Training. The Campaign for Historic Trades had a seat on the ACHP task force that drafted and issued this Policy Statement. As a program of Preservation Maryland and philanthropic partner of the NPS HPTC, it was poised to helm this industry-defining project. The Campaign’s priorities are guided by this Policy Statement.
The Campaign is dedicated to undertaking the recommendations laid out in the Whitehill Report and ACHP Policy Statement and ultimately – to ensure the goals and legal requirements of the NHPA are met.
There are many ways for individuals, businesses, organizations, and philanthropic groups to support The Campaign. Find out how.