I just had the great pleasure of doing a presentation on the historic trades and preservation for the Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps. Northern Bedrock was established in 2011 to help young adults enter the preservation trades by providing training and hands-on experience repairing historic structures and architecture. The founders of Northern Bedrock are aware that there are many historic structures and buildings that need appropriate maintenance and repair but the supply of competent and trained tradespeople is inadequate. Northern Bedrock hopes to provide a point of entry into the preservation trades by partnering with experienced professionals to provide training and share their expertise. Northern Bedrock uses a corps model where crews of young adults work and learn during a six month field season while working at historic sites across Minnesota. They provide an opportunity for corps members to explore the field of historic preservation and learn through hands-on experience and training.
My presentation consisted on two parts: A general overview of the field of historic preservation and a hand-on session where we used my collections of 1850s hand tools to build a part of a door. We set my workbench and tools up in their basement and went to work planing some pine stock to make a rail and stile for a door, laid out and cut a mortise and tenon joint and plowed a groove for a floating panel. The corps members were a delight! They were very curious, enthusiastic and eager to give my old tools a try. Although we went over lots of material very quickly, they asked many great questions and I hope they were able to learn something during my presentation.
Northern Bedrock is a fantastic organization and is addressing a need for for experienced tradespeople and preservationists. If you are between the ages of 18 and 25 and thinking about a career in the trades and have a love of history and our built heritage, give Northern Bedrock a look. It is a great bunch of people doing interesting things!