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Thread: Historic preservation, or planning degree with preservation courses?

  1. #1
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    Historic preservation, or planning degree with preservation courses?

    Looked through the threads, and couldn't find anything on this.

    I'm looking into graduate planning programs, and I've really come to like the ones focusing on historic preservation. The problem is, I don't know if I would be pigeon holing myself if go into one of those programs. Is a generalist or specified approach good?

    I've considered architecture/urban design, but I'm not the greatest artist.

    Would it just be smarter to get the regular planning degree, and add some preservation courses/internships?

    some background info: Recently graduated, B.A. in anthropology (cultural-anthro and archeology concentrations) and art history. After spending a year internship cleaning small obsidian flakes with a toothbrush, decided archeology/museums wasn't gonna cut it.

    Any opinions/thoughts/advice on preservation related programs?
    Last edited by moonrobot; 29 Aug 2006 at 5:44 AM. Reason: clarified question.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    A starting point is to look at the National Council for Preservation Education
    (NCPE) Guide to Academic Programs in Historic Preservation and Allied Fields.
    http://www.ncpe.us/pages/1/index.htm

    Look at each schools Areas of Emphasis.

  3. #3
    I have an MSHP with cognate in Urban and Regional Planning. At the time I got my degree, planning was the most likely place to find employment, so I went that direction. Fortunately, I'm with a small city and get to do a lot of different stuff, including preservation. Now, it seems there are many, many more opportunities to work exclusively in preservation.

    I think it is possible to add course-work toward a cognate whether it be planning or HP, and offer yourself the widest opportunity to find work that will be rewarding.

    Certainly check out my alma mater, Ball State. It has excellent programs across the board in the college of architecture.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Here at the University of New Mexico, they have a planning Masters and a certificate program in Historic Preservation which, in my mind, is a smart way to go. I am finishing the Masters and considered the certificate, but the prospect of MORE coursework made my wife threaten my with a knife. Ok, not really, but I just can't afford the extra time.

    It is somewhat of a specialization, so I do think it is good to have a wider breadth for employment purposes (having a BA in Cultural Anthropology and an MA in Folklore Studies, I appreciate the lack of job opportunities).

    One thing I found very useful in deciding where to focus my coursework was to look at currently available jobs. It gives you a good idea of the nature of the work (ie. polishing obsidian tools) and the number of jobs that might be available.

    Here are some places to start for historic preservation:
    http://www.preservenet.cornell.edu/employ.html
    http://www.preservationdirectory.com/employment.html
    http://www.eculturalresources.com/jobs.php

    Good luck
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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    I am the Historic Preservation Planner for a city and my degree was in Community and Regional Planning. I did not have a lot of Historic Preservation experience prior to this job. I worked in two historic towns prior but no real experience. I suggest a certificate or lots of courses but not an entire degree.

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    Thanks for the links and advice!!! Going to be looking through them today. There are a lot of programs which sound interesting, now I have to do the hard part and make a shorter list, then after I take the gre, make an even shorter one

    A broader approach makes more sense to me, I'll try and get experience in a few different areas once I get into a program. Maybe I can channel my archeology training into historic preservation internships.

    ...a bit off-topic

    wahday:
    (having a BA in Cultural Anthropology and an MA in Folklore Studies, I appreciate the lack of job opportunities)
    Nice to know someone else was in the same boat! Ever get that puzzled look when you say anthropology? I've become really good at one sentence answers or changing the topic. Its not all Indiana Jones or CSI!!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by moonrobot View post
    Nice to know someone else was in the same boat! Ever get that puzzled look when you say anthropology? I've become really good at one sentence answers or changing the topic. Its not all Indiana Jones or CSI!!
    Try telling them you have a graduate degree in...Folklore

    My new hilarious joke is tell people I now know what you do with a Folklore degree...go back to school in planning! (its a real side-splitter)

    Really, though, there are some very interesting and innovative ways to apply your anthro/archaeo experience at work (at least I have managed to do so). In glancing through some of those historic preservation jobs a while back, there seemed to be a lot of archaeology-related positions. Maybe not dealing with subject matter as old as stone tools, but archaeology nonetheless...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    Savannah College of Art and Design offers an online masters program in Historic Preservation. They also have an online graduate certificate program in Historic Preservation.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.scad.edu/elearning/programs/historicpres.cfm

  9. #9
    Cyburbian time+space's avatar
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    moonrobot, I finished my MSHP recently and also have a BA in anthro and art history. we have some things in common! I also spent some time in archaeology (colonial, not prehistoric), conducted historic resource surveys, and worked for NPS in past internships.

    Right now, I'm working at an affordable housing organization. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just gotten an Urban Planning and Policy degree with a concentration on community development and get hands-on experience in HPres through jobs/internships. I can see the value of an HPres degree if one enters an architecture/design field where you'd need to have a specialized training in historic architecture and building systems, materials, etc. But If you are interested in Preservation Planning, it is probably best that you get a broad, generalist training.

    Good Luck!

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