NBSS Preservation Carpentry students craft hand-built sheds each fall as part of their first-year curriculum, to practice basic construction techniques. You can own one of this year's hand-crafted sheds – there are two available for purchase! Find out more details here.
The comprehensive Preservation Carpentry program teaches the time-honored skills and values of fine craftsmanship. Our students share a love of history, materials, quality workmanship, and working with their hands to build, restore, and preserve beautiful structures that last.
The two-year program combines an introduction to contemporary residential construction with a foundation in pre-20th century New England home construction. You’ll learn a broad range of construction methods, including stabilizing endangered buildings, preserving architectural details, and recreating historical design elements. Through lectures, hands-on projects, and collaborative field work, you’ll gain an understanding of how current technology compares to traditional techniques. You’ll graduate with the skills needed to work with contractors and institutions specializing in preservation work, including historical millwork and interior finish carpentry.
The program space includes first and second year bench rooms, where each student is assigned a bench and work space, and a central machine room. New England’s rich historical legacy of pre-20th century buildings provides exceptional field projects. Such site work is often done in collaboration with non-profit museums and historical sites.
- Curriculum: Investigate what students learn over the course of the two-year program.
- Facilities: Virtually walk through the program spaces and bench rooms.
- Faculty: Meet our talented instructors, who are experts in their field.
- Tuition: Check out tuition, costs, and class hours.
- Careers: Explore the variety of careers available to Preservation Carpentry graduates and the employment outlook.
- Profiles: Read about our alumni, including how an education at NBSS opened doors for them.
- Admissions Info: How to get your application started and what you need to apply.
- Financial Aid: Your education is an investment. Learn about our financial aid options.
- Preservation Carpentry program brochure: Download at-a-glance details.
"Immediately after graduating, I was able to start my own company in Texas. We have grown into a well-respected contractor and historic millwork provider with clients across the country."
Brent Hull PC '93View More Preservation Carpentry Alumni Profiles
Students from our Preservation Carpentry program have been commissioned to build a full-scale reproduction of the surrounding entryway to the long-gone Hancock Mansion, which will go on exhibit in the Old State House in June 2018. Read an excerpt about the detailed research process of the project, written by the Collections Manager of The Bostonian Society.
The original front door of the long-gone Hancock Mansion on Beacon Hill recently emerged from storage as the Bostonian Society, its steward, seeks to exhibit the historic artifact at the Old State House. Students from our Preservation Carpentry program have been commissioned to build a full-scale reproduction of the fine Georgian home's opulent surrounding entryway, which will go on exhibit in the Old State House in June 2018.
"There's a reason why buildings from the 18th & 19th centuries are still standing," says Preservation Carpentry Department Head Steven O'Shaughnessy PC '99. Watch a video of Steven describing how our program trains "a keen eye to distinguish between the quality of materials, even before you begin the craftsmanship part of things."
Looking to replicate a historic form of theatrical audience seating, the Worcester Shakespeare Company needed look no further than our Preservation Carpentry program when it came time to build a "Lords & Ladies" seating gallery for its Jacobean-styled stage.
Two Preservation Carpentry alumni, Steve Brown and Greg Ghazil, were recently featured in an article by Woodworker's Journal, highlighting their preservation work at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. Greg says, "Our jobs at Mount Auburn are a nice balance of hands and brain. I love working with my hands, and the variety of projects here offers a constant challenge. Every project has a different set of issues to resolve."