University of Oregon

Historic Preservation Program

2016 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School


(Photo courtesy of the National Park Service) 

General Information 

The 2016 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School will be held at the beautiful and historic Mount Rainier National Park. This year’s field school offers the opportunity to learn and work in one of the nations most iconic parks. The 2016 PNWFS at Mount Rainier also coincides with the Centennial Celebrations of the National Park Service. The field school will be based out of the national historic district of Longmire, the historic and current administration headquarters of the park. From Longmire, we will have access to a wealth of educational opportunities, which will include repairing historic masonry, backcountry preservation, and wood/timber frame construction.

The Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School curriculum is designed to attract participants from all walks of life, from novices with little background in the field but who possess a love for heritage and a desire to learn, to undergraduate and graduate students, to practicing cultural resource professionals. The University of Oregon's Historic Preservation Program developed this Field School to provide participants with the opportunity to experience preservation firsthand.

The field school is intended for anyone interested in working in a hands-on environment and getting experience working with preservation craftspeople in the spectacular Pacific Northwest. The typical class varies in age, skill, background, and interest, but the common thread is always enjoyable learning. Incoming graduate students in the Historic Preservation MS Program are required to enroll for at least one session as part of their graduation requirements. Many participants have used the field school to launch into historic preservation, and many graduates of the University of Oregon's program got their start at the Pacific Northwest Field School.

Session Dates 

Session 1: August 7-12, 2016   SESSION FULL

Session 2: August 14-19, 2016  SESSION FULL

Session 3: August 21-26, 2016

Session 4: August 28-September 2, 2016 

*All dates will be from Sunday arrival by 4pm to Friday 7pm departure.

All sessions entail hands-on-work, documentation, and various preservation related activites--including field trips. Evening lectures will focus on the week's specials theme, but can and will delve into other areas of preservation. 

Projects & Themes 

Session 1: Backcountry Preservation

This year we have the chance to work on one of the four extant fire lookouts within the boundaries of Mount Rainer National Park. Fire lookouts began being built throughout the park starting in 1916. The four remaining lookouts were designed by the National Parks Landscape Division and were constructed between 1932-1934. These fire lookouts are at some of the highest elevations in the park, and were used to alert officials of forest fires in the park. Currently, fire lookouts are far less used as they once were, and therefore are becoming rare resources.

Note: This session is intended for anyone looking to experience the ruggedness of Mount Rainier National Park while at the same time gaining skills in the craft of preservation. Intensive hiking will be required to reach the worksite, as the lookouts are all above 5,000 feet in elevation.

            Projects could include:

                        -Roof Repair

                        -Site work including erosion control and work on foundations

                        -Restoring damaged siding

                        -Repairing damaged floor of cat-walk

                        -Efficient and sensitive winterizing techniques


Session 2: Historic Masonry 

Winters are tough on the historic resources of Mount Rainier, and evaluations are still being made to determine what is most important for field school to work on, but there is no shortage of opportunity to work on historic masonry throughout the park. From the foundations of the famous Paradise Inn to Civilian Conservation Corps built ranger huts, Mount Rainier National Park has an abundance of historic stonework.  This includes several bridges that span the many creeks and rivers throughout the park. One possible opportunity for field school is the St. Andrews Creek Bridge. This rustic but beautiful bridge was built in 1931, and spans 26 feet over the St. Andrews Creek. The West Side Road, created in 1924, allows access to the bridge. The road remains unpaved and allows viewers to experience what the park would have looked like in an earlier time. The bridge is concrete, but has a veneer of native granite stone. Officials at the park claim that Italian masons, brought to the park based on their exquisite craftsmanship, built the bridge.

            Projects could include:

                        -Structural inspections

                        -Repointing of mortar between stones

                        -Sensitive cleaning of stones


Sessions 3 and 4: Seasonal Workers Cabins at Longmire

Cabins known by the park as L123 and L125 have been chosen as the perfect opportunity for projects for this year’s field school. Located in Longmire, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built these cabins between 1936-1937. They are perfect examples of the rustic style of architecture within the park. In fact, along with a recently restored cabin known as L-124, the three buildings reflect one another and their arrangement provides a communal setting.  All three cabins are covered with board-and-batten siding, and also incorporate large timbers. Historic window lovers will “ooh and awe” over these cabins as most of the historic windows are intact!

            Projects could include:

                        -Repair or replacement of sill beams

                        -Window restoration

                        -Rafter restoration

                        -Roof cleaning and shingle replacement

                        -Mothballing techniques

Historic information for Mount Rainier National Park including the resources field school will work on can be found here! 

Credit & Tuition 

Field School participants can earn two (2) graduate or undergraduate level credits from the University of Oregon for each repeatable one-week session, grading is on a pass/no pass basis.  

  • Not for credit: $900
  • Two (2) undergraduate credits: $1100
  • Two (2) graduate credits:  $1250
  • Additional credit: $200 per director's approval

Tuition includes food, lodging, and transportation during each week-long session. Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the rendezvous site.

Travel & Accomodations 

            Location: Longmire, Washington in Mount Rainer National Park

            Driving:  Directions will be given upon request

            Flying: The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is 2 hours from Longmire

            Meals: Food is included in the cost of tuition

            Accommodations: Housing arrangements are being finalized



Click here to apply!



There will be two scholarships offered for the 2016 iteration of the Pacfic Northwest Preservation Field School. Deadline for Scholarships is June 1st. The Director's Student Scholarships are available, but not limited to, individuals planning a career in the preservation field, who without this funding assistance may not be able to attend the Field School.  The recipient must be taking the Field School session(s) for academic credit.  The award covers tuition for one field school week and additional travel expenses. The Scholarship application will be included in the general application when it is made available above. 



Shannon BellShannon Sardell is the Director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School, a non-tenure track Historic Preservation professor at the University of Oregon, and a consultant in historic architecture. She maintains a consulting practice that focuses on historic architecture with research interests that include preservation technologies and box construction in the Pacific Northwest. Shannon, a graduate from both the University of Oregon's Architecture and Historic Preservation program, currently teaches a field recordation, condition assessment, HABS/HAER, and Preservation Technology for the University of Oregon’s historic preservation program.


Don PetingDonald Peting, Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation Program, is the founder of the Preservation Field School. He occasionally teaches part time in such areas as architectural design, preservation technology, and historic structures. He is an historical architect and maintains a consulting practice that focuses on 19th and early 20th century architecture and his research interests include traditional building technologies, early powered mills, and seismic retro-fitting of historic structures. He has been a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome since 1978. In 2005, the National Council for Preservation Education honored his educational career with their James Marston Fitch lifetime achievement award.


Amy McCauleyAmy McCauley is the owner of Oculus Fine Carpentry, Inc., a window and door specialty business. She has been working in construction for the past 13 years in the Portland-Metro area, six of them devoted to developing Oculus. Her emphasis is in working with traditional tools and techniques; some of her notable projects include the Pioneer Courthouse, A.T. Smith House, Delaney-Edwards House, Virgil Crum House and the Gardener’s House at Shore Acres State Park.


Sterling Holdorf

Sterling Holdorf is a Preservation Specialist for Channel Islands National Park and currently supervises a preservation crew that strives to preserve the unique collection of historic structures at Channel Islands National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California.  Sterling began his career with the National Park Service in 1987 while working for the maintenance division at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).   In 1998 he began working for RMNP’s preservation crew, focusing on the rehabilitation of the historic McGraw Ranch.  During his time at RMNP, he had the opportunity to work on preserving many of the Park’s 172 historic structures.  Sterling obtained a certificate in Historic Preservation from Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania and is a 2002 graduate of the Preservation and Skills Training program(PAST) administered by the National Park Service in Frederick Maryland.   He is currently serving as a mentor in the PAST program.  Sterling lives in Ventura California with his wife and two children.

Donald HoukDonald Houk  Don Houk worked as a carpenter/builder and began with the Park Service at Olympic National Park in 1987 working on the Trail Crew. Don got involved with the backcountry structures in 1989, doing repairs and reroofing projects. He left the Park Service in 1993 to work for himself again full-time doing repair and remodel work. Don returned to the Park in 2003, and in 2006 became the official Backcountry Carpenter, at which point he started a preservation program to address the needs of the more than 30 structures in the backcountry of Olympic that are listed or are eligible to be listed on the National Register.


Past faculty at the Field School have come from the U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington State Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, and the professional preservation community.



The Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School would not be possible without the continued support of federal, state, and local agencies. Collaborating sponsors for the 2016 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School include:

  • University of Oregon
  • National Park Service
  • Idaho State Historical Society
  • Idaho Heritage Trust
  • Oregon Parks & Recreation Department
  • Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
  • Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation


Historic Preservation Program
School of Architecture & Allied Arts
5233 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5233

Field School Director
Shannon M. Sardell, Non-Tenure Track Professor

For more information