Bucks Offers Hands-On History at Washington Crossing Park

NEW DATE: Register by Sept. 18 for Preservation Site Project (HIST 214), which includes field work at the historic site.

Bucks County Community College, which in 1991 became the first community college to offer a historic preservation program, is offering a Saturday morning class that includes field work at Washington Crossing Historic Park.

Preservation Site Project (course code HIST 214) is a three-credit primer on how to examine a historic structure and its condition, and then prepare recommendations for repairs and interventions. Over the course of the semester, students will prepare a Building Assessment Report for the case-study building, which will be one of the historic structures in the park.

This class project will incorporate lessons from the lectures and the field sessions.  Field survey work will include measurement, photography, mapping of deteriorating conditions, and sampling of paint and mortar.

Patricia Fisher-Olsen, coordinator of the college’s historic preservation program, says the new course is the perfect combination of theory and practice.

“This class allows our students to take theoretical knowledge and to apply it to a real preservation project – not a theoretical project from a book or a case study,” Fisher-Olsen explains.  “As a class, they will work in teams to determine what happened to the structure and develop a plan for its restoration.”

What’s more, the historic setting is inspiring, she adds.

“What also what makes this class a unique is that the site chosen is right here in Bucks County, at Washington Crossing Park.  Our students will have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing restoration work at one of our country’s most historic sites.”

Preservation Site Project will be taught by adjunct faculty member John Evans, a designer and project coordinator at Preservation Design Partnership in Philadelphia. Prior to joining PDP, he worked as a preservation specialist at RMJM/Hillier Architecture – an international architectural design firm – and as an architectural conservator at the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust. As a designer, Evans has worked on several National Historic Landmarks, including the Virginia State Capitol (designed by Thomas Jefferson), President Lincoln’s Cottage, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building.

The class meets Saturday mornings from 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. from September 21 to December 14. Lectures will be held in historic Tyler Hall on the campus at 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, with field work conducted just a short drive away at Washington Crossing.

Introduction to Building Assessment is part of 24-credit certificate offered through the Department of Social and Behavioral Science. For more information on the program, contact Pat Fisher-Olsen at 215-968-8286 or fisherol@bucks.edu. To register for the course, visit www.bucks.edu/register or call Admissions at 215-968-8100. Registration deadline is Wednesday September 18.

Jean Dolan
Assistant Director, Public Relations