Earn Certification in Applied Historic Preservation with HistoriCorps Institute™

HistoriCorps Institute™ is the education and training arm of HistoriCorps®, the nationally recognized leader in mobilizing citizens to save and protect places that matter. Through our Certification in Applied Historic Preservation, students participate in HistoriCorps’ award-winning hands-on projects to learn the skills necessary to successfully complete a preservation construction project on time, on budget, and with the quality deserving of historic places.

All of the instruction meets or exceeds the The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings. Students entering the program regardless of age or construction experience graduate with skills that can help jumpstart a new career, augment an academic program, meet continuing education requirements, or just help authentically repair and maintain their own older buildings.

HistoriCorps Institute is not constrained by a single campus location, building type, style or material. Projects take place throughout the year at locations all over the United States in rural, suburban and urban contexts. By providing a diversity of projects and sites, students gain the flexibility to match project interest with busy personal schedules and finances.

So get your head, hand and heart connected. Browse through the website and catalog, ask us questions, then join our growing community of people that value learning by doing and care about the quality of our built environment today and for future generations to come.

Certificate in Applied Historic Preservation

Students can earn the Certificate of Applied Historic Preservation by completing the following criteria:

Students must send application, completed coursework, and final portfolio to institute@historicorps.org to receive credit. 

Contact institute@historicorps.org for options and pricing. 

You Will Learn

  • How traditional building systems balance aesthetics, cost, and function.
  • How to choose the proper materials, operate the tools and master the techniques required to safely conduct hands on preservation interventions.
  • To critically diagnose causes of material failure and offer solutions for proper preservation treatment.
  • The value of teamwork and the role proper planning play to deliver a successful preservation construction project.
  • To demonstrate the skills and knowledge acquired to move forward toward career and education goals.


The HistoriCorps Institute program is designed to meet the time demands of today’s busy students and professionals. You may participate when you want, where you want and as often as you want. All eligible HistoriCorps preservation construction projects are divided into week long, hands-on modules that equate to 50 student contact hours. You may enroll in one week or multiple weeks. We even offer daily enrollment for certain projects.

Project-Based Learning Objectives

The scope of work for preservation projects typically involve multiple tasks of work, design, and physical intervention strategies dependent upon scale and existing conditions of the project building or structure and the owner’s desired outcome. Therefore, students have the opportunity to experience proper construction methods in foundation and structural systems, drainage, exterior and interior finishes, roofing, windows, doors, interior walls and partitions, ceilings and floors. Materials include masonry, wood, metals, glass, and a variety of exterior and interior finishes. Emphasis is placed on their use in preservation projects and construction techniques for completing the project.

Most preservation construction projects involve subjects of historic or cultural significance. A major factor embodied in these buildings and structures that matter are aesthetic in nature. Character defining features, styles, and building types blend into a finished composition that stirs feelings in the observer. In order to properly intervene in the repair or replacement of damaged or deteriorating fabric, the student must diagnose the cause of the problem. Conditions assessment is the first step in a preservation construction project and students will have the opportunity to help determine the cause and offer solutions for appropriate intervention. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

This course engages students in the critical role safety plays in performing a successful preservation construction project that assures protection for the participants and the environment. Students will participate in daily safety circles to review hazards, safety and emergency response plans, compliance, and incident reporting. Emphasis is placed on safety planning in the context of OSHA and ISO 14000 standards.

Preservation construction projects require an appreciation of how the wide range of materials, methods, costs, personnel, and scheduling impact a successful outcome. Working on historic buildings often present challenges in the field not anticipated in the pre-planning phase of the project. Emphasis is placed on student contribution to modifications of plans, schedules and reporting in the face of real world contingencies.

No preservation construction project can be delivered on time, on budget, with the quality expected without leadership. Leaders make decisions. Followers make decisions, ironically making them leaders in given circumstances. Decisions can be made alone or with others, but always relative to others. Leaders make decisions and accept and work within the consequences of those decisions. Students will have the opportunity to break into smaller teams during the project and practice their decision making and leadership skills. Emphasis is placed on demonstration of effective leadership skills which is the process of influencing others towards a common goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any adult (18 or older*) who is passionate about history and architecture that wants to learn how to save places that matter for future generations. Generally, students entering HistoriCorps Institute programs are interested in jumpstarting a new career, meeting continuing education requirements, travelling to new places, augmenting an academic program, or learning how to repair and maintain older buildings.

You will learn the hands-on and decision making skills required to successfully complete a real historic preservation construction project. You will also make new friends and join the growing community of people that appreciate the design, craftsmanship, and history associated with places that matter. Most importantly you will gain a great sense of pride and satisfaction from preserving a part of our collective heritage.

No! You and your team will be guided throughout your project by professional and patient Project Supervisors and Crew Leaders who are passionate about providing you with a quality experience and sense of pride of accomplishment.

Generally, you will become part of a team consisting of a Project Supervisor, Crew Leader, and 6-10 students. Many students enroll in projects with friends or members of their family. Regardless, you will have a chance to interact with a diverse group of people from all walks of life associated with the project and its history.

Yes! After completing a project or individual course, you will receive a transcript showing your accomplishment. We also award the Certificate in Applied Historic Preservation. You must complete a minimum of 5 week-long preservation project sessions to receive your certificate.

As part of your experience with HistoriCorps Institute, you and your team members will conduct and record assessments of what you learned individually and as a team each day. In addition, The Project Supervisor will complete an evaluation of the total team performance at the end of the project. We will provide you with a syllabus and a transcript showing the amount of hours you spent, the learning objectives and learning outcomes achieved along with copies of the evaluations. You may present these documents to your college professor or academic advisor as proof of your leaning. The award of academic credit is totally at the discretion of your college or university.

Unlike traditional single location campuses, our project sites are based all over the United States in rural, urban, and suburban contexts. Classes run throughout the year.

Review the current Project Schedule and choose the project that best fits your interest, time of year and budget. (PLEASE NOTE projects fill up quickly-so it is best to apply and enroll as soon as possible to insure your spot.)

Complete the HistoriCorps Institute application and remit along with your one time application fee as soon as possible to reserve your spot in the queue, or contact institute@historicorps.org for more details. 

Join us for a NEW preservation education experience! HistoriCorps’ Architectural History team is looking for a few enthusiastic and curious volunteers to help investigate historic buildings on National Forests in Wyoming, Colorado and Oregon this year!

Learn more about the Architectural History Program