News Release

Cape Lookout National Seashore, UNC - Greensboro, and Partners Collaborate to Preserve Historic Portsmouth Village

Six people work on the roof of an historic house
UNC - Greensboro Students of the Field Methods in Preservation class, do preservation work on the Roof of the Roy Robinson house in historic Portsmouth Village at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

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News Release Date: May 25, 2018

Contact: BG Horvat, 252-728-2250 ext. 8906

HARKERS ISLAND, NC Cape Lookout National Seashore sponsored the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Historic Preservation Field School for the first time in the Portsmouth Historic District. The work, which took place from Monday, May 14th through Thursday, May 24th, involved cleaning, repairing, repointing, and identifying further priorities that ensure much needed preservation work at Portsmouth Village. UNCG’s field school provided the opportunity to hone the skills of the students, and their work will help protect the remote Outer Banks village.

The national seashore’s maintenance team hosted and provided support for the four undergraduate and six graduate students of the field school from the UNCG Department of Interior Architecture (instructed by Jo Leimenstoll, Professor and Director of Graduate Study), along with historic preservation contractors from Reudrich Restorations (owned and operated by Dean Ruedrich).  Together, they completed a significant amount of work in and around the village, in a short amount of time.
The completed preservation work list includes:
  •  Repointed brick piers under the foundation of the Historic Methodist Church.
  • Reassembly of 2 broken gravestones that were lying on the ground at the Grace cemetery.
  • Completed preservation efforts on several other grave markers at the Grace cemetery.
  • Repaired the roof, siding, and windows of the Roy Robinson house.
  • Assessed the conditions of four more buildings to identify the priorities for their repair and maintenance in the future.
  • Assessed the Community Cemetery for future preservation work.

The National Park Service invited the class, enrolled in Field Methods in Preservation Technology, to partner with them and restoration craftspeople, for two weeks of the three-week long field school. The course offers a unique model for providing out-of-the-classroom experiences and opportunities for building connections beyond the Greensboro campus by community engagement.

Portsmouth Island, which includes the National Register Portsmouth Historic District, is located on the northern end of the Cape Lookout National Seashore boundary. Ferry service is available from Ocracoke on Rudy Austin's Portsmouth Island Boat Tours (Passenger Ferry).

Eastern National Parks and Monuments Association and the Friends of Portsmouth Island were key partners in support of the project.

For more information on the UNCG Interior Architecture program, go to: For details on visiting Cape Lookout National Seashore, or Portsmouth Village Historic District, go to:


Last updated: May 25, 2018

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