Technical Services Program

NCPTT offers a range of services to help the National Park Service and other agencies in the cultural heritage sector achieve their mission. The following is a list of technical services that we are currently able to offer.

NOTE: Some of these services are only available to NPS and DOI agencies at this time; please inquire about particular services.

Field Services

Historic structure evaluations:

Deterioration issues with historic structures are identified and diagnosed by an historic preservation professional who can/will provide recommendations for appropriate interventions.

Dr. Catherine Cooper takes a mortar sample.
Dr. Catherine Cooper takes a mortar sample.

NPS Photo | NCPTT

Non-destructive evaluations:

Non-destructive test methods for diagnosis of historic building materials and structures utilize a suite of inspection tools and techniques to validate structural details, and identify deterioration without damaging sensitive historic fabric.

Mortar sampling and analysis:

An historic preservation professional can/will come out and take a mortar sample for analysis completed at the NCPTT labs. This is often done in preparation for repointing historic masonry structures in order to recreate the mortar recipe and match the hardness, permeability and pigmentation of the historic mortar.

Cemetery/Monument evaluation:

An historic preservation professional can/will assess the condition of a cemetery or monument site and make recommendations for treatment, conservation, or training of local personnel.

Pesticide Survey:

Non-distructive/non-invasive analytical methods are used by a conservation professional to determine the presence/absence of heavy metal pesticides (e.g. arsenic, lead, mercury) on organic objects in natural history, ethnographic, or archaeological collections. The professional can recommend precautions for care and handling of contaminated objects.

Analytical Services

Jason Church uses a universal tester to examine compression strength of mortar.
Jason Church uses a universal tester to examine compression strength of mortar.

NPS Photo | NCPTT

Materials analysis:

Materials analysis utilizes a host of scientific equipment and methods to identify unknown materials (such as coatings), and characterize historical and architectural materials (such as brick, metals, mortar, or paint) as well as identify their composition and compatibility with other products. Some techniques, such as paint analysis, can also be used to determine the approximate age of various building elements. Recommendations are provided to guide field work; in some cases a preservation professional can come out to collect samples for analysis.

Catherine Cooper analyzes archaeological artifacts in the NCPTT labs.
Catherine Cooper analyzes archaeological artifacts in the NCPTT labs.

NPS Photo | NCPTT

Laboratory testing:

Laboratory testing can be used to evaluate the compatibility and performance of products and treatments for use with historic materials. Methods such as accelerated weathering allow technicians to evaluate the performance of a material or product over time. Recommendations based of this testing are provided to guide field work.

Jason Church demonstrates how to reset a headstone.
Jason Church demonstrates how to reset a headstone.

NPS Photo | NCPTT

Training Services

The historic preservation staff at NCPTT can also assist with training personnel to care for their own historic structures. Some of the training courses that we teach include:

  • Cemetery Care and Maintenance
  • Advanced Monument Conservation
  • Preservation of Ornamental Ironwork
  • Application of Traditional Limewash
  • Custom On-demand Training

If you are interested in learning more about any of these services, please contact Jason Church or Catherine Cooper at (318) 356-7444.

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