Looking Sharp, Even at This Age

historic photo of mission church with pediment and roof missing historic photo of mission church with pediment and roof missing

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two men hold up a large pvc pipe to catch rain runoff from adobe wall collapse
A gentle rain in February of 2018 took down nearly 46 cubic feet of material from the west wall of the church.

NPS Photo

Preservation work at Tumacácori has been ocurring for decades, as has the evolution of preservation technique and philosophy.

It takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill to properly preserve the park's historic adobe structures. Each year, 2500 staff hours are spent in preparation for field work. This includes assessing the work that needs to be done, priortizing preservation projects, purchasing materials, planning logistics, and communicating with partners to clarify the goals of each preservation project. It is during this process that unforeseen problems are brought to the table and past experiences are reviewed to improve the quality of preservation work. Reports are completed after each project that will serve as future reference. Additional time is spent training new staff and outreach to local educational institutions.

Another 2500 staff hours are spent each year on "hands-on" preservation techniques to maintain the structures at the park's mission sites of Tumacácori, Calabazas, and Guevavi. Materials used for preservation are the traditional types of materials that were originally used to build the missions. The appearance of each work site is documented before and after each project.

An international collaboration known as TICRAT (Taller Internacional de Conservación y Restauración de Arquitectura de Tierra) brings architectural conservators and specialists from multiple agencies together.

man at podium, bottom ribbon reads "Frank Matero: University of Pennsylvania"

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

Watch "History By Design: The Tumacácori Visitor Center as Historical Pastiche"


All About Earthen Architecture

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    Preservation Strategy

    From a contemporary preservationist:
    Of Adobe, Lime, and Cement: The Preservation History of the San José de Tumacácori Mission Church by former Chief of Resource Management

    From an early preservationist:
    Mission San Jose de Tumacacori by Tumacácori's first superintendent, Frank Pinkley.

    From the field:
    Dirt Cheap: A Conversation with Adobe Brick Maker David Yubeta


    Last updated: September 9, 2022

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    P.O. Box 8067
    Tumacacori, AZ 85640


    520 377-5060

    Contact Us