workers build adobe bricks
Mixing mud for replacement adobes is a foundational skill of earthen architecture.

NPS Photo

For over 20 years the NPS has teamed up with Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the University of Arizona's Missions Initiative, and New Mexico's Cornerstones Community Partnerships to ensure that some of North America's most treasured adobe structures remain in place for the public to enjoy into the next century. At the center of this partnership is a series of workshops that bring together Mexican and American master crafts-persons, teachers, and participants to conduct hands-on workshops on adobe construction, building assessment, and preservation treatment. All sessions are communicated in English and Spanish and are for experts and novices alike. The workshop, called Taller Internacional de Conservación y Restauración de Arquitectura de Tierra, or TICRAT, is generally held in the United States and Mexico in alternating years. Since TICRAT became a bi-national effort, Tumacácori has hosted several of the annual workshops, and has played an integral role in helping coordinate TICRAT workshops, both north and south of the border.

The hands-on workshop format is designed to address preservation problems at particular sites, and enhance general adobe preservation skills. A variety of workshop locations are selected in order to expose participants to the many facets of adobe and plaster conservation. By the close of the workshop, the goal is for participants to come away with the ability to address adobe conservation problems in a proactive and informed way. "The TICRAT is a premier example of how partnerships can be used to erase borders, share preservation approaches and ethics, enhance resource preservation, and ensure the survival of traditional building skills and techniques," said NPS Vanishing Treasures Program Manager Lauren Meyer. "For the NPS, the benefits of connections made and skills learned at the TICRAT go far beyond Tumacácori.

Participants will take with them skills and knowledge that will greatly enhance resource preservation in their home parks, and throughout their agencies. They will also have the opportunity to see, first-hand, the strength and diversity of the far-reaching preservation community of which they are a part."

The NPS uses information from these workshops to enhance public education programs and highlight the shared heritage between the U.S. and Mexico. With standing adobe structures dating back to 1751, Tumacácori showcases the durability of this construction technique. The TICRAT workshop series has given preservation specialists skills to ensure these structures receive the best care so they may be enjoyed by future generations.

Last updated: June 19, 2020

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