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Programs of Study

Program Overview


Building Preservation/Restoration

The Building Preservation/Restoration (BPR) program at Belmont College is one of the oldest and most recognized programs of its kind in the nation. The program’s emphasis on “hands-on” learning has established its curriculum as a national model for traditional trade’s education.

The BPR program is designed to teach students the basic trades that are used to preserve and restore historic structures. Classroom education provides a foundation in preservation theory and history along with an in-depth technical analysis of why buildings and materials fail, and explores traditional and modern approaches used to stabilize and repair them. Curriculum is taught by instructors with a wide range of knowledge and experience in the field of historic preservation.


Students take their classroom knowledge and then apply it though workshops in order to learn the fundamentals of most of the basic trades. This allows individuals to challenge their skills by completing a number of precisely designed projects.

BPR students are also taken into the field where they practice the techniques learned in the workshops on real-world preservation projects. This includes working on the department’s own historic field lab house and completing community based projects, like restoring windows in a one-room schoolhouse, or repairing stained glass windows from a local church.


Career Possibilities

Graduates of the BPR program have found employment with the National Park Service’s Preservation Training Center, private preservation contractors, statewide non-profits, and historic house museums such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, Graceland, Montpelier, Stratford Hall, Mount Vernon, Lyndhurst, and Monticello, among others.

A sampling of typical educational and career paths for BPR students include:

  • Architect
  • Blacksmith
  • Carpenter
  • Curator
  • Decorative PainterInLineWeb_BPR2
  • Economic Development Specialist
  • Grant developer or Manager
  • Heritage Tourism Specialist
  • Historian
  • Historic Site Supervisor
  • Mason
  • Materials Conservator
  • Museum Administrator
  • National Park Service Specialist
  • PlastererInLineWeb_BPR3
  • Preservation Consultant
  • Preservation Contractor
  • Preservation Design Consultant
  • Restoration Artisan
  • Stained Glass Artisan
  • Section 106 Compliance Specialist
  • State Historic Preservation Office Specialist

Student Success Story

BPR Degree Leads to Great Career and International Travel

Immediately after completing her BPR degree in summer 2018, Sarah Aly spent a month traveling Europe performing restoration on multiple historic sites before returning to the United States to begin her new position as Historic Structures Manager at the Brucemore estate in Cedar Rapids.

Read more about Sarah’s story.


Program Outcomes

  1. Have a thorough understanding of historic preservation theory and be able to apply that theory in real life situations.
  2. Understand the materials and the basic concepts behind the techniques used in the preservation of historic buildings and be able to carry out those techniques when necessary.
  3. Function successfully in the work environment, developing a strong work ethic and an emphasis on quality workmanship.

Questions about the Building Preservation/Restoration (BPR) Program?

David Mertz, Professor and Program Chair


Nick Wittenbrook, Academic Advisor