Volunteers who have an interest in historic preservation and want to learn
new skills are invited to register for the upcoming three day workshop in Haines, Alaska.
Volunteers who have an interest in historic preservation and want to learn new skills are invited to register for the upcoming three day workshop in Haines, Alaska.
On May 3 to 5 the Alaska Arts Confluence and Port Chilkoot Company are partnering to host a three-day free masonry repointing workshop in Haines. Repointing is the process of removing deteriorated mortar from the joints of masonry and replacing it with new mortar.
Repointing, if done correctly, restores not only the physical integrity of the masonry, but also recreates the original appearance. The goal is not to repoint with a mortar that will create a totally different look.
The shaped granite (ashlar) foundations of the burnt-out barracks building at Historic Fort Seward near Haines will provide the platform for those who want to learn the intricacies of repointing.
Fort William Seward was originally named for the U.S. Secretary of State, William H. Seward, who arranged the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867. Ashlar is finely worked masonry. Carol Tuynman of the Alaska Arts Confluence said that two Italian stonecutters were imported to lay the original foundation.
The event is sponsored by the Vanishing Treasures Program and the National Park Service. The Vanishing Treasures Program supports the preservation of traditionally-built architecture, facilitates the practice of traditional skills and can provide a wide range of technical assistance to those with an interest in preserving cultural resources.
The workshop will be lead by Grant Crosby, senior historical architect with the National Park Service, and Sterling Holdorf, historical preservation mason.
A sample of the barracks’ existing mortar was sent to a lab by Holdorf in order to identify the components.
Once identified, the goal is to replicate the original mortar and remain as true to the original look as possible. This is done by collecting the appropriate raw materials for the mortar such as lime, Portland cement and the right coloured sand.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn how to perform basic condition assessments, mix mortar and repoint the building’s ashlar foundations.
Volunteers will also learn how to use of the tools and processes required to construct and repoint masonry walls.
Besides helping to restore a historical site, this work will be instrumental in the repairs and restoration of the barracks’ foundation which will soon be home to local art installations.
The Historic Fort William H. Seward Sculpture Garden project, sponsored by the Alaska Arts Confluence, will be a place to showcase sculptures created by local artists, which have been inspired by some aspect of Historic Fort Seward. Two sculptures are already on display and more will be installed soon.
The three-day workshop is also an opportunity to learn about the field of historic preservation and landmarks through presentations and slideshows. Of the 2,500 National Historic Landmarks in the United States, 49 are located in Alaska.
Registration for the hands-on portion of the workshop is limited to 15 participants. Registration is required. For more information contact Carol Tuynman at 907-314-0282.