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The Preservation Arts High School Program (PAT)

Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design (WHSAD)


Bronx International High School (BIHS)

The Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design (WHSAD), under the leadership of Principle Gill Cornell, is the first high school in the United States to include historic preservation as a full major. The PAT program was first piloted from 2000-2008 at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts (BHSA) as a special inter-disciplinary academic program focused on the preservation arts combined with an artisan skills training internship component.


The PAT curriculum is constructed to allow students to view traditional subjects through the lens of historic preservation by focusing on a specific historic structure or artifact to study the elements of its creation, preservation, and interpretation. Using this model, teachers work together using a common architectural theme as an expression of the period under study through which they can integrate their respective disciplines. Through the PAT curriculum students are prepared to meet the college prepraritory standards of the New York State Regents examinations.


The concept for a High School for the Preservation Arts was the result of a World Monuments Fund (WMF) 1993 symposium. The symposium highlighted: the absence of nationwide standards for the craft skills used in historic preservation; the limited number of existing programs to train people in these highly specialized skills that are needed to maintain our rich architectural legacy; the fact that historic preservation revitalizes communities; the increasing success of the preservation movement leading to greater numbers of designated historic districts; and the resulting need for skilled restoration artisans.


In 2000, thirty- four years since the passage of the 1966 Historic Preservation Act, the number of sites on the National Historic Register had grown from 1,000 entries to 70,000. According to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission at that time there were more than 1,000 individually designated landmarks and 73 historic districts in New York City. The number of these sites continue to grow and many of them will need restoration in the future with few skilled crafts people to fill the anticipated need.


The development of the PAT curriculum is a response to the need for artisans to restore this legacy. It is a collaborative effort by Kate Burns Ottavino, Director of Preservation Technology at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Building Knowledge, the World Monuments Fund, the New York City Department of Education (DOE), former New York City Council Member Ken Fisher’s office and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).


Students who graduate from the preservation arts program may contribute to the support of the preservation community in a variety of ways. Some may pursue post-secondary education and become architects, conservators, general historic preservationists, architectural historians and engineers.Others may pursue careers in different areas while maintaining an appreciation and interest in preservation for themselves and their community. Some may become preservation crafts people and contractors who find that there is a great demand for skilled preservation artisans in the building industry.


PAT Internships


In 1997, Kate Burns Ottavino,Director of Preservation for A. Ottavino Corporation, designed the preservation arts internship program in tandem with the PAT program for NYC high school students. The first site entailed restoring statuary in Times Square under the sponsorship of the Times Square Business Improvement District.  Interns workED under the direction of  A. Ottavino Corporation, the pilot artisan/industry sponsor of the internship program for the DOE.


Today the PAT curriculum at WHSAD is actively engaged with the preservation community, non-profit, government and industry organizations through its preservation arts internship program and "Preservation in Practice" lecture series. WHSAD ( working with the NJIT Center for Building Knowledge ( and the World Monuments Fund ( continues to grow the PAT program, helping to develop the preservation leaders of tomorrow. 


To start a PAT program in your community, participate in the PAT internship program with the WHSAD, or donate books on materials, consevation, and general historic preservation to the WHSAD library please contact Kate Burns Ottavinio at, call (973) 596 - 3097, or email her at


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