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Fieldwork Abroad

During the summer months between the first and second years of the program many of our students embrace the opportunity to study abroad. Whether through a MSHP sponsored fieldwork trip or a summer internship with US/ICOMOS, we value the chance for our students to apply their preservation skills abroad and learn from other cultures' preservation techniques.

In the past our students have traveled with the MSHP program to Genoa, Italy and County Waterford, Ireland to document vernacular structures. Read more about these field schools on the MSHP Travel Blog.

Molana Abbey, County Waterford, Ireland

Student Working in Ireland

MSHP grad students spent June of 2013 and 2014 documenting Molana Abbey in County Waterford, Ireland. Working with archaeologists from University College, Cork in Ireland and Mercer University in the US, the team of historic preservation students produced architectural documentation drawings and a conditions assessment report to support the abbey's stabilization to be carried out by the Irish Ancient Monuments Commission. Molana Abbey is in need of repair and our students' drawings will help guide the work of the masons and conservators who will follow.

Molana Abbey is located on Ballynatray Estate on the banks of the Blackwater River and is linked to the beginnings of Christianity in Ireland. Founded in 501 AD, the abbey became an important early center of religious learning. The earliest surviving portions of the abbey are said to date to the 11th century.

To see the students' drawings of Molana Abbey click here. Additionally, the abbey was the focus of MSHP alumna Claire Achtyl's thesis titled The Structural and Material Evolution of Molana Abbey, Ballynatray Demesne, County Waterford, Ireland, Site WA037-011: A Mortar Composition Study.

Villa Chichizola, Genoa, Italy

The Charles E Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies is housed in the Villa Chichizola, built in 1899 by Arturo Caimi. To learn more about the villa, click here.

A historic structures report or interior finishes analysis has never been conducted in the villa. The MSHP Field School in Genoa during the summers of 2011, 2013, and 2014 completed this documentation process.

Students in Italy

To accomplish this the students completed:

  • Archival research to include; creating a grammar of interior surface treatments for this early 20th century house. Attempt to identify significant time periods for the villa.
  • Documention through measured drawings two of the villas most significant rooms.
  • In situ investigation of the building fabric to establish where sampling and finishes analysis will provide the most information.
  • Laboratory analysis of sample cross sections ( to include microscopy-reflected light and photomicrographs)
  • Creation of a contextual image of the interior finishes at a significant period of time (especially looking for the earliest finishes)