Heritage Conservation Network was founded by two women with a strong, almost inexplicable attraction to dilapidated old buildings. Inspired by this love of historic buildings and understanding their value to the community, Judith Broeker and Jamie Donahoe collaborated on an innovative approach to preserving them. By organizing volunteer vacationsin the form of building conservation workshops that bring people to sites around the world, HCN is able to provide hands-on skills training, support community-based projects, and offer a great cultural experience while helping to save the world’s architectural heritage.

Technical experts teach and lead participants in their work. Each workshop is unique, with instruction and tasks tailored to meet the needs of the individual building or site. Volunteers, from near and far, work alongside members of the local community at a broad variety of project sites, from small log or stone buildings to imposing 19th century mansions.

Workshop participants pay a fee that covers their expenses. In exchange they receive skills training, hands-on experience in conservation, the opportunity to experience the local culture while restoring its history, and, some would say, the experience of a lifetime.

HCN seeks grants and corporate funding to cover the cost of project materials and expert conservators and to enable members of the local community to participate at minimal or no cost.

Historic preservation can be a powerful tool for change. In addition to providing rare opportunities for hands-on conservation training, HCN’s workshops address social issues such as job creation, safe housing, sustainable economic development, and environmental issues such as reducing waste and combating global warming. HCN’s workshops help communities restore, maintain and make use of existing buildings, keeping valuable building materials out of landfills, reducing the need for newly manufactured goods, and creating jobs in historic building maintenance and the heritage tourism industry.

Not all sites that request assistance are suitable for a hands-on workshop. In these cases, we draw upon our network of conservation specialists who are often able to provide the information or technical assistance needed. If you have a site in need, suggest a workshop.