In March 2014, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Corps Network launched a new program to train thousands of young people in useful, hands-on skills as they complete historic preservation projects throughout the country. Called the “Hands On Preservation Experience,” or “HOPE Crew,” the program makes a positive difference in the lives of future preservationists and in the communities where they serve.
The National Trust and The Corps Network operate the HOPE Crew network in partnership with a range of organizations, including The Corps Network’s Service and Conservation Corps members, the National Park Service, and veterans’ service organizations.

HOPE Crew + The Corps Network
Each HOPE Crew project is a partnership, with the Trust providing preservation expertise, a partner (such as a Corps) providing crew participants, and a site-owner providing the historic property in need of preservation. Youth corps act as contractors on projects and provide the labor, tools, training, room and board, insurance, and materials. As a result, the projects are approached in the same manner as a commercial contractor would.

Expert Craftspeople 
The Trust coordinates with its broad network of partners and preservation experts to ensure that, at each local HOPE Crew project, preservation craftspeople are present to mentor and oversee the work of HOPE Crew members. These craftspeople provide instruction in a range of preservation bricks-and-mortar techniques, answer questions, and ensure the Corpsmembers’ work meets preservation requirements. 

Marketable Skills
The skills Corpsmembers acquire in HOPE Crews make them competitive in the job market and open opportunities for a new generation of preservation craftspeople. Many Corpsmembers join the National Park System, for example, to continue their service on public lands. Others will join trade apprenticeship programs. Some are college bound. Today, approximately 20 Youth Corps programs offer preservation training in a range of skills, including: 

  • foundation stabilization 
  • wall assessments
  • tuckpointing and re-pointing
  • erosion control
  • masonry
  • painting and refinishing
  • log replacement
  • backfilling
  • establishing proper drainage
  • archaeology
  • lead abatement
  • roofing
  • restoring and rebuilding historic trails
  • carpentry


For more information about the HOPE Crew program, please contact Marie Walker, COO of The Corps Network, or visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website.


HOPE Crew in the News

HOPE Crew: Video Postcard from the White Grass Dude Ranch
PreservationNation blog – Located in Grand Teton National Park, just outside of Moose, Wyoming, the White Grass Dude Ranch operated from 1919 until 1985 when it was acquired by the National Park Service.
October 5, 2015

Painting the Desert: How a Neutra Marvel in Arizona Is Inspiring Multiple Generations
PreservationNation blog- The nearly 150-mile park, located in eastern Arizona, is best known for its large deposits of petrified wood, a beautiful natural phenomenon, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.
August 31, 2015

HOPE Crew Restore Historic Porch at Fort Hancock
NJTVNews – Building 26 is the former post headquarters for Fort Hancock, today’s it’s still the headquarters for the Sandy Hook Unit. (New Jersey Youth Corps- Phillipsburg)
August 18, 2015

HOPE Crew restores Hampton National Historic Park in Towson – The Hampton National Historic Park in Towson is getting a bit of a face-lift. Seven workers with the Hands On Preservation Experience, or HOPE Crew are replacing several porches on the old farm house. (Civic Works)
August 13, 2015

HOPE Comes To Historic Painted Desert Complex – TThe National Parks Service has recently begun work to restore the Modern-designed Richard Neutra Painted Desert Community Complex at Petrified Forest National Park. (AZCC)
August 12, 2015

Local youth preserve historic buildings
ABC News10 – Working to preserve that (Keweenaw) history are a group of local students who are doing weatherization projects at these buildings, such as the headquarters of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. (SEEDS)
July 29, 2015

PHOTO: Heinrich Participates In Restoration Service Project At Bandelier National Monument
PRESS RELEASE, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) participated in a restoration service project with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps’ Hands-On-Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew at Bandelier National Monument
July 2, 2015

Bandalier National Monument HOPE Crew video, ABandalier National Monument protects over 33 thousand acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back 1,100 years. .
July 29, 2015

[Q&A] Checking In: Shelby Reflects on Experience and Skills Learned a Year after HOPE Crew
PreservationNation Blog, Corpsmembers from the Michigan-based SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps talks about rehabilitating the historic Goffar Barn at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
July 13, 2015

With a Little Help from Our Friends: Local Friends Group Brings HOPE Crew to San Antonio Missions
PreservationNation Blog, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a Texas icon, has recently been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
June 29, 2015

Where Preservation is Needed, there is HOPE (Podcast 64)
Preservation Technology podcast, the show that brings you the people and projects that are advancing the future of America’s heritage.
July 7, 2015

Crafting a Passion: Hands-On With A Job You Love
HuffPost Live Interview with Monica Rhodes of The National Trust for Historic Preservation
July 7, 2015

HOPE Crew: Lessons from a Year in the Field
Preservation Leadership Forum Blog
March 9, 2015

New Generation of Preservationists at work in Raleigh National Cemetary 
North Raleigh News
November 19, 2014

Hope Crew Restores Historic Shotgun Houses in Atlanta
PreservationNation Blog
November 6, 2014

A Different Kind of Summer Vacation: HOPE Crew Helps Historic Barns
PreservationNation Blog
October 15, 2014

Young People Improving their Lives, Preserving History
WGCL-TV Atlanta (CBS)
October 3, 2014

Military Veterans Tackle HOPE Crew Project at Custer National Cemetary
PreservationNation Blog
August 25, 2014

Major Preservation Efforts Underway at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
July 30, 2014

Here’s How You Train the Next Generation of Preservationists
Huffington Post
July 17, 2014

Corps Values
Preservation – The Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Summer 2014

Passing Down the Passion for Preservation with Hands-On Work
PBS Newshour
June 10, 2014

Corps Youth Crews Rehabilitate Historic Stable
Northern Virginia Daily
June 4, 2014

NJ Negro League Park Gets Landmark Status
April 16, 2014

Project Examples

* = individual placement: project that required a single Corpsmember. 

Hinchliffe Stadium
Paterson, NJ
NJ Youth Corps

  • painting

Skyland Stables
Luray, VA

  • carpentry

LBJ Cabin
Johnson City, TX
Texas Conservation Corps

  • log replacement 

Old Santa Fe Trail Building
Sante Fe, NM
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, NM

  • stucco, masonry

Woodlawn Estate
Alexandria, VA
Earth Conservation Corps

  • carpentry, painting

Goffar Barn
Empire, MI

  • carpentry, repointing

Little Big Horn Battlefield
Crow Agency, MT
Montana Conservation Corps

  • headstone resetting

FDR National Historic Site
Hyde Park, NY
Conservation Legacy*

  • slate roofing 

Delaware Water Gap
Layton, NJ

  • doors, windows, siding

White Grass
Grand Tetons – WY
RMYC – Colorado

  • roof repair

MLK National Historic Site
Atlanta, GA
Greening Youth Foundation

  • carpentry

Raleigh National Cemetary
Raleigh, NC
NW Piedmont Service Corps

  • repointing

Fort McHenry/Sandy Hook Unit
Highlands, NJ
NJYC Phillipsburg

  • porch restoration

Portsmouth Village
Cape Lookout, NC
Conservation Legacy*

  • roof replacement

Hampton National Historic Site
Towson, MD
Civic Works

  • stone replacement

Bandalier National Monument
Los Alamos, NM

  • barn stabilization

Prince William Forest Park
Triangle, VA
CCC West Virginia

  • window and cabin rehab

Lemon House
Gallitizin, PA
Conservation Legacy

  • roof, chimney repair

Appomattox Court House 
Appotmattox, VA
Conservation Legacy*

  • window preservation

Keweenaw National Historic Site
Calumet, MI

  • basement and window repair

African House
Natchitoches, LA
American YouthWorks (TxCC)

  • timber frame roof, carpentry