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Put your hands on history – you’ll be glad you did!

AiP jammers scrambled along scaffolding to document wall paintings at the massive stone tower house in old town Gjirokastra, a World Heritage site. Laser scanning proved an invaluable tool in documenting the artwork and discovering hidden images.

Gjirokastra, Albania - September 2014


Our Impact

We are as passionate about saving historic buildings as we are about the many reasons for saving them. Read on to learn about the compelling benefits historic preservation provides and why we say preservation is a powerful tool for change.

Did you know that reusing an existing building can actually help an entire community reduce its carbon footprint?

2011 report from Preservation Green Lab also found that it could take from 10-80 years for a new building to be a net positive on climate change, even using energy efficient technology. These are two of the many reasons we at AiP believe historic preservation is important in building a sustainable future.

Adventures in Preservation has been part of the effort to be kind to our planet since 2001 by saving remarkable historic buildings for integrated community use. Our volunteers re-plaster, repoint, repair and restore architectural heritage in the United States, Kosovo, Albania, Ghana, Italy and more.

Did you know that reusing a building creates more jobs than building a new one?

Study after study has confirmed this and many other economic benefits of historic preservation. In new construction, a project can be broken down into 50% labor and 50% materials. In a typical rehabilitation project, 70% of the total cost is labor. Adaptive reuse projects are especially powerful in generating long-term job opportunities.

Communities throughout the world are eager to work with AiP volunteers to keep their historic buildings in use through the ecologically friendly practice of historic preservation.

Did you know that preserving historic buildings preserves a community’s identity and boosts its earning power?

In a well-received TEDx talk, Urban Land Institute scholar Ed McMahon made the case that in today’s economy, the quality of place matters the most. The more a community enhances its distinctiveness – architectural, cultural, artistic – the more people want to go there, which is the essence of tourism.

Since AiP began working in the World Heritage City of Gjirokastra, Albania, heritage tourism is up, with new restaurants in the bazaar and cosy B&Bs opening in the city’s distinctive tower houses, spurring additional public and private restoration projects.

Did you know historic buildings serve as a record of human creativity and ingenuity?

Vernacular buildings reflect local designs developed over time to address the environment, the landscape, and the economy of using local materials. Polite architecture reflects changes in style, design, and technology over time. Collectively, historic buildings showcase human achievements and remind us of where we’ve been.

AiP volunteers helped the Francis Mill Preservation Society restore the Francis Grist Mill, a charming example of the Carpenter Gothic in rural North Carolina. In just three years, they brought the structure from a state of near collapse to a being fully functioning industrial heritage site that hosts school groups from around the region.

Did you know that once a historic building is gone, it’s gone forever?

You can help our project communities reap all the benefits of historic preservation while you enjoy a great hands-on learning experience. Come join an adventure in preservation and Learn, Explore and Preserve.


Volunteers’ Reviews

What People are Saying about AiP’s Innovative Programming and the Change Powered by Preservation

“This experience was the top. My main interest is in preservation so it is tricky to find volunteer vacations that take into account, to my knowledge AiP is the only one that does. … For me, it is very important if I am to do some strenuous work that I have someplace comfortable to go back to aka a hotel as opposed to a tent so that is where AiP separates itself from the rest.” 
Caroline Dudkowski - Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2016

“I cannot begin to tell you how awesome it was to dig with Dave and Thane. They are so knowledgeable and I learned so much during the week. Even more than that, as a mom I was just so impressed with how they were able to engage my daughter. We have three children and Sammy will be the first to admit she doesn’t always feel comfortable trying new things. She is now an archaeologist!!! She found her passion and it was so awesome to witness…We will be doing a AiP project next summer….we can’t wait!!!” 
Angie Ryder - Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2016

“I like the field trips and getting to know the local area – I think it definitely puts the project in perspective. I just had a really good time – Thane and Dave are great teachers with a lot of experience with volunteers and students which definitely gives them an edge.” 
Caroline Dudkowski – Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2016.

“David and Thane did an outstanding job of teaching us and letting us DO! They shared their knowledge of archaeology and Fairfield plantation without talking too much. They also did a great job of making us feel important and not like lame newbies.” 
Calley – Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2015

“While my primary interest is preservation and not archaeology, I was given opportunities to work on tasks more closely related to preservation. This was as simple as being able to map fallen wall sections, but it helped to allow me to see the connections between archaeology and preservation.” 
Victoria – Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2015

“I think the fact that AiP has been to Gjyrokastra for some time now and the local are accustomed to seeing volunteers they almost embrace you as a part of the community.  I am not good remembering names…especially when they are not easy ones and I was on first-name bases with most of the locals I saw daily in the community. I loved this part.” 
Sue Robinson, Heritage Conservation in Gjirokastra, Albania 2015.

“This project was a wonderful introduction to archaeology and historic preservation. I work as the chairperson of an online university history program and will be strongly recommending the workshop to our students.” 
Damon Freeman – Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2015

“By being part of a project I learnt so much more about the local culture and met people I would never have met as a tourist.” 
Jennifer O’Connell – Skenduli House Project, Gjirokastra, Albania 2014

“I had such a great time learning about the history of Virginia and getting hands on experience. It was something I will always remember and talk about with others as often as I can.”
Lauren Manning – Archaeology and Preservation at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, 2014

“My favorite part of the program was learning something new and experiencing the beauty of Gjirokastra.” 
Alicia Yoder – Skenduli House Project, Gjirokastra, Albania, 2014