In April 2022, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew Staff Milan Jordan and Molly Baker traveled to Christiansted, St. Croix—a US Virgin Island—for a project at the Estate Little Princess, a former sugar plantation and hospital. Today, the site is maintained as a nature preserve by The Nature Conservancy, and this spring it became a space for teaching the practice of stone masonry restoration to five local Crucian participants.

HOPE Crew launched in 2014 with the goal of bringing preservation and preservation trades to a younger, more diverse audience. This work is part of a concerted effort with preservationists across the country to grow the number of skilled historic preservation trades people nationwide. With Preservation Trades and Workforce Development serving as one of the key issue areas of the Preservation Priorities Taskforce—a partnership with the National Preservation Partners Network—the work of HOPE Crew is more important than ever.

For the five participants of the project, the work at Estate Little Princess became more than just a training exercise; it created opportunities to practice these new skills beyond this one program. Read the full article here.