The agreement with REMPART has enabled PV to engage in an international exchange of volunteers. REMPART is an acronym for "Union des Associations Pour la Réhabilitation et Entretien des Monuments et du Patrimoine Artistique" –Union for the Restoration and Preservation of Monuments and Artistic Heritage. Founded in 1966, it now numbers more than 150 member associations in France, plus some in England and Italy, and offers instruction in many restoration skills.
Pulling Together: Volunteers at the Esseillon Fort in France Although Preservation Volunteers has modeled its goals after REMPART's, there are differences. REMPART not only receives technical support from the Ministry of Culture, but it is heavily subsidized by the French government, which enables it to maintain its network of associations.
Some further details:
REMPART volunteers pay for their travel expenses, plus a small per-day fee to the local associations, which supply supervision, and lodge and feed the volunteers. There is no time limit to a project; chantiers, as the French call them, usually have a continuity, summer after summer, for many years. Volunteer work periods are typically two weeks at a time.
2004 in France: For the first time, PV sent volunteers to France, to REMPART chantiers: two to the 12th-century St. Pierre d'Avejan Church in St. Jean de Marvejols, being restored for use as a community center; one to a group of five Esseillon fortresses in the Alps; one to a redoubt in Merville-Franceville. All four of these volunteers were recipients of $1,000 "Travelships" from the PV fund set up for that purpose.
2005 in France: PV sent three volunteers to France. One worked at the St. Pierre d'Avejan Church, two at the ancient Esseillon fortresses.
Fifteen Years Old and Going Strong!
No longer a newcomer, Preservation Volunteers is advancing both nationally and, through its exchange program, internationally. Since 2002 French volunteers have been coming to the United States to work on American projects, and in 2004 and 2005 PV has sent American volunteers to France.
A 13th century French Chateau, its inner courtyard strewn with the stone blocks that seven centuries earlier had formed its walls and towers, was the inspiration for the founding of Preservation Volunteers. It was winter, 1978. Two Americans, Evelyn and Everett Ortner, traveling in Normandy, were intrigued by the fact that it was crawling with workers, perhaps twenty or more: French volunteers, the Americans were told. In 1998, twenty years later, the Ortners returned to see an amazing transformation: the guard tower and fortifications had been resurrected. The loose stones had all been put back where they had been centuries before. Displays in the huge lower vaults showed drawings and photographs by the organization that had been responsible for the magnificent reincarnation of the ancient chateau.That organization was REMPART--an acronym for "Union des Associations Pour la Rehabilitation et Entretien des Monuments et du Patrimoine Artistique"--Union for the Restoration of Monuments and Artistic Heritage. To Everett Ortner, an active preservationist, it was an inspiration. Everett Ortner is a photographer. His pictures of the Chateau Gratot, displayed at a meeting of the Brownstone Revival Coalition, an organization he helped to found and in which he is still active, got an instant response. BRC's President at the time, Dexter Guerrieri, liked the idea from the start. So from then on BRC became the de facto “incubator” of PV. Later, with the help and guidance of REMPART, Preservation Volunteers modeled itself after that organization, and, 3 years later its first projects came into being.
In the course of restoring historic structures in both nations, Preservation Volunteers assists in revitalizing communities and bringing their histories to life, while offering its volunteers a broadened cultural experience and valuable training in sometimes lost skills. In addition:
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