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Learning Places

Learning Places offers continuing education using the combined methods of service and long-distance online learning to help communities save their cultural resources. A new approach to learning the concepts and the best practices for applying preservation treatments and cultural resource management services for resources in Montana, Idaho and adjoining states will be implemented within online modules of the syllabus completed by the cohorts of enrolled volunteer/students for the preservation of their own choice of historic property.

The intersection of Preservation, Public Policy and Educational Technology is where this project dwells so that a working solution can be found to the research questions posed by others and Learning Places leader, including:

  • How can a grassroots effort use online service learning courses technology for volunteers’ continuing education help save beloved cultural resources?

  • Why do Cascadia and the Intermountain States lag when it comes to applying for incentives to help qualified preservation projects under the historic tax credit and other federal/state programs?

  • Would finding the answers to these questions, via the implementation of an online course in preservation education, result in more preservation efforts that are conducive to building resilient communities?

At first the Learning Places course will include the case studies selected by the instructor. Later cohorts will eventually read about previous student led projects as the examples are compiled for future modules and archival purposes. In this way the online course can become an organic resource bridging the founders of the early cohorts with those future generations of learners.


Project Leader

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Barry Sulam is a licensed architect registered with the State of Montana, a former faculty member at Montana State University’s School of Architecture and currently a candidate in the Doctoral Program for the American Studies Department at the College of Letters and Science. Barry had a career as a regional historical architect with the National Park Service (NPS) when he initiated the Cooperative Program for Architectural Conservation at MSU’s Cheever Hall in 1997.  His familiarity with the cultural resources of the West expanded with the NPS Intermountain region’s parks and partners in the northern Rockies.

Past projects in historic preservation in Montana and Cascadia include:

  • Glacier National Park:

  • National Trust Favrot Grant funded Historic Structure Report for Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier N.P.  

  • Produced the 6 part documentary “Shipwrecks: Submerged Cultural Resources in the National Parks for Montana Public TV, including Fire and Ice episode for Lake McDonald.

  • Community Planning assistance through Montana State outreach for Cascade, MT.; Deer Lodge and Grant Kohrs Ranch NHS.

  • Sand Point Idaho:

  • Produced a study of Design Guidelines for a planned unit development preserving open space in Sand Point, Idaho


Donations are tax deductible.Contact us to let us know if you would like to volunteer directly with this project.