Historic Preservation Students Create Finials for Smithsonian

#1360 | May 2, 2013

SAVANNAH – Savannah Technical College Historic Preservation students recently completed 35 cast metal finials for the Smithsonian Institution.

Students in the College’s Advanced Preservation Skills class created finials or spear point replacements for damaged window grilles, originally installed in 1881 at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

To create the spear points the students made 14 sand molds, mixing sand with resins to harden the mold. Students used a template made by Enberg Mold and Tool in Kingsland, Ga. The class poured the steel into molds at Carolina Metal Casting in Hardeeville, S.C. Then, students removed extra metal, known as gating, from the pieces. Finally students filed them down and painted them with a rust inhibiting primer.

The College was invited to assist with this project by a Smithsonian representative, who visited the Savannah campus last year for the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) Stained Glass window workshop. Sharon C. Park, the Smithsonian Institution’s associate director for architectural history and historic preservation, was impressed with Savannah Tech’s students’ metalwork for fencing.

“The historic preservation profession needs programs such as the one at Savannah Technical College that can train the next generation of crafts persons,” said Park. “The Smithsonian was pleased to have the metal spear points made by the students to help us restore our 1881 National Historic Landmark Arts & Industries Building.”

This was one of the three projects for the Advanced Preservation Skills class this semester. Students also built a dry-stone wall on campus and created stained glass ornaments and metal hooks for a College fundraising event.

Savannah Tech has the only public hands-on preservation program in the state. The program has gained international recognition and has contributed to a number of community-based preservation projects in the surrounding communities. The program is the cornerstone of new instructional programs in Green Building Technology, which focuses on a comprehensive view of systems and efficiencies in construction.

For information about Historic Preservation at Savannah Technical College, contact Steve Hartley at or 912.443.5864.


Historic Preservation Department Head: Stephen Hartley or 912.443.5864

Media Contact: Amy Shaffer, APR

912.443.5512 or

Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (