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  • Writer's pictureHistoric Ithaca

Meet Monica: Our New Work Preserve Trainer at Significant Elements



We're thrilled to introduce Monica, our new Work Preserve Trainer, who joined us on May 13, 2024. Monica brings a wealth of experience and a passion for historic preservation, making her a perfect fit for our team. We sat down with Monica to learn more about her background, what excites her about her work, and why she believes in the mission of Historic Ithaca and Significant Elements.


Q: What past work or life experiences led you to your position?

Monica: In addition to my recent experience working in building maintenance and construction, many moons ago I worked at Rejuvenation in Portland, Oregon when they were still focused on historic preservation. While employed there, I got an in-depth old house education. I especially enjoyed learning to restore vintage light fixtures and hardware.


Q: What hands-on project has been the most fun?

Monica: Bringing vintage light fixtures back to life!


Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

Monica: I love teaching trade skills through the lens of historic preservation. As a trainer in the Work Preserve program, I can teach participants a variety of tool skills while working on projects like lighting restoration that directly connect them to the ethos of preservation.


Q: What do you like to do on your days off?

Monica: I really do love working on my old house. I also love gardening and hiking around the beautiful Finger Lakes.


Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Monica: I love to weld and have a small metal fabrication shop at home. I’ve worked on everything from old farm equipment to custom-made furniture, gates, and garden elements.


Q: What would you say to them as to why we (Historic Ithaca and Significant Elements) are worthy of your support?

Monica: When I teach participants to restore an old light fixture, a mortise lock, or any other piece of architectural salvage, the first thing we do is pause and look closely at the individual parts that make up the whole. Is the fixture complete? Does the lock need new parts or just some cleaning and oiling? How much time will it take? Do we have the supplies and knowledge we need to repair this item?

I like to call these moments of inquiry the “preservation pause.” Intentionally taking a moment to slow down and really understand what is needed in order to move forward is not only an essential trade skill but a life skill as well. It’s at the heart of our mission at Historic Ithaca.

Your support is essential as we encourage others to pause, ask questions, and engage with Ithaca’s built environment in a way that fosters curiosity and community.


Monica's dedication to historic preservation and her enthusiasm for teaching make her an invaluable addition to our team. We're excited to see the positive impact she'll have on our participants and the community. Welcome to the team, Monica! You can see Monica in action here.

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