The Belvedere School for Hands on Preservation in Hannibal, Missouri has been dedicated to teaching students from all over North America how to become artisans in the preservation trades since 2008.
Over the last 20 years, Bob Yapp, the founder of the school, has traveled across the country conducting hands-on preservation workshops as well as helping other organizations and communities to set-up preservation schools and training programs. He has been involved in the hands-on rehab of over 160 endangered, historic properties over his career.
His path crossed with Joan Lindley shortly after her husband passed in 2016.
Lindley lived in the couple's 1920s-era home by herself and realized the building needed maintenance and repair. When she saw that a historic preservation class was being offered in Oklahoma City a couple years ago, she signed up.
“I figured I could learn what needs to be done around the house and understand the language of what a contractor is saying,” she said.
She's not alone in doing so.
Yapp says he estimates that half or more of his students are women. The trend has led to Yapp starting women-only preservation classes at his Hannibal school.
“Too often, fathers spend more time teaching their sons how to think in a so-called handy way,” Yapp said. “This is unfortunate. When women are given the opportunity to learn this way of thinking, their skills almost always exceed men's. I've found out women are better at this because they pay attention to the little details.”
Beginners to moderately skilled women are encouraged to enroll in his preservation classes. The class cap is at 12 students. For more information, call Yapp at 217-474-6052, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.