St. Clairsville, Ohio (WTRF) – Year by year and day by day—our history is slipping away from us.

From the floors to the walls to the crown moulding, old buildings were designed and assembled by dedicated tradespeople, piece by piece.

But even the finest craftsmanship can’t stand up forever to the weathering of age—and that’s why we need the preservation trades.

They’re people who maintain these products of our past, using the techniques of the past.

There’s a lot of oral history there. A lot of it is taught by hand, through conversation, over the course of time with your mentor.

Andrea Sevonty, President of Preservation Trades Network

It’s knowledge you can’t get directly from a book—and it’s being passed down to students at the International Preservation Trades Workshop.

The college’s Building Preservation and Restoration Program hosted demonstrations including masonry, stone carving, and plaster today.

A few of the tools are new, but the know-how is the same as it was centuries ago.

A lot of the information is unchanged. You know, for example, in stained glass, we use the same tools, we use the same glass paints and assembly.

Andrea Sevonty, President of Preservation Trades Network

Tradesmen from around the world flew in to give master classes on their craft.

An expert on a 19th-century plaster called scagliola says he was called to work on the Capitol building and Buckingham Palace for his uncommon skill.

Sevonty says there’s a need to pass on these tried-and-true techniques…especially as the old guard retires.

And there’s just a great demand as our buildings in America age how we work on them.”

Andrea Sevonty, President of Preservation Trades Network

It’s art, it’s history, and it’s tradition.

Tradition that won’t let the fine detail of a bygone time slip through our fingers.

The workshop runs until Saturday—and that’s also the day the trade demonstrations are open to the public.

You can come learn their secrets at 1:30 p.m.