Open House

Our annual Virtual Open House offers a behind-the-scenes look at America’s first trade school. Learn more about our programs in traditional trades, engage with a like-minded community of artisans, enjoy live demonstrations, tours of our building, and more.

Free, open to the public, and 100% virtual.

Once a year, we offer a range of virtual programming that includes interactive building tours, live student demonstrations, afternoon events, and more! Guests can come and go as they like, ask questions throughout, and enjoy a fun and informative series of events at America’s first trade school.

Catch Up With Last Year’s Events

Monday, December 13

Enjoy a warm welcome and introductions from NBSS staff including President Sarah Turner, and Open House host Rob O’Dwyer, Director of Admissions and Enrollment.

Join students and faculty for a tour of the Basic Piano Technology (PT) program including demonstrations in the action workshop, classroom, and tuning rooms. Learn about tuning by ear, regulation, and small repairs that can be done in the home. Attendees can ask questions throughout the tour.
NBSS offers two Piano Technology programs, which both attract students who share a passion for music, problem solving and mechanics, and the hand skills used to restore and care for beautiful musical instruments. The one-year Basic program covers all phases of aural piano tuning, including the concepts on which equal temperament is founded. Students learn to tune, regulate, and repair the actions of both upright and grand pianos.

The PT program includes a large bench room for group work, a classroom, and sixteen individual tuning practice rooms outfitted with a variety of both upright and grand pianos.

Learn about our other Piano Technology program during the Advanced Piano Technology session, immediately following at 11:00 am.

Go behind the scenes in the Advanced Piano Technology (PA) program with a quick tour from instructors Louis Del Bene PT ’06, PA ’07 and Shawn Hansen PT ’07, PA ’08, plus live demonstrations and time for Q&A. Students are working in teams restoring several grand pianos. We will see what stages they are in and learn about the processes involved in piano restoration. There will be time for questions throughout.

NBSS offers two Piano Technology programs (Basic and Advanced), which both attract students who share a passion for music, problem solving and mechanics, and the hand skills used to restore and care for beautiful musical instruments. The Advanced Piano Technology program focuses on the entire piano and comprehensive piano service. Each year, PA students work in teams of two or three to dismantle, rebuild, and repair grand pianos. They also learn advanced tuning and regulation practice. Many students who graduate from the Basic program continue for another year in the Advanced program.

The PA space includes a large workspace where students restore grand pianos, an instructor demonstration bench, machine room, and spray booth.

Tuesday, December 14

Meet some of our staff and get an overview of the day’s exciting lineup.

Join Carpentry (CA) faculty Peter Smith and Brock Leiendecker and their students as they frame a wall and cut rafters. They’ll then give a tour of the machine room, where they build cabinets and mill wood. Attendees will have a chance to meet a couple of students, and they’ll wrap up the tour with a live Q&A with the two Instructors.

Our nine-month Carpentry (CA) program trains individuals to work in residential construction or renovation. Graduates are prepared to perform all basic tasks of the carpentry trade, both rough and finish, meeting code requirements and the expectations of clients. Students learn how to read blueprints accurately, estimate materials, and construct a basic single-family house, including construction of cabinets, trim, molding, and stairs, installation of windows and doors, and much more. Students frequently work at off-site locations including construction projects for private clients.

The CA program includes large flexible spaces for group construction projects and bench work, plus a large fully-outfitted machine room.

Preservation Carpentry (PC) faculty will give an overview of several ongoing projects across the first and second years, viewing the benchrooms and student projects. We will hear from instructors Steven O’Shaughnessy PC ’99 and Michael Burrey, learning about how the work they are doing translates to employability in the industry.

Our two-year Preservation Carpentry program teaches the time-honored skills and values of fine craftsmanship. Our students share a love of history, materials, quality workmanship, and working with their hands to build, restore, and preserve beautiful structures that last. Students learn a broad range of construction methods, including stabilizing endangered buildings, preserving architectural details, and recreating historical design elements. Graduates work with contractors and institutions specializing in preservation work, including historical millwork and interior finish carpentry.

In the Making: Inside Our Community

We heard from a cross-section of our community: staff, alumni, faculty, and Board members, who shared anecdotes and personal stories of what they love about NBSS and how they came to be part of our community.

  • Sarah Turner, President
  • Marc Marguiles, Board Chair
  • Eddy Dacius LK ’13, Locksmithing & Security Technology Department Head, Instructor, and graduate
  • Peter Smith PC ’04, Carpentry Department Head and Instructor, and graduate of Preservation Carpentry
  • Kailey Maraglia JM ’21, Receptionist and Jewelry Making & Repair graduate
  • Jennifer Chen PT ’20, PA ’21, Piano Technology graduate
  • Eli Cleveland CF ’09, Continuing Education Instructor and Cabinet & Furniture Making graduate

Wednesday, December 15

Meet some of our staff and get an overview of the day’s exciting lineup

Go behind the scenes in the Cabinet & Furniture Making (CF) program, where you’ll see students at work on individual projects at their benches. Hear from current students in all 4 semesters and learn about the different stages and projects in the program. There will be time for Q&A throughout the presentation.

Our two-year Cabinet & Furniture Making program teaches fine craftsmanship through projects incorporating 18th- and 19th-century furniture examples. With these traditional models as a foundation, students are able to design and build furnishings of any era they choose. Graduates are prepared to work in custom furniture or cabinetmaking shops designing, drawing, estimating materials, and constructing and finishing furniture using hand tools and power equipment.

The expansive program space includes a large bench room with dedicated workspaces for each student, demonstration areas, a large library, lathe room, and a finishing room.

The key, the cylinder, the lock, and the door: security is a fundamental need that can be taken for granted. In an industry where the criminals and security experts compete to best each other, the locksmith has to have a deep base of knowledge and problem solving skills. Learn about what a locksmith can do in the program and in the industry.

At this event, enjoy a trade-specific demonstration by Locksmithing & Security Technology (LK) Department Head Eddy Dacius LK ‘13, and get a quick tour of the LK program space, which includes benches for each student, a room for instruction and demonstration, and a resource library. There will be time for Q&A during the presentation.

Our Locksmithing & Security Technology graduates are trained to perform all basic locksmithing tasks, meeting high standards set by the trade. They understand how to service and repair all mechanical residential and commercial door-locking devices, set up a master key system, install locks, service automotive locks, open safes without knowing the combination, and more.

Thursday, December 16

Meet some of our staff and get an overview of the day’s exciting lineup.

At this event, enjoy a tour of the Violin Making & Repair (VM) program space led by Department Head and Instructor Roman Barnas, starting at the sharpening station, where the grit on sharpening stones is as fine as 30,000. Students will share various stages of progress with their instruments at their benches. The tour also includes the varnishing room, showing how instruments are finished, plus an introduction to a newly-added Glowforge laser cutter—advanced technology for making instrument profiles that help to guide makers. There will be time for Q&A during the presentation.

The three-year Violin Making & Repair program at NBSS is one of the few full-time instrument making programs in the United States. The curriculum provides a solid foundation to the art and science of stringed instrument making, and an introduction to restoration. Over the course of the program, students build six violins and a viola. Students, alumni, and faculty regularly receive international recognition for the craftsmanship and tonality of their instruments. Graduates are trained to work in instrument shops, and are prepared to repair and set-up stringed instruments and bows to meet the standards of the craft and the needs of a professional or student musician.

The VM program includes a dedicated bench for each student, a machine room, sharpening station, finishing/varnish room, library, and drawing area.

We will start the virtual visit with a shop tour, then join Jewelry Making & Repair (JM) Department Head and Instructor Ann Cahoon and her students at different stages in their training as they share some ring making basics and demonstrate cabochon stone setting. Questions are welcomed and encouraged throughout!

The two-year Jewelry Making & Repair program prepares students to become professionals in the industry, working in retail stores and trade shops. Graduates of the program are trained to construct jewelry from gold, platinum, and silver, set stones, and finish to a professional standard, and can also repair jewelry and restore pieces to their original appearance. Their course work also includes metal and stone identification, metal forming techniques, polishing, soldering, engraving, laser welding, and more.

The JM program space includes dedicated benches for each student and equipment for polishing, soldering, engraving, metal forming, laser welding, stone setting, and silver, gold, and platinum fabrication.

Friday, December 17

Meet some of our staff and get an overview of the day’s exciting lineup.

Bookbinding Department Head Jeff Altepeter BB ’99 will give a tour around the bindery, see some of the equipment in action, and visit with students working at their benches. They’ll show some examples of the type of work that the students are doing at this point in the year, as well as a peek at things to come. Feel free to ask questions throughout the event.

Our two-year Bookbinding program (BB) teaches students how to make, restore, and preserve books and other printed treasures. Graduates are trained to bind books in leather, paper, and cloth, use case bindings to bind new books or repair historic books, construct protective enclosures, do finishing work such as blind tooling and gold lettering, and perform aspects of conservation work on leather-bound volumes and paper.

The bindery includes a dedicated bench for each student, a wide variety of professional bookbinding equipment including board shears, combination presses, job backer, stamping machines, finishing tools, a guillotine, and more, plus an extensive library of bookbinding texts.

Curious about attending one of our Full-Time programs? Join us for an online Information Session, covering both admissions and financial aid. NBSS is now accepting applications for the next start dates in September and January/February 2022.

Presented by Director of Admissions & Enrollment Rob O’Dwyer, hear an overview of our programs of study and community, learn about the admissions process and requirements, and get info on the financial aid process, including funding, scholarships, and veterans benefits for qualified students. There will be time to ask questions during the event.

Watch Full Day Sessions