University of Vermont


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University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program

About the Historic Preservation Program

The University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program offers a Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation, as well as a range of courses to undergraduate students and to non-matriculated students through Continuing Education.

Sponsored by the UVM Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences and the UVM Graduate College, in cooperation with other departments, schools and programs, the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program has been peer-reviewed by the National Council for Preservation Education and found to meet their standards for historic preservation degree granting programs.

The statement of purpose of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program follows: Recognizing the diverse contributions that succeeding generations have made to the historic environment, the program regards historic preservation as an impartial form of management which keeps these contributions in balance. The primary education goal is the development of a long-term professional perspective bolstered by training in appropriate skills. The program also offers students intensive, practical, community-oriented, professional experience.

Graduate program

Wheeler House, UVMThe Master of Science graduate degree in Historic Preservation is intended to prepare graduate students for broad-based careers in the field of historic preservation. The main educational goal is the development of long-term professional perspectives bolstered by training in appropriate skills. Graduate students are offered an intensive, practical, community-oriented, professional experience. Strong emphasis is placed on hands-on, community-based projects through linkages with local, state and federal groups, organizations and agencies, heritage organizations, museums, and historic sites.

Examples of positions that have been held by graduates of the UVM Historic Preservation Program include: state historic preservation officers; federal historic preservation officers; executive directors and field representatives of prominent non-profit preservation organizations; executive directors of historic site museums; directors of historic preservation revolving funds; historic preservation review coordinators; certified local government coordinators; historic preservation faculty at colleges and universities; downtown preservation development managers; and principals and associates of historic preservation consulting firms and cultural resource management companies. Additional examples of organizations that have employed UVM Historic Preservation Program alumni are listed below.

Graduate curriculum

Wheeler HouseThe M.S. degree in Historic Preservation is a 36-credit hour program. All students complete either a 3-credit internship or a 6-credit written thesis project, and must pass a comprehensive examination at the end of the third semester.

Graduate students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds and experiences generally enter the Historic Preservation Program in the fall semester. The regular deadline for applications is March 1, but late applications may be reviewed if openings are available.

Most students complete their graduate degree studies after three semesters and a summer internship, but some students choose to include a fourth semester and a thesis in lieu of the internship. Part-time enrollment is also offered as an option for graduate students, with up to five years available for completion of the M.S. degree.

Required credits

UVM campus The Master of Science (M.S.) in Historic Preservation degree offering at the University of Vermont is a 36-credit hour program that is normally completed by matriculated graduate students in three semesters of full-time course work. A part-time option is available by special arrangement. A comprehensive examination must be passed prior to earning this graduate degree. Students typically start in the fall semester and conduct the field employment portion of a 3-credit internship during the summer between the second and third semesters. A 6-credit written thesis option is available by permission in lieu of the internship.

The following courses are program requirements for the master's degree:

Typical schedule of courses
First Year
Fall Semester
  • HP 200: History of American Architecture
  • HP 204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics (even-numbered years)
  • HP 205: Historic Preservation Law
  • HP 206: Researching Historic Structures and Sites
  • HP 395 or HP 397 elective (odd-numbered years)
Spring Semester
  • HP 201: History on the Land
  • HP 305: Historic Preservation Practice Methods
  • HP 306: Architectural Conservation I
  • HP 304: Contemporary Preservation Planning and Policy
Second Year
Fall Semester
  • HP 302: Community Preservation Project
  • HP 307: Architectural Conservation II
  • HP 204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics (even-numbered years)
  • HP 303: Internship (with summer placement)
  • HP 395 or HP 397 elective (odd-numbered years)
  • Comprehensive Examination (required)
Spring Semester (Optional)
  • HP 303: Internship
  • HP 391: Thesis (in lieu of internship by permission)
  • Other Electives

Click here for the full list of historic preservation courses and descriptions

Undergraduate courses

Many historic preservation courses are open to UVM undergraduate students, as well as to non-matriculated students through Continuing Education. Some may require instructor permission or course registration overrides. These courses (described below) include:

• HP 200: History of American Architecture. 3 credits
• HP 201: History on the Land. 3 credits
• HP 204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics. 3 credits
• HP 205: Historic Preservation Law. 3 credits
• HP 206: Researching Historic Structures and Sites. 3 credits.
• HP 306: Architectural Conservation I. 3 credits

Continuing Education courses

Non-matriculated students may enroll in the above-listed historic preservation courses through the UVM Division for Continuing Education. For more information on continuing education opportunities, contact the UVM Historic Preservation Program by email at

Contact information

Historic Preservation Program
History Department
Wheeler House
University of Vermont
133 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05405

Phone: (802) 656-3180
Fax: (802) 656-8794


Through a well-established network of cooperation with various local and state agencies, preservation organizations and museums, and practicing professionals, UVM historic preservation students have the opportunity to use the state and region as an extended laboratory to study and experiment with innovative preservation strategies. Click here for some examples of recent student projects.

HP206 project

Internationally recognized for its beautiful rural landscapes and compact historic villages, Vermont is rich in historic architectural resources. Its long tradition of town meeting government has given it an involved citizenry and the opportunity to produce rapid results at the community level. Vermont has been a pioneer in environmental protection through such legislation as its land use law, Act 250, statewide sign control, ban on non-returnable beverage containers, historic and design control districts, and vigorous enforcement of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The Vermont Historic Preservation Act of 1975 is one of the nation's most comprehensive state statutes relating to the protection of historic resources. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has twice included Vermont on its list of most endangered historic places in the country. Indeed the state of Vermont and the Burlington area face today's challenges of sustainability, climate change, re-development, sprawl, traffic, housing and urban issues.

Burlington has a vibrant community life, a strong respect for historic preservation, and an enthusiastic spirit of innovation, collaboration, and opportunity. The UVM campus is also about two hours away from Montreal, Quebec, and is close to some of the best biking, hiking, skiing and snowboarding in the East.

Offices and instructional facilities

Wheeler House South Prospect Street entrance The offices and main instructional facilities of the UVM Historic Preservation Program are located in the Wheeler House. Prominently located at the corner of Main Street and South Prospect Street in the University Green Historic District, this Greek Revival style building was constructed in 1842 to the designs of the nationally-known architect, Ammi Burnham Young.

After serving as a residence and later as the campus infirmary, Wheeler House was rehabilitated in the mid-1970s to serve as the home of the Historic Preservation Program and History Department. Recently, major building rehab projects have included restoring the west veranda and roof-top balustrade, installing a new ADA-compliant entrance and an interior wheelchair lift, a new perimeter drainage system, and various interior improvements. The new ADA accessible entrance (shown here), which is located at the northwest side of the building, enters directly into the classroom and computer lab level.Wheeler House ADA entrance

Visitor parking is generally available for a fee at the adjacent College Street Visitor Parking Lot. From Interstate 89, take exit 14W and follow Main Street west and bear right on South Prospect Street on the west side of the University Green. Then bear left onto College Street. The entrance to the UVM Visitor Parking Lot is on the left (south) side. If approaching from US Route 7, in downtown Burlington turn east up the hill at College Street.

Historic preservation computer lab, conservation workshop & resource library

In recognition of the increasingly important roles for computer-based devices and information technologies in the historic preservation profession, the UVM Historic Preservation Program provides students with access to and training on computer-based equipment and software.

digital microscope

A digital lab with over twenty computers that can be connected to digital microscopes, scanners, printers, and other hardware is located in Wheeler House for priority use by historic preservation graduate students. The goal is to provide all historic preservation graduate students with a solid foundation in the computer-related knowledge and skills desired in the professional world. Many of the preservation courses include opportunities for the development of a range of computer-related skills, including producing web sites, newsletters, and professional reports.

Also students have access to various hands-on tools and equipment used for analyzing and documenting historic finishes, mortars, environmental conditions, and other building materials for historical and conservation research. Recent additions include an infrared building inspection camera and moisture meters.

Other facilities in Wheeler House available for historic preservation graduate student use include seminar rooms, the Preservation Resource Library, and an architectural conservation workshop. These spaces are accessible to persons using wheelchairs. In addition to the Wheeler House facilities, some historic preservation courses are taught in classrooms and labs located in other buildings on the University of Vermont campus.

Studies are complemented by field trips and site visits to the Shelburne Museum and various heritage sites. Student projects are often conducted on various historic campus buildings and on other historic structures in the region.

Coordinating faculty

Thomas D. Visser, Professor of Historic Preservation, has directed the Historic Preservation Program since 1994. He is a tenured member of the UVM History Department and has taught courses in researching historic buildings, architectural conservation, building technology, and other preservation topics at the University of Vermont since 1985. Prof. Visser has served on the Burlington Design Advisory Board and as a Vermont District Environmental Commission member. He also served on the executive committee of the National Council for Preservation Education.

As a recipient of a National Endowment for the Art grant award, much of Prof. Visser's scholarly research has focused on rural preservation. His award-winning Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings was published by the University Press of New England. His recent research focuses on the history of porches. His book, Porches of North America, was published by the University Press of New England in 2012. In addition to numerous professional reports and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, Prof. Visser's articles, reports, and reviews are published in such journals as the Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology, Preservation Education & Research, and the New England Quarterly.

Robert McCullough, Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, serves as a full-time faculty member of the Historic Preservation Program and is a tenured member of the University of Vermont History Department. Formerly the Historic Preservation Coordinator for the Vermont Agency of Transportation in Montpelier, Vermont, where he conducted regulatory review to ensure that transportation projects comply with federal and state historic preservation laws, McCullough holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, a J. D. degree in Law, and masters degrees in historic preservation planning and public policy law.

Prof. McCullough is the author of Old Wheelways: Traces of Bicycle History on the Land; The Landscape of Community: A History of Communal Forests in New England; A Path for Kindred Spirits: The Friendship of Clarence Stein and Benton MacKaye; Crossings: A History Of Vermont Bridges, and numerous other publications.


Most graduate students in the UVM Historic Preservation Program elect to complete an internship in lieu of a thesis. In addition to being employed as an intern with a preservation organization agency, business, or organization, the graduate students prepare term papers that document their internship experiences and make a formal presentations at an annual event.

Internship presentations

Examples of organizations that have employed University of Vermont students during their full time summer internships are: National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Central Park Conservancy, Connecticut Historical Commission, Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, Historic Charleston Foundation, New Jersey Preservation Office, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, Savannah Landmarks, Historic New England, National Trust (England), Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, National Trust Yankee Internship Program, Santa Barbara Preservation Trust, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Portland (ME) Museum of Art, Waterford Foundation, Historic Windsor, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Stoneyard Institute, Flynn Theatre, Vermont Historical Society, Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.

Field study trips

Adirondack field trip Graduate students have the opportunity to take field study trips in some courses to observe preservation projects around the globe individually or in groups.

In the HP 304 Seminar in Contemporary Preservation Policy and Planning course, research travel and lodging expenses are subsidized with scholarship grants from the Historic Preservation Program's endowment fund. Graduate students have taken field research trips to Mexico, Bermuda, Poland, Italy, Scotland, England, Nicaragua, Austria, Cuba, Virginia, Chicago, Annapolis, Selma, Denver, Forth Worth, Dallas, St. Antonio, Natchez, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Charleston, Savannah, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Pittsburgh, New York City, Kansas City, Buffalo, Old Miami Beach, Boston, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, and elsewhere.

Applications and admissions

Students are admitted to the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program from a wide variety of academic backgrounds ranging from history, architectural history, architecture, and business administration, to engineering, art history, planning, law, and other fields of undergraduate study. Candidates must hold at least a bachelors' degree from an accredited academic institution prior to enrollment.

Because historic preservation is a field of many skills and interests, the admissions review policy maintains flexibility about applicants' previous academic studies and experience, placing emphasis upon their stated motivations and capacity to do independent, self-directed work.

Those interested should apply directly to the UVM Graduate Admissions Office using their on-line graduate application form. Applications must be supported by an official transcript from each college or university attended, three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant's capacity for graduate work, Graduate Record Examination general test scores, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. This writing sample must be the sole work of the applicant. It may be an independent research paper from college or, for example, a design project or other evidence of professional ability. The writing sample may be submitted as an email attachment to with your name and a message that it is in support of your application to the UVM Historic Preservation Program.

The regular annual deadline for fall admissions is March 1, however applicants are encouraged to submit their complete applications with transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendations to the Graduate Admissions Office in advance to avoid processing delays. Class sizes are managed with priority selection given to those applicants with the strongest applications. Late applications may be reviewed after March 1 should openings be available. For more information on late admissions, please contact the Historic Preservation Program directly at

The UVM Historic Preservation Program welcomes diversity. The policy of the University of Vermont is to not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, handicap, color, religion, age, national origin, or Vietnam Veteran status in admission or access to or treatment or employment in its programs and activities.

Additional application information and on-line application forms are available from the Graduate Admissions Office. All application materials must be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office, 332 Waterman Building, The University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0160.

Questions? Discuss career plans? Schedule an appointment or visit?
Contact the Historic Preservation Program by email at

Tuition and financial aid

Click here for the latest information about graduate tuition and fees.

Special tuition for Vermont and New England residents

Vermont residents may apply for in-state tuition. Residency policy information from the UVM Registrar is available here.

Residents of the other New England states may be eligible for a special tuition rate of 150% of in-state tuition offered through the New England Regional Student Program. For a full listing of policies and programs, contact the Board of Higher Education, 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111, (617) 357-9620 or click on this link.

Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships

Some historic preservation graduate students are awarded Graduate Teaching Assistantships or Graduate Research Assistantships in the History Department during their second and third semesters. Offered on a competitive basis subject to availability, these partial GTAs/GRAs include a stipend and a partial tuition remission per semester of the award.

College Fellowships

Students with outstanding academic backgrounds may be nominated for College Fellowships which carry full tuition remission. These are awarded in competition with other graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Other scholarships

Other scholarship support also may be available. For information on current scholarships, fellowships and assistantship opportunities, contact the Historic Preservation Program by email at

Financial aid and work-study support

Students who satisfy a financial need requirement are also eligible for federal work-study support. The Historic Preservation Program typically has work study positions available for all pre-qualified students. Applications for work-study funding must be made through the UVM Financial Aid office. Please click here for a link to more information and application procedures for financial aid.

Questions? Schedule an appointment or visit?
Contact the Historic Preservation Program by email at

Support and enrichment

To support research travel scholarships and other enhancements, the Historic Preservation Program has received generous gift contributions from its alumni, supporters, and a number of foundations and agencies, including the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service, Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation; Cecil Howard Charitable Trust; Patrick Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; U.S. Department of the Interior through the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Vermont Council on the Arts; Vermont Council on the Humanities and Public Issues; New York Community Trust; New Hampshire Charitable Fund; Kellogg Foundation; Windham Foundation and other private and public donors. Some of these funds are invested in an endowment dedicated to program support and enrichment.

UVM Historic Preservation Program Newsletter


Annually during the fall semester, the UVM Historic Preservation Program produces a 16-page newsletter. The current issue and previous editions are available for downloading. Click here for additional news about the UVM Historic Preservation Program.

Historic Preservation course descriptions

  • HP 200: History of American Architecture
    Study of architectural history to gain fluency in the stylistic terms so essential to historic preservation and to public support for conserving our architectural heritage. 3 Credits.
  • HP 201: History on the Land
    Identifying and interpreting evidence of the cultural forces -- early settlement patterns, transportation, industry, agriculture, planning, conservation -- that have shaped our land, buildings, towns and cities. 3 Credits.
  • HP 204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics
    Survey of economic, financial aspects of real estate development pertaining to preservation and adaptive use (markets studies, pro formas). Field trips. Actual proposal development for under-utilized historic properties. 3 Credits.
  • HP 205: Historic Preservation Law
    Legal issues in the conservation of the built environment. Basic legal techniques for protection of historic structures (historic districts, protective legislation, easements, covenants). Study of significant court decisions. 3 Credits.
  • HP 206: Researching Historic Structures and Sites
    Methods for researching historic structures and sites using archival and physical evidence, deciphering archaic building technologies and documenting structures through professional reports, architectural photography, measured drawings. 3 Credits.
  • HP 302: Community Preservation Project
    Third-semester graduate students apply professional skills to actual community preservation problems. Projects include strategy development, securing and allocating funds, research, advocacy, implementation, evaluation. Prerequisite: HP major. 3 Credits.
  • HP 303: Internship
    Students devote a semester, typically in the summer between the second and third semesters, to do preservation work within an appropriate organization or agency. Duties of the student intern are arranged with the host institution by an agreement with the instructors and the student. Internships are evaluated by student reports, a written evaluation from the student's supervisor, and by students presenting their completed internship projects before a jury of practicing professionals. Link to Internship Guidelines. Prerequisite: HP major. 3 Credits.
  • HP 304: Contemporary Preservation Planning and Policy
    This introduction to the professional practice of preservation planning traces the evolution of the historic preservation movement and examines contemporary preservation policy-making issues. Prerequisite: HP major. 3 credits.
  • HP 305: Historic Preservation Practice Methods
    This course introduces students to professional practice methods for conducting historic site and structures surveys, National Register nominations, and rehabilitation investment tax credit application projects. Prerequisite: HP 200. 3 credits.
  • HP 306: Architectural Conservation I
    An examination of the physical properties of historic building materials, their deterioration mechanisms, and strategies for assessing conditions, conserving and rehabilitating historic resources. Lecture and lab. Prerequisite: HP 206. 3 Credits.
  • HP 307: Architectural Conservation II
    A continuation of Architectural Conservation I emphasizing an integrated examination of historic preservation and architectural conservation through lectures, seminars, and field and laboratory research projects. Prerequisite: HP 306. 3 Credits.

Other courses

  • HP 202: Special Topics
    New and specialized courses that may be offered in association with Continuing Education, typically in the summer.
  • HP 391: Masters Thesis Research
    Students may elect to do a thesis, in lieu of an internship and an elective by permission only. Total of 6 credits.
  • HP 397: Special Readings and Research
    As an elective, students may request permission to conduct special independent preservation-related research projects with historic preservation program faculty. 3 credits.
  • HP 395: Special Topics
    New and specialized courses that may be offered for Historic Preservation graduate students during the academic year.

Elective courses

  • Graduate students may choose from graduate electives with a 200 course number or higher with permission of the Historic Preservation Program director. Special permission is required to take a 100-level course as a elective. Students also may desire to take additional courses as electives for extra credits.

  • Elective examples include: ENSC 285 Green Buildings Science & Practice; PA 305 Public and Nonprofit Budgeting; CDAE 101 Computer Aided Drafting & Design; and NR 343 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems

Questions? Schedule an appointment or visit? Request an information package?
Contact the Historic Preservation Program by email at


Students and alumni reception The alumni of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program serve as an important resource and base of support through guest appearances in classes and organizing special events, as networking colleagues, and through their generous contributions to the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program Fund.

Over the years UVM historic preservation alumni have served as staff or chief executive officers of local, state, and national major preservation organizations including: the Smithsonian Institution, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, Heritage Canada, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Highways Administration (FWHA), Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Texas Historical Commission, Kansas Historical Society, Massachusetts Historical Commission, South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office, New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Georgia Heritage Trust, Preservation Maryland, Historic Boston, Historic Albany Foundation, Greater Portland Landmarks, New Haven Preservation Trust, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), Miami Purchase Preservation Fund, Providence Preservation Revolving Fund, Burlington Planning & Zoning Department, Historic York, Arizona Historic Preservation Office, Florida Keys Preservation Board, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Charleston Foundation, U.S. ICOMOS, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities/ Historic New England, Canadian Canoe Museum, and New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. Alumni are also employed by a variety of cultural resource management consulting firms as historic preservation specialists and as architectural historians.

An independent organization, the UVM Historic Preservation Alumni Association, Inc., has been formed by graduates to promote and support the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont through recruitment and various promotional activities, to support the association's members by means of on-line communications and mentoring programs, and to promote and support historic preservation education through partnerships with preservation organizations, workshops and field schools, and local and regional events.

UVM HP Alumni News

Elizabeth “Lizzie” André Tisher (2006) has received her J.D. Law degree from the Vermont Law School. While there, she was awarded the prestigious national Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award for her article titled, “Re-Stitching the Urban Fabric: Municipal-Driven Rehabilitation of Vacant and Abandoned Buildings in Ohio’s Rust Belt.” She is currently working at the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

MaryAnn Naber (1990) has accepted a new position as Senior Program Analyst / FHWA Liaison with the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington, DC, and had previously served as the Federal Preservation Officer of the US Federal Highway Administration.

Liz Warburton (2012) has been hired as to the position of Senior Architectural Historian at the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation Office in Providence, Rhode Island.

Tracy Martin (2009) has been hired to the position of Historic Sites Section Chief at the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation in Montpelier, Vermont.

Kaitlin Hovanes (2015) has been hired by SWCA Environmental Consultants, a major environmental planning, regulatory compliance and natural and cultural resource management consulting firm, to serve in a Cultural Resource Management position in their Salt Lake City, Utah office.

Jeff Emidy (2000) has been appointed to the Deputy Director and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, where he has been employed since 2005.

Fran Gubler (2015) has been hired as a Preservation Associate at the Preservation League of New York State in Albany, New York.

Lisa Crompton (2013) has been hired as the Warehouse Marketing Specialist & Technical Services Coordinator for the Historic Albany Foundation in Albany, New York.

Sarah MacCallum Hadd (1999) has been honored as the 2014 Planner of the Year by the Vermont Planners Association. Sarah is the director of planning and zoning for the town of Colchester, Vermont.

James Duggan (2008) has been hired as the Historic Preservation Review Coordinator by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation in Montpelier, Vermont.

Meghan Bezio (2011) has been hired as an architectural historian by EBI Consulting of Burlington, Massachusetts.

Caitlin Corkins (2008) has a new position as the Tax Credits and Grants Coordinator for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation in Montpelier, Vermont. Previously, she worked for Historic New England.

Devin Colman (2006) has been promoted to the position of State Architectural Historian by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation in Montpelier, Vermont.

Anna Mod (1996) has a new book, Building Modern Houston, published by Arcadia Publishing. Anna works in Houston, Texas as a historic preservation specialist with SWCA Environmental Consultants. She serves on the board of The Heritage Society and is a co-founder of Houston Mod, a nonprofit organization that focuses on modern architecture and design.

Historic Preservation Program
History Department
Wheeler House
University of Vermont
133 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05405
Department office phone: (802) 656-3180

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