The programs provide intensive, hands-on training in a structured framework, with a focus on practical projects. Each project builds on previous learning and requires students to solve increasingly complex problems. This method encourages students to systematically develop their hand skills, along with an understanding of tools, materials, and processes, a sense of care and a commitment to excellence in their craft.
"I was surrounded by students and faculty who loved what they were doing. Even on 'snow days' we all showed up. NBSS is one of my favorite places on earth."
Michelle Stranges, Piano Technician, SUNY-Oswego and Ithaca College
Additional learning takes place through lectures, reading assignments, field trips and discussions. However, working at the bench remains the most important part of each program — providing a practical context for students to receive and apply information and advice from the instructors who are masters of their craft.
While NBSS has used the same teaching approach for more than a century, course design and content reflect the recommendations of students, graduates, employers and artisans in each field. Our rigorous programs, master faculty, and inspiring community encourage individual growth, curiosity and commitment to excellence as well as technical mastery. Our goal is to provide exceptional preparation for careers that employ hand skills to produce objects that last.
- Bookbinding instructor Jeff Alterpeter with first-year students.
Classrooms and shops are informal. Small classes allow instructors to provide individual attention. Equally valuable is the opportunity for NBSS students to help and learn from each other. Students come from across the country and around the world and their diverse life and work experiences encourage a lively exchange of ideas and perspectives. It is common for program graduates to remain involved with the school, offering their insight and expertise as guest lecturers, instructors, networking contacts and employers.