Preservation Professionals, Practitioners, and Advocates
Providing information, guidance, and training for participants or potential participants in preservation and conservation is one of the core responsibilities assigned to the National Park Service (NPS) by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). A sampling of the NPS cultural resource programs' education offerings for this audience is highlighted below.
National Register of Historic Places bulletins are essential items in the bookcases and bookmarks of anyone who is working on preservation at the national, state, or local levels. They give detailed directions on determining the significance of properties that might be eligible for listing in the Register, a critical first step in the preservation process. Undergraduate and graduate university-level preservation programs also assign the bulletins in classes, where students often are asked to prepare a National Register nomination.
Archeological sites, like other types of historic places that might be affected by projects in which the Federal government is involved, receive some protection under Section 106 of the NHPA. Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands, published by the National Park Service's Heritage Preservation Services program, provides guidance on protecting sites that are threatened by projects where there is no Federal involvement. Professional and avocational archeologists, local preservation commissions, planners, and developers all can employ this guidance in their efforts to protect local archeological sites.
Section 110 of the NHPA charges federal agencies with identifying and working to protect the historic places within their stewardship care. The Federal Preservation Institute provides preservation news, information, and training opportunities for federal agency preservation officers, their staff, and contractors.
Preservation advocates can use History on the Line: Testimony in the Cause of Preservation , testimony presented by Richard Longstreth before the Washington , DC , Historic Preservation Review Board, as a guide for preparing their own testimony supporting historic designation of properties by review boards throughout the country. An electronic version is available on the website for the NPS Historic Preservation Planning Program.
In 2005 the NPS Heritage Areas office published Best Practices in Heritage Development from the National Heritage Areas. This report highlights successful programs in ten different heritage areas, providing models for others interested finding ways to combine community revitalization, cultural conservation, heritage tourism, and historic preservation in their own communities.
The Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, Historic American Landscape Survey, and Cultural Resources Mapping and Geographic Information Systems programs publish indispensable guides for architects and others working on the precise documentation of historic resources. In some cases the measured drawings made using these guides are the only records of buildings, structures, landscapes, and other historic places that have been lost. In other cases, the drawings have made it possible to carry out accurate restoration. Many of these instructional guides are available both in print format and on-line.
The Technical Preservation Services office of the National Park Service has been providing easy to read guidance on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings for over thirty years. Its Preservation Briefs , Preservation Tech Notes , and other publications provide a wealth of information for practitioners in the preservation field, including architects, contractors, and maintenance personnel, as well as for owners and developers of historic properties. Topics range from conserving energy to removing paint from historic siding to the preservation of historic signs.
The National Historic Preservation Act also created the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) to encourage specialized skills and technology that enhance the preservation, conservation, and interpretation of prehistoric and historic resources throughout the country. The center accomplishes this in part through research, particularly in the areas of archeology, collections, architecture, engineering, historic landscapes, and materials conservation. Within days after Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005, NCPTT's Hurricane Preservation Technical Assistance developed a clearinghouse on its website which rapidly became a one-stop-shop for technical information on disaster recovery. The center has continued to provide technical assistance and guidance to those interested in preserving cultural resources damaged by the storms.