The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties +
Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for establishing professional standards and providing advice on the preservation of cultural resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In partial fulfillment of this responsibility, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation Projects were developed in 1976. They consisted of seven sets of standards for the acquisition, protection, stabilization, preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction of historic buildings.
Since their publication in 1976, the Secretary’s Standards have been used by State Historic Preservation Officers and the National Park Service to ensure that projects receiving federal money or tax benefits were reviewed in a consistent manner nationwide. The principles embodied in the Standards have also been adopted by hundreds of preservation commissions across the country in local design guidelines.
In 1992, the Standards were revised so that they could be applied to all historic resource types included in the National Register of Historic Places--buildings, structures, sites, objects, districts, and landscapes. The revised Standards were reduced to four sets by incorporating protection and stabilization into preservation, and by eliminating acquisition, which is no longer considered a treatment. Re-titled The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, this new, modified version addresses four treatments: preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction. The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes illustrate how to apply these four treatments to cultural landscapes in a way that meets the Standards.
Of the four, Preservation standards require retention of the greatest amount of historic fabric, including the landscape’s historic form, features, and details as they have evolved over time. Rehabilitation standards acknowledge the need to alter or add to a cultural landscape to meet continuing or new uses while retaining the landscape’s historic character. Restoration standards allow for the depiction of a landscape at a particular time in its history by preserving materials from the period of significance and removing materials from other periods. Reconstruction standards establish a framework for re-creating a vanished or non-surviving landscape with new materials, primarily for interpretive purposes.
The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, revised in 1992, were codified as 36 CFR Part 68 in the 12 July 1995 Federal Register (Vol. 60, No. 133) with an “effective” date of 11 August 1995. The revision replaces the 1978 and 1983 versions of 36 CFR 68 entitled The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation Projects.