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Heritage Documentation Programs


Heritage Documentation Programs administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Federal Government's oldest preservation program, and its companion programs: the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Documentation produced through the programs constitutes the nation's largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. The HABS/HAER/HALS Collection is housed at the Library of Congress.

 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities, we are increasing access and services in a phased approach across all units of the National Park System. Before visiting a park, please check the park website to determine its operating status. Updates about the overall NPS response to COVID-19, including safety information, are posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

Latest News

    • Apply for the 2021 Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship in Architectural History We invite graduate students in architectural history and related fields to apply for the 2021 Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship. The fellow will work on a 12-week HABS project next summer. Learn more...
    • New Point Cloud Animation: Mary Jane Dogan House The Mary Jane Dogan House is located at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia. HDP documented the house in 2019-20 before the park began stabilizing and rehabilitating the historic building. Learn more...
    • New Virtual Tour: Statue of Liberty "Liberty Enlightening the World" is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Heritage Documentation Programs undertook updated digital documentation of the statue in 2019. Take a virtual tour of the statue and explore a 3-D model of the torch. Learn more...
    • Update: 2020 Summer Intern Program Canceled We are saddened to share the news that we have canceled our annual summer program this year. This includes the NCPE and HBCUI internships for architects, landscape architects, historians, and web design. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of the Interior is hiring only mission-critical positions at this time. Thank you to everyone who applied. We plan to resume our summer program next year.

      If you are interested in putting your documentation skills to use another way, please consider entering one of HDP's competitions: Holland Prize contest (for single-sheet measured drawings) and HALS Challenge (short-format landscape reports). Some competition deadlines are extended this year. Note: HDP has made the reluctant decision to suspend the Peterson Prize contest for 2020. The contest will resume in 2021. Learn more about HDP's documentation competitions...
    • HDP Has Virtual Tours of Historic Sites around the Country (and the World)Would you like to explore someplace beyond your immediate horizon? Check out HDP's many virtual tours. We also have point cloud animations, virtual 3D mesh models, and story maps.Go on a virtual tour...
    • Update: HDP Modifies Office Operations due to COVID-19 Pandemic HDP staff members are teleworking. We are available to provide assistance via email, telephone, and direct messages to HDP's Facebook page. During this time, please do not ship any packages to HDP's office in Washington, DC. Questions? Contact us.
    • Updated HAER Drawing Guidelines AvailableHistoric American Engineering Record staff members have produced updated guidance for creating HAER drawings.Learn more...
    • Updated Transmittal Guidelines & HABS History Guidelines AvailableHDP staff members have made some updates to the Transmittal Guidelines (for all three programs) and the HABS History Guidelines.Learn more...
    • Update: Extended deadline for the 2020 Leicester B. Holland ContestThe Holland Prize recognizes the single-sheet measured drawing prepared to HABS/HAER/HALS standards and donated to HDP. Entry forms are now due September 1, 2020.Learn more...
    • New Book: Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered BridgesThe Historic American Engineering Record is pleased to announce the publication of Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges (2019), edited by Christopher H. Marston, HAER Architect, and Thomas A. Vitanza, Senior Historical Architect, NPS Historic Preservation Training Center.Learn more...
    • New Virtual Tour and Story Map: Arlington Memorial BridgeTo provide additional information to the public during a major rehabilitation of the bridge, HDP and Cultural Resources GIS created a virtual tour and story map for Arlington Memorial Bridge. The bridge spans the Potomac River between Washington, DC, and Arlington, VA.Learn more...
    • Article about HAER's Documentation of Rocket Test StandsIn 1996, HAER began documenting rocket test stands such as those at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Learn more about test stands' role in space flight and HAER's documentation in this article from Civil Engineering Magazine (May 2019).Learn more... [external link will open in pdf]
    • Historic American Engineering Record's 50th AnniversaryIn 2019, HAER marked its 50th year. Learn more about the history of the program and some of its current work in this article, which was published by the American Society of Civil Engineers in Civil Engineering Magazine (January 2019).Learn more... [external link will open in pdf]
    • New Point Cloud Animation: Tortugas Harbor LightIn August 2017, HABS architects Paul Davidson and Daniel De Sousa documented this historic lighthouse at Fort Jefferson (Dry Tortugas National Park) using 3-D high-definition terrestrial laser scanning.See the video and learn more about the project on Facebook.
    • New Time-Lapse Video: High-Definition Laser ScanningHere's a day's worth of work in 30 seconds. HAER architects Dana Lockett and Thomas Behrens recently scanned the fifteen-millionth Ford Model T on behalf of the Historic Vehicle Association. See the video and learn more about the project on Facebook.
    • Virtual Tour: Ellis Island The Historic American Buildings Survey is working on a multiyear project to document Ellis Island. Take a virtual tour of areas on Ellis Island that aren't open to the public. Learn more...
    • HABS Guide to Field DocumentationThis Field Guide offers step-by-step instructions about how to observe, take field measurements, and create field notes and a short-form report about a historic site or structure to HABS standards. Learn more...
    • Producing HABS/HAER/HALS Measured Drawings from Laser ScansThe pros and cons of using laser scanning for heritage documentation.Learn More...