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A Preservation Partnership: Digitizing the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark Records

Records for more than 88,000 listings provide online access for all


Since 2014, the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Archives and Records Administration (National Archives) have worked together to scan and upload tens of thousands of records associated with listings in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) and designated National Historic Landmarks for all 50 states and United States territories.

Of the more than 95,000 current listings, approximately 88,000 records, dating up through to 2012, are now available digitally in the National Archives Catalog. Database research and search tips are available on NPS.gov. More records will be added regularly.

These important records of American history contain a wealth of information on the diverse places and people of this country and are now accessible to all Americans – communities, researchers, planners, educators, and students. The stories recorded here inspire, challenge, and teach. From the Depression-era federal work programs, which brought civic improvements to towns across the nation in the 1930s, to the tale of a Wyandotte Indian who survived the forced removal of indigenous people from Kansas to Indian Territory after the signing of The Treaty of 1867; from examples of grand architectural masterpieces to the humble yet powerful places where African American’s worshipped, were educated, and organized in the face of institutional racism during the 19th and 20th centuries.

This digitization project involved a multi-stepped process, requiring paper files to be transferred out of NPS facilities in Washington, DC to the NPS Western Archeological and Conservation Center where they were stabilized, sorted and organized. Next, they were scanned and processed as permanent electronic records by the National Archives’ Federal Records Centers. The partnership between NPS and National Archives continues, with the eventual goal of completing the digitization of all existing records to the present, including the transfer of new National Register records on an annual basis.

About the National Register and National Historic Landmarks

The National Register is the Nation’s official list of places—buildings, structures, objects, sites and districts—that Americans believe are worthy of preservation. The National Register was established in 1966 with the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act and is maintained by the NPS in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local historic preservation offices. As of 2019, the National Register includes more than 95,000 listings—comprising more than 1.8 million individual buildings, sites, structures, and objects—representing a wide sweep of American history.

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places that have been determined by the Secretary of the Interior to possess exceptional value or quality in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States. First authorized by the Historic Sites Act of 1935, many of the most renowned historic properties in the nation are Landmarks, including Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbor, the Apollo Mission Control Center, Martin Luther King's Birthplace, The Stonewall Inn, and the United Farmworkers’ Forty Acres. Each of the almost 2,600 Landmarks illustrate important contributions to the nation's historical development and represents an outstanding aspect of American history and culture.

Explore the Records

There are several ways to search the National Register and National Historic Landmark electronic files, some of the more popular ways are listed below. View detailed Database and Research guidance on the NPS website or check out the National Archives Catalogue Search Tips to learn more about searching by topic. When looking for National Register records in the National Archives Catalog, always include “National Register of Historic Places” [in quotes] as a phrase in the search box.

  • Search by state: Use the finding aids for each state and territory in the National Archives Catalog. Select your state and click on “Search Within this File Unit.”

  • Search by property name or address: Download the National Register spreadsheet (Excel file 9.5 KB) and use the property’s unique National Register number (far left column) to search for the full record in the Catalog.

  • Search by topic: Use keyword searches to find National Register places associated with a person, centered around a particular event or theme in history, or a particular group or type of structure or building, like Rachel Carson, Trail of Tears, or Bridges in Texas. Enter keywords or phrases in quotes with “and” or “or” between phrases. Always include “National Register of Historic Places” as one phrase.

  • Search by map: Zoom in and out or enter an address to view public, non-restricted listed properties in the National Register (updated through 2014). Click on a listed place and use the reference number or the name to search the National Archives Catalog.

What You’ll Find

Each online record typically contains:

  • A National Register nomination form, which provides a physical description of the place, information about its history and significance, and a bibliography.

  • Photographs - Use of photographs and forms is available under Fair Use, see our Content and Copyright page for more information

  • Maps showing the location of an individual property or showing boundaries of a listed historic district (note: many properties listed prior to 1980 do not include map information.)

Last updated: June 3, 2019