Charles E. Peterson Prize

The National Park Service's Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP), The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) announce the 2024 Charles E. Peterson Prize, which annually recognizes the best set of measured drawings prepared to HDP standards and donated to HDP by students.

The prize honors Charles E. Peterson, FAIA, one of the founders of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), and is intended to increase awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of historic buildings, structures, and cultural landscapes throughout the United States while adding to the permanent HABS/HAER/HALS Collection of measured drawings at the Library of Congress. To date, more than 4,000 students from 75 colleges and universities have participated by completing more than 700 entries and more than 7,200 sheets of measured drawings. The students have worked alone and in groups, in required courses, electives, independent study and summer institutes. They have been, for the most part, architecture and landscape architecture students in addition to architectural history, interior design, and historic preservation majors.


All prizes are awarded at the discretion of the jury. Prizes amounts are:

  • First place: $10,000 and certificate
  • Second place: $5,000 and certificate
  • Third place: $3,000 and certificate
  • Honorable mention: $1,000 and certificate

See the list of Peterson Prize winners.



Students of architecture or related fields with faculty sponsorship are eligible to compete for the Peterson Prize. Students may use financial support from a State Historic Preservation Office, foundation, local historical society or other similar source. Students must be enrolled in a degree program while working on their entry. National Park Service employees are not eligible to compete.


Sites selected for documentation must be appropriate for inclusions in the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection. Drawings must be of a building, structure, or cultural landscape not previously recorded in HABS/HAER/HALS measured drawings, or be of a site that has changed significantly since previous drawings were created. Federal mitigation projects and drawings created as part of an NPS contract are not eligible for the Peterson Prize. Name and location information should be verified with the Peterson Prize Coordinator before being inked or plotted.


  • Follow the HABS, HAER, or HALS guidelines for measured drawings and (if applicable) historical reports.
  • Review the rating scale to see how each project is judged.
  • The faculty sponsor must submit the Peterson Prize entry form (pdf) by the deadline listed below. The form must be received two weeks before the submission of the completed drawings. The Peterson Prize coordinator will verify the proposed site name and address after receiving the form.
  • Students must create all of the drawings. Color may be used in drawings only with advance approval of the prize coordinator.
  • Projects using CAD will be provided with an AutoCAD title block upon receipt of the entry form. Projects utilizing hand drawing should contact the prize coordinator for instructions.
  • Students intending to utilize 3-D laser scanning and/or digital photogrammetry as part of their documentation process should contact the Peterson Prize Coordinator for guidance prior to commencement of the project.
  • The Peterson Prize coordinator will plot the finished sheet set. If you want to plot the set yourself, or if you want to enter an ink-on-Mylar drawing, check with the coordinator for instructions before beginning your project.

Submission Checklist

  • Drawings:
    • Physical copy of the full-sized sheet set
    • CAD (dwg) files of the sheet set with any supporting fonts, referenced (xref) files, and pen table (ctb) files. Each sheet should be set up as an individual CAD file.
    • (Optional): High-quality pdf of the final drawing set
  • Field notes: Original field sketches and/or field records for laser scanning & photogrammetry. Fold oversized pages to 8.5" x 11" size. Do not bind the field notes. Label each page with the survey number.
  • Field photos (optional but recommended): Printed copies of field photos, to be included in the field records. Include the survey number on every photo/page.
  • Historical report: Microsoft Word file (see templates)
  • Signed Copyright Release Form (pdf), to confirm donation of the work to the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection. The faculty sponsor may sign the form on behalf of the full team.
  • Digital files (CAD, MS Word) can be sent via email, or on a USB drive or CD/DVD


  • 1 June 2024 – Postmark deadline for submission of entry forms
  • 30 June 2024 – Postmark deadline for submission of completed entries.
  • 8 August 2024 – Prize jury convenes and winners announced
  • 23 October 2024 – Awards ceremony at the Traditional Building Conference
  • Winter 2024 – Information about the 2025 competition will be posted

Prize Coordinator Contact Information

Mark Schara, AIA
Email: e-mail us
Phone: 202-354-2166

Mail sent to the HDP through USPS is subject to irradiation. It is recommended that submissions be sent via FedEx, United Parcel Service, or other delivery service. Address submissions to:

Mark Schara, AIA
Peterson Prize Coordinator
Heritage Documentation Programs
National Park Service
1849 C St NW, Mail Stop 7408
Washington, DC 20240

Last updated: May 29, 2024