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Insights and Information for Preservation Professionals

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The first half of 2021 saw substantial progress for preservation priorities and especially for public lands-related policy issues, with numerous bills advancing through the legislative process as the 117th Congress got underway. From civil rights legislation and federal designations, to annual appropriations and administrative action, the stage is set for continued progress in the weeks and months to come.  A Big Win for Preserving Julius Rosenwald’s Legacy and Rosenwald Schools A gathering ...
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By Theresa M. Genovese For decades, New Yorkers walking up storied Park Avenue from Union Square would find a compelling sight on the corner of 22nd Street: an exuberantly detailed, six-story Flemish Renaissance Revival building, landmarked and quietly waiting for a new purpose. Designed in 1894 by architects Robert Williams Gibson and Edward Neville Stent as a mission house for the Episcopal Church, over time the property had shifted from tenant to tenant, ever-present but underutilized as the ...
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The National Trust is thrilled to announce the 2021 recipients of the Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors. Grants from these two funds will help preserve a diverse range of historic sites across the country. Between the two funds, the National Trust has granted a total of $261,150 to 30 organizations in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund ...
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In late June, Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Susan Collins (R-ME)  introduced the Senate version of the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO), S. 2266 . Like the House version of HTC-GO (H.R. 2294), which presently has more than 60 co-sponsors , the Senate bill will bring more value to Historic Tax Credit (HTC) projects, improve access to the credit, and encourage investment in smaller rehabilitation projects. The Senate bill, however, ...
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By Carolyn Wallace What does it mean to host a military reenactment in the 21 st century? Cliveden , a National Trust Historic Site located in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia, began consistently hosting reenactments of the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown in 1977. These reenactments are now the centerpiece of the annual Revolutionary Germantown Festival, one of the largest history festivals in Philadelphia, educating generations about the War of Independence and the ...
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In 2018, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund designated the Nina Simone Childhood Home as a National Treasure . The three-room, 660-square-foot home is significant for its association with Nina Simone and as the house where she started playing piano at the age of 3 . After previous unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation, the home was left vacant and at risk for demolition. Four Black visual artists—Adam Pendleton, Rashid Johnson, ...
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By Molly Baker  With health and safety at the forefront, HOPE (Hands-On Preservation Experience) Crew returned to the field for the first time since the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19. Guided by stringent national, state, and local COVID-safe protocols, the HOPE Crew held a carpentry training program at the McDonogh No.19 Elementary Public School , located in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. A recipient of a 2020 African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund grant, McDonogh 19 is ...
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Last fall during the PastForward Online 2020 diversity affinity session on the preservation of LGBTQ Historic Sites, attendees flooded the chat with links to resources related to the LGBTQ history in the United States. While you can access the full list of links and watch the affinity session here , the resources below focus on a set of mapping projects and completed context statements for those looking to save historic sites related to LGBTQ history. Screencapture of the HistoryPin mapping ...
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For many, the diversity affinity sessions at the annual PastForward conference are a highlight of the program. Conceived to provide a dedicated time and place for underrepresented groups to gather at the conference, these sessions offer room for dialogue and exchange, as well as the opportunity for people to meet, network, and share information and best practices.  The content for the diversity affinity sessions is developed by groups working to promote recognition and preservation of a wide ...
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Following last year’s enactment of the most significant funding levels ($144.3 million) for historic preservation to date, the Biden Administration released its FY22 budget with a record $151.8 million in proposed funding for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) at the end of May.  It is particularly noteworthy and somewhat unusual for the Administration to support increasing the authorized level of funding for the HPF and may signal its willingness to consider future increases above the Fund’s statutorily ...
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As our nation continues to grapple with significant challenges—from racial injustice to climate change, and pandemic recovery— the work of preservation must adapt and respond to ensure our movement remains a resilient, relevant force for positive change. The complexity and scale of these challenges require collaborative, coordinated action. In response to calls from the movement for change in practices and policy, the National Trust volunteered to convene conversations and collect ideas with our ...
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By Carolyn Kiernat  It may seem contradictory, at least at first, but a change is afoot in historic preservation.    Surely, preserving traditional influences is important to historic preservation, but with more women leading successful organizations and major initiatives dedicated to preservation and re-use, one tradition is moving beyond its historic past. Today, women are proving to be of more influence in preservation architecture than ever in a field that has been traditionally dominated ...
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In the last year there has been an increase in violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander American community. Read the statement from the National Trust condemning race-based hatred, violence, and misinformation . As with other underrepresented communities, there is no single narrative about what it means to be an Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA); the stories are wide and varied and often go unrecognized. Each of the resources on this list—along with three podcasts that I found ...
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By Peter C. Williams Stockbridge, Massachusetts, located in the Berkshire Hills in the western part of the state, is best known as the hometown of Norman Rockwell, who famously painted the town's Main Street, whose historic buildings are largely unchanged in over a century. Stockbridge, however, has an even deeper and richer history. With the land originally inhabited by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans , the town’s colonial charter was implemented in 1737 as a mission to its Native ...
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The National Trust Preservation Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s small-dollar grant program, offers a timely look at issues preservation organizations are tackling across the country. Applications to the fund’s February 2021 grant round featured a number of new diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives within preservation organizations as well as continued efforts to tell the full American story at historic sites through expanding interpretation and increasing ...
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The Chelsea District Health Center is a 2020 recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards , the highest national recognition bestowed upon a preservation project by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Award recipients represent the best of the best in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the re-imagining of historic buildings for the future. Built in 1937 and located in Manhattan’s Chelsea Park, the Chelsea District Health Center is one of New Deal-era ...
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Fowler Clark Epstein Farm is a 2020 recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards , the highest national recognition bestowed upon a preservation project by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Award recipients represent the best of the best in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the re-imagining of historic buildings for the future. In 2015, Historic Boston Inc. (HBI) purchased the designated Boston landmark and federal period farmstead, Fowler ...
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By Farrah Varga When the calendar rolled over to January, we did not expect everything to immediately change for the better, but no one in the path of the almost benignly named “Winter Storm Uri” in February 2021 had anything quite like a “snowpocalypse” in mind. For those of at Villa Finale, a National Trust Historic Site located in San Antonio, Texas, we learned a lesson in resilience. For almost a week in February, temperatures all over Texas dropped well below freezing and stubbornly stayed ...
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By Melissa Mortimer Melissa Mortimer was one of the recipients of the 2020 American Express Aspire Award . My first memories of preservation go back to driving to my grandparent’s house in Missouri as a kid. The trip from Tennessee took our woody minivan through Cairo, Illinois, where for 31 years, we watched the slow decay and demolition of the commercial district, as well as its historic homes. Every trip, my mom would pull down a side street to go look at her favorite school building, ...
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By Shaw Sprague, Ross Bradford, and Raina Regan Editor's Note (July 2021): Together with coalition partners, the National Trust for Historic Preservation sent a letter to House and Senate leadership in support of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act .  The bill seeks to limit overvaluation of syndicated conservation easements that undermine the charitable intent of this important tax incentive.  The coalition letter to House and Senate leadership was highlighted by Tax ...
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