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Following enactment of the most preservation-friendly funding bill in history, the Trump Administration released its FY 2021 budget proposal this week with alarming but familiar calls for steep cuts to the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and other key preservation programs, as well as proposing closure of the National Endowment of the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. View of the White House. | Credit: Proimos via Flickr CC-by-NC 2.0 Though these requested cuts are unlikely ...
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The community of Historic Oberlin Village in Raleigh, North Carolina has a story to tell: one of accomplishment, pride, and overcoming incredible obstacles. Founded by African American freedmen around 1870, they created an independent town that consisted of twelve blocks with almost 1,000 residents who were carpenters, brick masons, and seamstresses once enslaved by some of Raleigh’s most prominent families. Due to the effects of the Great Depression, urban renewal, and now development and gentrification, ...
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Editor's Note: The nomination period for the  2020 National Preservation Awards has been extended. The new deadline is February 21.  Historic Denver was founded in 1970 on the heels of the National Historic Preservation Act, a few years after the urban renewal wrecking ball left a scar through downtown Denver and cities across the country. Like many preservation nonprofits, Historic Denver got its start saving a historic house and converting it into a museum: the Molly Brown House Museum. ...
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Building constructive relationships with property owners or representatives is a key element to successful easement administration. A property owner that knows and trusts the easement-holding organization, and more specifically, that organization’s representative, is more likely to reach out with questions about the easement. As a result, the stewardship of the easement property can improve, particularly in avoiding misunderstandings about the easement and its requirements. The Land Trust Standards ...
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By Drew A. Gruber and Chris Brown     When was the last time you thought about signage? Have you wondered if this seemingly static resource could be made better for the environment or easier on your organization’s bank account? Signage is omnipresent on the landscape, from stop signs along our roadways to interpretive signage at historic sites. We often take them for granted, underutilizing the resource, and putting up with a product which is long overdue for a facelift.  Civil War Trails is ...
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By Adriel Luis   Editor's Note:  This piece came out of a session at the 2018 PastForward Conference in San Francisco, California, which was led by Adriel Luis and Michelle Angela Ortiz . The session focused specifically on working and communicating with underrepresented communities as part of preservation practice. In this piece Adriel Luis expands on his work with various groups across the country.  What do we mean when we say community ? It is a word that is often uttered, yet seldom ...
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By Seri Worden and Patrick Grossi In November 2019, Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney signed into law three new bills that remove barriers and incentivize historic preservation in one of our nation’s most historic cities. These bills will allow for a more flexible and supportive regulatory environment for the protection of historic buildings and neighborhoods by reducing parking requirements, allowing for accessory dwelling units, and providing other uses for “special purpose” buildings. Philadelphia ...
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By Tamar Rabinowitz Bound by a 6”x 6” exhibit label, museum curators must capture the layered history of an object or artwork in a few very precious words. The materials of our culture, however, contain meanings that extend far beyond the edges of the object label—a single painting, artifact, or tchotchke bear a multitude of intersecting stories. The National Trust for Historic Preservation Collections Portal brings these many stories to life. Featuring an ever expanding selection from ...
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By Katherine Malishewsky One of the most important things we can do to encourage the preservation of our historic buildings is to keep the programs within them relevant and functional. When a building fails to meet user needs, this is often the start of a careful dance where owner, architect, and preservationist consider modification, addition, and most controversially, demolition. There are several points within any modernization project where it becomes inevitable that historic materials ...
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Editor's Note: The Senate passed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020  by a vote of 71-23 and President Trump signed it into law on Friday, December 20.  The most preservation-friendly funding bill in history is poised to pass the Senate and head to the president’s desk following House passage on Tuesday, December 17. The FY 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill was wrapped into the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 1865) with ...
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By Tyrell Anderson and the Decay Devils Editor's Note: Tyrell Anderson is the 2019 recipient of the American Express Aspire Award.  Know of a worthwhile preservationist or project? The 2020 National Preservation Awards are now open through February 3, 2020.  A few years ago, we were just a group of friends united around our love for art and adventure. We spent much of our free time exploring abandoned buildings, snapping photographs, and compiling some pretty entertaining stories. We were ...
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Preservation Leadership Forum is presenting  a series of posts  by  Sarah Rovang , the 2017 recipient of the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians. The fellowship allows its recipients—recent graduates with advanced degrees or emerging scholars—to study by travel for one year, providing them with opportunities to see and experience architecture and landscapes firsthand; think about their profession deeply; and acquire knowledge that will be useful for ...
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Preservation organizations that accept and hold preservation easements assume the long-term responsibility to manage the easement, often in perpetuity. Easement administration typically includes routine monitoring, staff time to respond to owner requests, and legal costs for questions about easement interpretation and enforcement. Having the necessary resources to enforce its easements is one of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service in identifying a qualified organization for easement ...
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This post originally appeared on  Bipartisan Policy Center as part of a series on environmental review and permitting. Federal investment in our country’s aging infrastructure is overdue and is critical to the vitality of the communities where we live and work. Efficient delivery of infrastructure projects and the preservation of our nation’s cultural resources can and should be complimentary goals, as intended by Congress when it passed the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.   Policymakers ...
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By Justin Garrett Moore Editor's Note:  This is an excerpt from Justin Garrett Moore's article "Making a Difference: Reshaping the Past, Present, and Future Toward Greater Equity" which was featured in Forum Journal: ReUrbanism: Past Meets Future in American Cities. Moore presented portions of this article as part of a talk at PastForward 2019 in Denver, Colorado. In order to share his thoughts you can read the introduction to his piece below, and then read the full article at the link below.  ...
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Editor's Note: These remarks were presented by Ruth Abram, the 2019 Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award recipient, on October 11 at PastForward 2019 in Denver Colorado. The Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s highest national recognition. Named for one of the National Trust’s founding trustees, the award is made with the greatest care and only when there is indisputable evidence of superlative achievement in the preservation and interpretation of ...
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Before we can save something, we must understand it. Even as a fresh graduate of a landscape architecture program, I was surprised by the design and operation of the National Mall Tidal Basin. I knew about the Tidal Basin before working on the campaign to save it at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Like many visitors to Washington, D.C., I saw that the reservoir links the Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other monuments. The well-known cherry ...
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Six years ago, when I talked about historic sites and house museums around the country, I borrowed the term “crisitunity”—a combination of crisis and opportunity—from an episode of The Simpsons .  As a field, we identified the fact that these institutions had particular challenges that demanded attention if they were going to continue to exist.  However, we also understood that there was an untapped potential in how we engaged with the public that, if realized, could allow us not just to survive, ...
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At the National Trust’s 2019 PastForward Conference in Denver, Opportunity Zones were a popular topic.  Opportunity Zones have gained significant attention and notoriety as either a potential new tool for historic preservation or a modern iteration of Urban Renewal.  For those that missed the session, “ Opportunity Zones and Historic Preservation: At the Crossroads (slides) ” provides an overview of the Opportunity Zone (OZ) incentive and how preservation organizations and local communities are ...
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The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) is the principal source of federal funding for implementing the nation’s preservation programs, including core funding for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. The National Park Service (NPS) administers several competitive grant programs within the HPF that protect and interpret the stories of all Americans. As we look to the upcoming centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment—and beyond—we have a unique opportunity to use these existing programs ...
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