Historic Sites

Preservation & Historic Sites

The dynamic field of preservation is forging a versatile new relationship with historic sites—and with the landscapes in which they are situated—for the 21st century. Today preservationists are re-evaluating the role of house museums, applying new interpretive frameworks to historic sites, rethinking how best to manage collections, representing a broader range of stories—and developing tools to encompass this evolution.

Additional Resources

The National Trust is not the only organization working on new tools for historic sites. Check out the great information at the American Alliance of Museums, American Association for State and Local History and the National Council on Public History.


Watch the Recording

Commerce + Interpretation: The Possibilities, Pitfalls, and Principles of Shared Use at Historic Sites
September 26, 2017

Watch Now

Shared Use

The shared use of historic sites, house museums, and other historic properties provides expansive and sustainable public benefit by bringing new uses—both commercial and nonprofit—to historic properties while engaging and expanding audiences. The shared-use model demonstrates that dynamic interpretation of a site’s history can be creatively integrated to keep its contemporary functions resonant with its past. At a shared-use site, all operations incorporate preservation and interpretation, and diverse stories, told through a variety of media, engage broad audiences.

preservationPLACES: Nina Simon

Other Videos

Direct Care of Collections

“Direct care,” a key phrase of the American Alliance of Museum’s (AAM) Code of Ethics for museums and historic sites that maintain collections, has only recently been defined by the AAM. Take a look at the new definition, which is reflected in the revised collections policy for National Trust Historic Sites. Read the policy and see how direct care is implemented for collections that include buildings and landscapes.

National Trust Historic Sites

African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School by Shawmut Design and Construction

Historic places create connections to our heritage that help us understand our past, appreciate our triumphs, and learn from our mistakes. Historic places help define and distinguish our communities by building a strong sense of identity.

To ensure that their stories remain a part of our lives today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation protects and promotes historic places, including a diverse collection of 27 sites. When you visit a historic site, you learn from you learn from their stories and help keep history alive.