What Is Historic Preservation Month?

By | May 15, 2017

Every American can help to protect and preserve buildings and sites that matter to us all. So what is Historic Preservation Month all about and what can you do to preserve these places that are not only important to us today but also to our ancestors of yesteryear. After all if we lose them then we have lost a piece of our history. We will have left nothing for our children to help remember the people that came before us.

What Is Historic Preservation Month?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) is an organization that as the name suggests preserves historical sites all across the United States. The organization was founded way back in 1949 and is currently based in Washington, D.C.

The aims of the NTHP are to provide leadership for local preservationists who want to save and revitalize America’s historic buildings and places. Their initiative to create a month, which has been chosen as May, to help raise awareness and help save our heritage.

This initiative all started when the National Trust created Preservation Week back in 1971. Then two years later in 1973 this was extended to an entire month. With this initiative it is hoped that the public are aware of preserving our historical past and also enhance our historic communities.

Special Date:

Historic Preservation Month – May


National Trust for Historic Preservation

Not only do the National Trust provide leadership but they are also educators as well. They provide articles, case studies, and journals as well as organizing conferences and training. There is even a quarterly magazine entitled Preservation, and also there is a blog where people can showcase their stories.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

So why preserve our past?

After the Civil War, that lasted from 1861 to 1865, America wanted to rebuild. There was a sense of national identity and history and America wanted to preserve important sites and objects that were deemed to be significant to the country’s history.

The Historic Sites Act was passed by Congress in 1935. This Act identified historic sites of importance and areas of research as well. Historic districts were also popping up all over the States. The first being the old city in the state of South Carolina, Charletson.

Despite there being a push to preserve and restore sites this initiative was only at that time being supported by local citizens and groups. There was obviously a need for a national organization to help support the local community reach its aims. And that is where the National Trust for Historic Preservation stepped in.

Let me ask you something!

Do you have a special place of interest? Is this place of significance to you today, your ancestors, or maybe both? And is there a threat of it being lost forever due to decay or for any other reason?

We all have a place that is important and sentimental to us. Actually maybe more than one for that matter. What really matters though is that we show our support and protect them now before it is too late! And that is the ultimate goal of Historic Preservation Month. To get that message across.

The Programs of the National Trust

The National Trust was responsible for initiating the National Treasures program back in 2011. This program identified historically significant landmarks that were on the verge of being lost forever. Through fundraising as well as coalition building and legal advocacy this program has helped to restore America’s past.

The National Trust currently lists 11 historic places that are the most endangered. The original list was created back in 1988 and is updated annually. People can nominate places of interest each year whereby the National Trust will add it to this list based on a number of factors.

For example, factors that will be considered are whether the place is deemed to be significant; if there is a local group that can help to preserve the site; its’ urgency and what possible solutions are there to protect a site.


What Can You Do During Historic Preservation Month?

There are many activities and events that are held over the entire country. So why not get involved in the month of May and see what you can do to protect America’s past for the future? Not only will you be doing your bit and helping protect something that is important to you, but also you will be helping others keep their memories alive by protecting these places.

What can I do?

Activities and events that you can expect:

  • Award ceremonies
  • Building craft demonstrations
  • Community projects
  • Festive parties
  • Lectures
  • Public exhibitions
  • Special tours

So why not get involved in protecting the past and preserving an important site for generations to come. The Saving Places website is a great place to for you to start. From this site you can download a toolkit that you can use which will include signs, social media shareables and a campaign toolkit as well.

You can also show your support for Historic Preservation Month by taking photos and sharing them using the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters. To keep up to date with this initiative check out @SavingPlaces on Instagram and Twitter.


Final Thoughts

You maybe wondering to yourself why have I written a post about preserving historic sites on a genealogy site. Well the answer to this question is quite simple.

Within the Guides & Tips section of this site I have included posts that highlight ways that you can preserve your family heirlooms. Heirlooms such as medals and coins, jewellery, photos and any other possession that you may have in your home that has some sentimental value to you.

A building or site is in a way no different. Just like with any object that we own these places are a link to our past. It has memories and stories that remind us of our ancestors. All of these heirlooms and places of significance we can pass on to our children and our children’s children.

I hope that you do your bit to preserve America’s heritage and also pass on a legacy to your descendants.


Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what Historic Preservation Month is all about. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

8 thoughts on “What Is Historic Preservation Month?

  1. Susie

    Thanks for a great post. We homeschool and we are big fans of living history, people and places. When we travel we always seek out places to go and learn. It’s one thing to read about the battle of Vicksburg, it’s entirely another to stand in the battlefield and stare across the river. We also tend to visit any historic districts in our destinations. I wasn’t even aware that there was a Historic Preservation Month. I’ll have to see if there’s anything nearby that we might get involved with.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      That is so right Susie. You can read up on history, which I like to do, but to be there it really brings you closer to the history behind it. You feel it more.

      When I was young my family and I would visit historic sites. Before we got there I would read up on the history. And then when we arrived I appreciated what I was seeing more.

      Reply
  2. Colleen

    Great post! I agree with you Owain, people need to be involved in preserving our nation’s history. You gave lots of great ideas of how we can all get involved. Thanks again for the great read.

    Colleenmcn16@aol.com

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You’re welcome Colleen. If WE don’t get involved then who will. I feel it is up to everyone to give a hand and help protect our past for the future.

      Reply
  3. Craig Rutkowske

    Really interesting history here, I had no idea how much of this was established post Civil War. On that note, there’s been a lot of information in the news these days about pulling down old statues and such that related to the civil war and the Confederacy. While they, just like every other historic place, were certainly part of American history, what are your thoughts on maintaining the more controversial historic sites/items?

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      You bring up an interesting point Craig and I have thought about it before. Many people do see the controversy of these statues and memorials and what they mean. I feel though that it is important to protect our past. Sure we could take photos and document these sites before they get knocked down and removed. But without them actually being there we have effectively lost a piece of our past.

      Reply
  4. Ronnie Jordan

    I think is a valuable point. I was not aware of this event and I am sure I am not the only one. It is good that you are putting this information out there for others like me. I do feel it is important to retain history.

    Reply
    1. Owain Post author

      I am glad that you feel the same way Ronnie. Too much has already been lost and where will it stop. We have many great sites of historical interest that need to be protected and preserved. And that is where we come in.

      Reply

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