In 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) created the foundation for today’s national preservation program. Fifty years after enactment of the NHPA, the program has matured and achieved many successes. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has been a significant player in this program, and continues to work through its ongoing mission to “promote the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of our nation’s diverse historic resources, and advise the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.”
How can the national historic preservation program’s value to the public be strengthened? How can outcomes that appropriately balance and serve both preservation and development goals be improved? How should priorities for protecting and enhancing the nation’s historic and cultural heritage and meeting future challenges be identified and addressed? For the 50th anniversary of the NHPA in 2016, the ACHP considered these questions as part of a public process to identify the program’s needs for the future and priorities for improvement. The ACHP consulted with numerous public and private partners in preservation, including state, tribal, and local governments and other stakeholders, to develop policy recommendations for the next 50 years of historic preservation in America. The recommendations also considered practical steps to enhance the implementing programs and tools used under the NHPA and related authorities.
The recommendations were grouped around 12 broad goals for the national preservation program, along with a range of implementing actions, in order to:
- Strengthen public support
- Enhance leadership
- Improve preservation planning;
- Strengthen funding and investment;
- Engage the public
- Advance equity and inclusion in what is preserved
- Respond to indigenous peoples’ concerns
- Enhance heritage education;
- Promote collaboration and partnerships
- Address sustainability, disasters, & climate adaptation
While the report offers a blueprint for the future, some steps may be taken to move the national historic preservation program forward over the near term.
Highlights of the ACHP’s recommendations may be found in the Executive Summary. For a full list of policy recommendations and actions, see the complete ACHP Report, The National Historic Preservation Program at 50: Priorities and Recommendations for the Future.