Leading the Change Together

A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement

The purpose of Leading the Change Together is to help guide and inspire the preservation movement to work collectively and collaboratively towards a vision for strategic change. Recent national and global events including the ongoing pandemic, climate-related disasters, and acts of abhorrent social injustice have increased the urgency of addressing longstanding challenges. Leading the Change Together is based on the understanding that many of our existing challenges are structural, and that broad effort involving all aspects of the field will be needed to build a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable future. Now is the time for us to bring together our diverse perspectives and values and create positive change.

A Crowdsourced Framework For Action

Leading the Change Together aspires to reflect a multitude of perspectives across the preservation movement. Building off of the insights from past studies, the National Trust has facilitated over 65 discussion sessions to date reaching approximately 700 people. Learn more about our outreach process here.

These discussions will continue over the next few years. To help carry the important responsibility of stewarding and sharing out these crowdsourced ideas for change, we hope people across the movement will shape, challenge, and engage with this content so it can continue to reflect the many priorities of the dynamic preservation movement today, and we can hold ourselves accountable to these goals.

Goals Summary

Below are seven goals that aspire to represent end-state positive outcomes for the preservation field. These goals reflect what the National Trust is hearing are current top priorities for change that apply broadly across an expansive preservation movement. Each of the seven goals are shared as the organizing framework for action. To learn more about how we developed these goals, see Leading the Change Together: A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement.

To date, the National Trust has also heard hundreds of suggestions for concrete actions that people across the movement identified as potential pathways—large and small—to achieve these goals and create positive change in preservation. These actions highlight the need for continued change both internally in terms of how the field operates, and externally in terms of the outcomes preservation produces in the world. We hope these ideas will inspire more people in preservation to identify actions they can lead and act on and continue generating their own ideas for change wherever they see gaps and the greatest need. We invite individuals, organizations, and institutions to reflect on these ideas and what others across the movement are saying and doing, and to identify and shape their own pathway toward leading the change together.

Explore case studies related to each goal in the Lead the Change Case Study Explorer. To reflect a fuller spectrum of the preservation movement as it continues to grow, we will continue to crowdsource and add additional examples over time. Please send in case study ideas using this submission form.

HOPE Crew participants learn about cemetery restoration at a workshop at Houston's Olivewood Cemetery.

Growing, Collaborative Networks

Cultivate and support collaborative, effective grassroots preservation networks and partnerships with allied fields to address critical needs.

The Ajo Curley School rehabilitation project in Ajo, Arizona.
New Historical Project

An Inclusive Movement

Increase the diversity of people who are empowered to lead and carry out preservation work to ensure that the movement better represents our diverse heritage.

Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas, is a community platform to impact the urban landscape through art and cultural identity.
Project Row Houses

Modernized, Expanded Tools

Update and add new preservation tools and practices so more people can recognize, interpret, protect, and activate a larger and more diverse set of historic places and landscapes.

Sign: Stop the Demolition of Affordable Housing
Adrian Fine/LA Conservancy

Equitable Communities

Intentionally harness the power of preservation to respond to historic and current inequities and be accountable to present-day needs.

City Dock Flood, Annapolis, Maryland
City of Annapolis

Climate Resilience

Conserve, reuse, and retrofit older buildings to reduce carbon emissions, while at the same time adapting historic places to withstand current and future climate impacts.

Community engagement at Clayborn Temple, Memphis, Tennessee
Steve Jones

An Engaged Public

Reach broader audiences and cultivate greater support through enriched storytelling and accessible communication.

McDonogh 19/Leona Tate Foundation for Change, New Orleans, Louisiana
Justen Wiliams

A Truer History

Expand interpretation and truth telling at historic places to reflect an inclusive and multilayered shared history to advance justice and equity.

Opportunity for Feedback

Do you see your priorities reflected in these goals? Tell us why or why not at nationalimpactagenda@savingplaces.org.

Reflecting Shared Principles

While the spectrum of professions that collectively make up the preservation movement includes many disparate organizations and practices that serve different roles, the field is guided by a range of interconnected guiding principles that motivate and inspire our work today. We expect the following list to grow and shift through more public input and hope to spark additional dialogue and collaboration:

Graphic chart of the impact agenda guiding values.
  1. Saving history for future generations
  2. Telling the full story
  3. Creating healthy and livable communities
  4. Advancing racial equity and social justice
  5. Addressing climate change
  6. Supporting equitable revitalization
  7. Preserving personal connections to place
  8. Managing community change
  9. Preserving great architecture
  10. Protecting cultural practices and intangible heritage
  11. Safeguarding sacred landscapes
  12. Supporting community self-determination
  13. Advancing truth-telling and reconciliation
  14. Supporting local economic development
  15. Mitigating displacement

Next Steps: Commitments to Action

We are focused on developing an assessment tool and resources for the National Trust and other preservation agencies, organizations, firms, and leaders around the country to evaluate their existing and future initiatives and shed light on how these goals can further align with the priorities identified in the crowdsourced Leading the Change Together. We aim to share more in the coming months and to provide opportunities for preservationists to showcase their initiatives and leadership in redefining the U.S. preservation movement today. Please check back for updates.

Ways to Engage:

  • Volunteer for the Leadership Cohort: Many organizations are leading positive change in preservation around the country today. The National Trust is exploring ways we can convene, share, and collaborate on measuring progress toward the goals surfaced through the National Impact Agenda to accelerate change. If you are interested in receiving updates on tools to help your organization evaluate and share your progress with others, please let us know and we will keep you updated as these tools develop. Sign up for information on the National Impact Agenda Leadership Cohort by clicking the Send Feedback button.
  • Help us crowdsource additional actions and/or case studies to add your voice to the National Impact Agenda. Click the Send Feedback Button below and email us a short description of a strategic action or a case study and indicate which of the seven goal(s) they support. A member of our team will follow-up.
  • Share Feedback: Tell us how you are using the National Impact Agenda. How are these crowdsourced ideas helping your organization? What information is most impactful for your organization? We value your feedback.