Union Station, Washington, DC

photo by: David Keith

Investing in Preservation’s Future

Empowering Americans to save historic places.

  • Leading the Change Together

    Leading the Change Together: A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement will articulate our shared values and describe actions we can take—individually and collectively—to deepen the impacts of the work of historic preservation.

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As the only national nonprofit preservation organization, the National Trust for Historic Preservation stands with anyone who loves a place enough to try to save it. We are passionate about building a vigorous and growing community of champions for America’s historic places and equipping them with the funding, ideas, networks, and inspiration they need to advocate successfully for our past.

Your generosity champions America’s most powerful tools for saving places, such as historic tax credits. It pioneers original research into the economic, environmental, and community benefits of saving historic places. And it brings advocates, leaders, preservation experts, and community champions together to grapple with preservation’s toughest challenges—recognizing the truth in the proverb that if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

In partnership with you and preservationists across the country, we are creating a legacy of beauty, culture, and history that will endure for generations to come.

Leading the Change Together: A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement

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. The complexity and scale of these challenges require all preservationists to become even more innovative, nimble, and collaborative. Now is the time for us to bring together our diverse perspectives and create positive change.

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. 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 are needed to build a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable future. Leading the Change Together aspires to reflect a multitude of perspectives across the preservation movement.

This national impact agenda will articulate a framework of guiding principles and shared goals for the contemporary movement and seek to elevate the many concrete actions that people across the movement identified as potential pathways—large and small—to achieve these goals and create positive change in preservation.

Shared Guiding Principles

The foundation of Leading the Change Together is based on extensive outreach. Through engagement thus far, the National Trust has identified a set of guiding principles that are motivating preservationists in their work and lives every day across the country. We expect this list to grow and shift as we continue to reflect and discuss these ideas together.

Guiding Principles of Leading the Change Together: A National Impact Agenda for the Preservation Movement
  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. Advancing truth-telling and reconciliation
  11. Supporting local economic development
  12. Mitigating displacement

Goals and Actions: Share Your Ideas on Desired Change

Whether you joined the field recently or have been a part of the movement for decades, we are each driven by diverse yet overlapping guiding principles from saving tangible and intangible history for future generations, to advancing social justice, and so much more. We are crowdsourcing ideas for change from across a movement with many different practices, ideologies, and activities. What are concrete ideas for action that individuals, organizations, institutions, governments, and people can prioritize to deepen the impact of preservation work over the next 3-5 years? What case studies demonstrate leadership towards positive change for different sectors across the preservation field?

We want to hear from you. Leading the Change Together is an iterative process of listening and reflection, and engagement is ongoing. This work began at PastForward Online 2020, and to date, the National Trust has reviewed existing research on change in the preservation field, spoken with more than 425 preservationists from across the country, and engaged more through online surveys. Outreach will continue during and after PastForward Online 2021 and at future conferences. We will share a draft framework based on what we’ve heard from people across the country to continue to shape Leading the Change Together at PastForward Online 2021.

To Join the Conversation:

Learn more about the methodology and process behind the development of Leading the Change Together in this story on Preservation Leadership Forum, and learn more about the individuals and organizations who have helped shape this effort to date.

National Preservation Conference: PastForward 2021

PastForward, the National Preservation Conference, brings together a community of professionals and volunteers passionate about saving places, creating an unmatched opportunity to network, learn, and be inspired. PastForward 2021 is scheduled to take place November 2-5, 2021.

Tools & Resources: Preservation Leadership Forum

Through the National Trust's Preservation Leadership Forum, we’ve documented and developed a variety of tools to support your work protecting places. Learn the different ways you will benefit from connecting with this diverse network of preservation leaders.