April 15, 2014

Who's Who: More Preservation Organizations You Should Know

If there’s one thing I’ve learned working at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it’s that the key element to saving places is partnerships. So when I set out earlier this year to create a list of preservation organizations, I knew I would have to leave some out.

Today’s list, then, is a follow-up -- additional groups that can be key to getting preservation work done. And I’m sure there are still more we could include, so feel free to mention additional partners in the comments.

American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA): The trade association for organizations involved in cultural resources management work, ACRA works with government agencies at all levels (local, state, and federal), as well as nonprofits and companies. They provide education, advocacy, and resources such as salary surveys and regulatory information.

Archaeological Conservancy: The conservancy is “the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation's remaining archaeological sites.” How, exactly, does this relate to preservation? Many of the Native American sites preservationists strive to save have a strong archaeological element, making them natural partners for these projects.

National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE, or “Nic-Pee”): If you’re part of an academic program -- either as a student or a teacher -- focused on historic preservation, chances are good that you’re already aware of NCPE. It has been instrumental in developing and improving preservation programs at more than 50 colleges and universities. NCPE also helps to fund PreserveNet, one of the biggest preservation job websites out there (though we’re also fans of HistPres and, of course, our own Career Center).

National Council on Public History (NCPH): While the NCPH is not directly involved in preservation, its goals of fostering “public engagement with the past” and “building community among historians, expanding professional skills and tools, fostering critical reflection on historical practice, and publicly advocating for history and historians” makes them ideal partners. After all, most preservationists want to save buildings in order to connect people more closely with history!

On the international preservation front, keep these key players in mind: U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), International National Trusts Organisation (INTO), the World Monuments Fund (WMF), and Society of Architectural Historians (SAH). These nonprofit organizations focus on elevating building conservation (as historic preservation is known through much of the world) through research, education, collaboration, and capacity-building.

Association for Preservation Technology International (APT): Another great international organization to know about is APT, which promotes the “application of traditional and contemporary technology appropriate to conservation of the built environment.” Their chapters, of which there are many in the U.S., offer a wide variety of trainings and publications, ideal for anyone looking to be involved in hands-on preservation work.

And then we have many resource type-specific groups for preservationists to call on. Just to scratch the surface: DOCOMOMO-US (Modernism), the Society for Industrial Archaeology (industrial sites, structures, and technology), and League of Historic American Theatres (historic theaters, of course).

Not sure if the type of place you’re trying to save has a group? Chances are it does, so give Google a try before getting started.

Sarah Heffern, the National Trust's former director of social media, embraces all things online and pixel-centric, but she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having first fallen for historic places in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

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