Federal Historic Preservation Program

Learn about Historic Preservation in the United States.

After World War II, with a rapidly growing population, a lack of modern infrastructure, and a need for housing, the United States began to make major investments in highways, urban renewal, and public works.

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 was passed primarily to acknowledge the importance of protecting our nation’s heritage from rampant federal development. It was the triumph of more than a century of struggle by a grassroots movement of committed preservationists.

Section 106

Passage of NHPA in 1966 found most federal government agencies at a loss to respond to the challenges of historic preservation, much less prepared to cope with the growing public interest.

National Register of Historic Places

Many people have heard the phrase “listed in the National Register of Historic Places.” But what does it mean? How does this happen?

NHPA authorized the Secretary of the Interior to maintain a list of resources important to our nation’s history. Historic places can be individual sites, encompass several resources to create a historic district, or reach the ultimate level of a National Historic Landmark.

Historic Tax Credit

The Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit, commonly known as the Federal Historic Tax Credit, is one of the most powerful historic preservation tools we have. Recognizing the cost associated with rehabilitating historic buildings, the Historic Tax Credit provides a 20% income tax credit to developers of income producing properties such as office buildings, retail establishments, rental apartments, and others.


Impactful Reports to Historic Preservation; Historic Preservation Fund; Federal Historic Tax Credits.

Tools for Preservation

The best place to find more information about historic preservation in your state including funding, research, laws, project review, listing on the National Register or your State Register (if applicable), is through your State Historic Preservation Officer.

Disaster Response

Information about the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), which provides information on saving treasured objects, documents, and photos after fires, floods, tornadoes and other disasters. Also find information about federal agency coordination under Unified Federal Review.

Sign Manufacturers

Signage is one way to recognize historic properties and sites of importance. Signage may be utilized by a homeowner or business/building owner looking for a National Register (or state or local register) plaque or a highway marker alerting passersby to historic importance. A number of signage manufacturers exist.

Heritage Travel Itineraries

Spotlighting different communities, geographic regions and themes across the country, the travel itineraries expose you to a huge variety of places significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. The Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries can help you plan your next trip!