Preservation Briefs are a Technical Preservation Service from the National Park Service (NPS). They provide guidance on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings. These NPS Publications help historic building owners recognize and resolve common problems prior to work. The briefs are especially useful to Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program applicants because they recommend methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic buildings that are consistent with their historic character.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of our country’s historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. It was established as part of the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966 and is overseen by the National Park Service. The National Register recognizes more than 90,000 properties for their significance in:
- American History
National Center for Preservation Technology & Training (NCPTT)
NCPTT helps preservationists find better tools, better materials, and better approaches to conserving buildings, landscapes, sites, and collections. It conducts research and testing in its own laboratories, provides cutting edge training around the U.S., and supports research and training projects at universities and nonprofits. NCPTT undertakes research at its in-house laboratories and in partnerships with universities and laboratories around the U.S. The NCPTT labs include the National Park Service’s richest store of scientific equipment specifically designed to study environmental impacts on cultural materials. NCPTT promotes excellence in preservation by promoting and developing nationwide seminars and workshops on topics like green building science and non-destructive archaeology.
- Grants: The National Center provides direct and competitive grants to promote research and training opportunities in preservation technology.
- Research: NCPTT’s website provides free, instantly downloadable research from the Center’s hundreds of grants products. Our staff also provides technical expertise on a variety of specialized scientific interests.
The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program encourages private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. It creates jobs and is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective community revitalization programs. It has leveraged over $84 billion in private investment to preserve 42,293 historic properties since 1976. The National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service administer the program in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices.
Preservation or Conservation Easements
A historic preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement, typically in the form of a deed, which permanently protects a significant historic property. Since it is a perpetual easement, an owner is assured that the property’s historic character will be preserved. In addition, an owner who donates an historic preservation easement may be eligible for one or more forms of tax benefits.
Under the terms of a typical preservation easement, a property owner places restrictions on the development of, or changes to, the property and transfers these restrictions to a qualified organization whose mission includes environmental protection, land conservation, open space preservation, or historic preservation. The organization must have the resources to manage and enforce the restrictions provided for in the easement and have a commitment to do so. Once recorded, the easement restrictions become part of the property’s chain of title and "run with the land" in perpetuity, thus binding not only the owner who grants the easement but all future owners as well. Preservation easements in some states may also be called preservation "restrictions," "covenants," or "equitable servitudes."
- National Park Service Bulletin: Easements to Protect Historic Properties: A Useful Historic Preservation Tool and Potential Tax Benefits (PDF)
- National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Section on Easements
- Florida Division of Historical Resources’ Information on Conservation Easements
- Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s Easement Program
Disaster Planning & Mitigation for Historic Resources
Recently, there has been a focus on incorporating disaster preparedness and historic preservation, as recent weather events have seen the destruction of many historic and cultural resources. Multiple documents have been published by the National Park Service, Florida Division of Historical Resources, and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
- Protecting Florida’s History from Hazards (PDF)
- Disaster Mitigation for Historic Structures: Protection Strategies (PDF)
- Disaster Planning for Florida’s Historic Resources (PDF)
- Weather It Together: The City of Annapolis planning program designed to adapt their historic community to minimize the risks associated with flooding.
- Keeping History Above Water: An annual conference focusing on the increasing and varied risks posed by sea level rise to historic coastal communities and their built environments. Importantly, it is not a conference about climate change, but about what preservationists, engineers, city planners, legislators, insurers, historic home owners and other decision makers need to know about climate change, sea level rise in particular, and what can be done to protect historic buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods from the increasing threat of inundation.