America’s relationship with its past changed fundamentally when President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act into law in October 1966, formally recognizing historic preservation as an important policy of the United States. Throughout 2016, Preservation50 commemorated the 50th anniversary of this groundbreaking law, which established the framework and incentives to preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeology. These heritage resources help us learn from the past, shape our sense of place, anchor economic revitalization, and ensure a more sustainable future for our nation.

From a large public survey conducted in 2013 emerged five goals for leveraging the year-long 2016 commemoration to:

Goal 1:
Build the coalition required to power a more effective preservation movement.

Goal 2:
Learn from the first 50 years of the NHPA to plan preservation’s stronger future.

Goal 3:
Tell the story of heritage preservation’s value to a broad range of Americans.

Goal 4:
Educate policymakers about improving heritage policy and funding.

Goal 5:
Prepare the heritage preservation movement’s future leaders.

With the support of our 100+ partner organizations—the largest coalition of such organizations ever assembled—Preservation50 was enormously successful in delivering exciting initiatives to measurably advance each of those goals.

Build the Coalition

  • Unprecedented Coalition

    Secured partnership among 100+ leading agencies, organizations, and tribes, across all sectors

  • Honorary Board

    Assembled national leaders to increase visibility of the anniversary

  • Web Portal

    Built dynamic website hosting 125 pages of content and networking tools

  • Event Calendar

    Compiled and promoted hundreds of anniversary events in 59 states and territories

Leverage Lessons Learned

  • The Seminal Report

    Digitally republished With Heritage So Rich, the 240-page book that inspired the drafting and passage of the NHPA.

  • Policy Retrospective

    Examined 50 years of Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) policy in a report containing 100 interview clips (forthcoming)

  • Success Stories

    Shared 50+ profiles of impactful projects made possible by the NHPA

  • Making Archaeology Public

    Hosted videos produced by 16 states about lessons learned of public value from archaeological preservation projects

  • Speeches & Presentations

    Examined the past and future of the federal preservation program in 20 keynotes and panels

  • Media Library

    Collected all anniversary analysis and coverage from print and online sources

  • Economic Impact Data

    Partnered with Presonomics to provide open access data on the economic impacts of preservation

Tell The Story Broadly

  • Super Bowl Ad

    Placed an ad in the Official NFL Super Bowl 50 & Pro Bowl programs, which garnered 50 million views

  • Posters & Logos

    Designed six brands reflecting the diversity of heritage resources used by organizers in hundreds of events and media pieces

  • TV Series

    Supported the filming of a 6 episode, 12 location- series, forthcoming, that follows volunteer preservation crews (forthcoming)

  • Photo Contest

    Garnered hundreds of great entrants displaying the visual power and breadth of heritage resources

  • Mobile App

    Partnered with Next Exit History to deploy an app to aid in exploring 2,500+ National Historic Landmarks

  • Op-Eds

    Published numerous thought-pieces in state and national media outlets

  • Inclusion Resources

    Assembled best-in-class resources on how bring greater diversity to the preservation movement

  • Coloring Book

    Created a downloadable coloring book to engage even the youngest of future preservationists

Educate Policymakers

  • Capitol Hill Launch

    Organized a kickoff reception with Congressional and Executive Branch leaders to spotlight anniversary goals

  • Historic Preservation Fund

    Shaped education campaign that secured seven-year reauthorization of HPF and federal funding of $65.41 million for FY 2016

  • Policy Briefing

    Prepared detailed preservation policy recommendations for the new Administration and Congress

  • Official Resolutions

    Welcomed proclamations by President Obama, the US Conference of Mayors, the National Congress of American Indians, and many state legislatures

Develop Leaders


    Pioneered a leadership fellowship and platform with 25 courses for emerging preservation leaders

  • Next-Gen Diversity

    Sponsored 80-person luncheon program on the topic at the PastForward 2016 Conference

  • K-12 Resources

    Curated a collection of best-in-class resources on how to engage students in the movement

  • Field Service

    Partnered with HistoriCorps and Passport in Time to promote hands-on volunteer opportunities on preservation projects (forthcoming)

  • Communications Tools

    Designing strategies and tools to help SHPOs & THPOs better communicate their missions to the public (forthcoming)


National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers; Cultural Resource Fund


American Express


Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC


United States Department of Agriculture / U.S. Forest Service


Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Alumni Foundation


National Trust for Historic Preservation


StoryArts Media


Suzann W. Matthews


Society for Historical Archaeology


Next Exit History


Summerlee Foundation


Register of Professional Archaeologists; Society for American Archaeology; American Cultural Resources Association

Certain initiatives will continue beyond the anniversary year, including:

The Web Portal

The website will be kept fully functional and serve as a repository and archive of the work of the commemoration.

Social Media

Preservation50’s Facebook and Twitter accounts will remain active.

Communications Tools

Efforts are ongoing to provide SHPOs and Tribes with communications tools, training, and strategy.


The leadership development platform will spin off and continue to evolve.

For questions about this report or for further information about Preservation50 contact Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC at