The year 2016 was significant as the Centennial of the National Park Service, which was established as a new bureau within the Department of the Interior by the Organic Act on August 25, 1916. As directed in this legislation, the National Park Service has served for one hundred years as steward of the "Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations ... to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to ... leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The year 2016 also marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act on October 15, 1966. The Act increased the scope and responsibilities of the National Park Service with regard to the preservation of cultural resources. The
National Historic Preservation Act charges the National Park Service (through authority delegated by the Secretary of the Interior) to establish and administer a national historic preservation program and to develop and promulgate standards and guidelines for the treatment of historic properties.
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects were first issued in 1978. In 1979 they were published with Guidelines for Applying the Standards and reprinted in 1985. The Standards were revised in 1992, when they were retitled "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties."
The Standards were codified in the Federal Register in 1995, the same year that they were published with guidelines as "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings." These Standards and Guidelines provide a critical part of the framework of the national preservation program. They are widely used at the federal, state, and local levels to guide work on historic buildings, and they also have been adopted by Certified Local Governments and historic preservation commissions across the nation.
In 2010 the National Park Service issued A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement, a plan to chart a path for its next 100 years. This plan identified a number of actions with the goal to "preserve America's special places in the next century," which included updating National Park Service policies and guidance. The project to update "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings" was undertaken as part of this broader effort.
Since these Guidelines were first published in 1995, a greater number of buildings and building types, telling a broader range of stories that are part of the nation's heritage, have been recognized as "historic" and eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. These guidelines have been updated and expanded to address the treatment of these buildings constructed with newer materials and systems from the mid- and late-20th century.
The updated Guidelines have the same organization as the prior version, beginning with an introduction and a historical overview, followed by chapters that focus on each of the four treatments: preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction. The historical overview has been expanded; not only has the information on historic materials, systems, features, and special issues that comprised the previous edition been more fully developed, but new entries have been added on glass, paint and other coatings, composite materials, imitative materials, and curtain walls.
In each of the four chapters, the "Recommended" and "Not Recommended" treatments have been updated and revised through out to ensure that they continue to promote the best practices in preservation. The section on exterior additions to historic buildings in the Rehabilitation Guidelines has been broadened also to address related new construction on a building site. A section on code-required work is now included in all of the chapters. "Energy Efficiency" has been eliminated, since it is more fully covered by the guidance provided on sustainability in The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (published in 2011), which has general applicability to all the treatments and is incorporated here by reference. Sections on "Resilience to Natural Hazards" have been added, but these topics will be more fully addressed in separate documents and web features. Finally, the updated Guidelines feature all new, and many more, illustrations in color.
Herewith Technical Preservation Services issues the National Park Service Centennial edition of The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring and Reconstructing Historic Buildings, updated and revised in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, to ensure that the preservation guidance for historic buildings provided by the National Park Service continues to be meaningful and relevant in the 21st century.
Technical Preservation Services
National Park Service