History Site Survey

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A National Survey of the Current State and Needs of Historic Sites

The National Survey of the Current State and Needs of Historic Sites was designed in 2002 to answer the question, "What do historic sites need to not only survive but thrive?" This question is asked both by historic site professionals and those outside the profession who wish to forestall the increasingly unstable future faced by many historic sites. Evidence of this concern can be seen in sessions at museum association meetings and in related articles in professional journals and the news media. The troubling fact is that there is little hard data on the current condition of historic sites and what they need to improve their situation.

The National Preservation Institute, as part of its ongoing effort to serve the cultural resource management field, undertook a pilot project in 2001-2002 to develop and implement a survey that would gather information both on the current condition of and the most critical issues facing historic properties today. The results of the survey presented here are seen as a tool for addressing stewardship issues at sites nationwide.

Background and Methodology

Report and Analysis

Detailed Findings

Survey Instrument

Project Teams

Holistic Stewardship of the Historic Site


The National Preservation Institute (NPI) is grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for its support of this project through a Professional Practices award in the National Leadership Grant for Museums program, 2001-2003. The grant also supported NPI's seminar, Holistic Stewardship of the Historic Site, in 2001 and 2002. IMLS, a federal agency, fosters innovation, leadership, and a lifetime of learning. NPI also is grateful to the IMLS staff for their guidance as we developed the survey concept and designed the survey instrument.

In addition to IMLS, NPI thanks the many people at historic sites who carefully considered and completed the survey instrument. Both those who attended NPI's seminar, Holistic Stewardship of the Historic Site, and the members of the Southeastern Museum Conference's Historic House Museum Affinity Group (HHMAG). Special thanks are extended to Allyn Lord and Sara Harger (chairs of HHMAG) for their assistance. For assistance in developing the project concept, thanks go to the staffs at the American Association of Museums, American Association of State and Local History, Heritage Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.