Agencies kick off historic preservation drive

Officials from dozens of federal agencies gathered in Washington Wednesday to launch a drive to preserve more historic federal property.

Under the effort, called Preserve America, agencies will inventory their historic properties, better protect and manage those properties and promote tourism and other uses for their historic sites. Historic preservation activists hope the initiative will encourage federal, state and local governments and private organizations to work together on historic preservation and the promotion of tourism.

President Bush ordered agencies to participate in Preserve America in an executive order last month. First Lady Laura Bush announced the initiative at a National Association of Counties meeting in Washington on March 3.

"Preserve America will promote historic and cultural preservation and encourage greater public appreciation of our national treasures," the First Lady said.

About 100 officials from more than 40 agencies attended the kickoff meeting Wednesday, which was organized by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The council is a small federal agency charged with making sure that other federal agencies protect their historic assets.

Under the Preserve America order (Executive Order 13287), agencies must designate an official to oversee historic preservation efforts by June 30, 2003. By September 2004, each agency must develop an inventory of all of its historic assets, their condition and their potential for becoming tourism destinations. Then, every three years beginning in 2005, agencies will have to report on their historic preservation efforts to the advisory council and to the Interior Department.

The order also calls on agencies to cooperate with state and local governments, citizen groups and other federal agencies to promote "heritage tourism," or tourism involving historic sites and natural landmarks.

John Nau, head of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, promoted heritage tourism as head of the Texas Historical Commission under then-Gov. George W. Bush. Under Nau, the state encouraged communities to develop guides to federal, state, local and private landmarks in their areas that tourists could use to extend their trips beyond well-known destinations. Representatives of the various levels of government and local citizens worked together on the heritage tourism guides. Nau hopes to spread such cooperative efforts nationwide.

The 1966 National Historic Preservation Act has long required federal agencies to pay attention to historic preservation, but no comprehensive inventory or major cooperative efforts have previously been ordered.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.