NATIONAL PRESERVATION MONTH
May is dedicated to National Preservation Month. Also known as Historic Preservation Month, the month celebrates the nation’s heritage through historic places. Organizations across the country promote a variety of activities on the local, state, and national levels. Whether you are interested in touring historical sites or helping to preserve the history in your backyard, there is something for everyone.
Not only are the places worth preserving, but the stories behind them are, too. Everywhere we go, there is more to discover. Whether the story is found in archives or attics, peeling back the layers of time helps us understand the past. Recording stories help to provide a rich and lively history of the people who lived and worked there. We can better imagine their hardships, what they overcame, and the difficult decisions they made in the face of adversity.
How To Get Started
- Learn about volunteer opportunities in your area. You might be able to rehabilitate historic buildings or sort archived material.
- Check your attic, basement, garage, or other outbuildings. Do you have historical documents or photos that may contribute to your community’s history?
- Visit local museums and learn the history of your community. Then learn even more. Find out about the heritage of the area before your town’s charter.
- Explore the history of a single building. What businesses took up shop over the years? How has it transformed? How has it been preserved?
- Discover parts of your city you’ve never seen before! Get lost and study the architecture. Speak to the people in the neighborhood. Seek the untold stories.
- Join a preservation organization. These are just a few to get you started:
- National Trust For Historic Preservation
- State Historic Preservation Office
- National Register of Historic Places
- National Park Service
- Preservation Action
- National Alliance of Preservation Commissions
- National Main Street Center
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Sons of the American Revolution
- Local and State Museums
- Local and State Historical Societies
HOW TO OBSERVE
Get excited about the history around us! Celebrate the places, stories, and people behind them, even those not yet discovered. Stitching every story together, every single one, creates a richer, more complete picture of our nation.
Share your favorite historic place. Take time to visit a museum or tour a place you’ve always wanted to see. Investigate a story you heard a grandparent tell, or better yet, record it!
Use #NationalPreservationMonth to share on social media.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation established a week in May as National Historic Preservation week in 1973. The events included film series, balls, home tours, special units in schools, symposiums, and much more. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “A Joint Congressional Resolution was introduced on February 15, 1973, by Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), chairman of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee to designate the week of May 6-12, 1973, as National Preservation Week. President Richard Nixon signed the resolution into law on May 5, 1973.
First Lady Patricia Nixon, who presented the National Trust awards during the third annual Awards Luncheon in the Decatur House Garden on May 8th, also read the Presidential proclamation: ‘As the pace of change accelerates in the world around us, Americans more than ever need a lively awareness of our roots and origins in the past on which to base our sense of identity in the present and our directions for the future.'”
In 2005, the National Trust expanded the celebration to a month-long observance. It allows a broader opportunity for organizations to display our ever-growing and unique heritage. Each year the National Trust selects a theme and invites preservationists from coast to coast to share their efforts.