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ACHP Business Meeting held May 10

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) members met for their spring business meeting May 10, 2007 and set forth new initiatives, including adoption of final recommendations from the Preserve America Summit and an endorsement of Senate Bill 1139, the proposed National Landscape Conservation Act.

The ACHP adopted final recommendations from the Preserve America Summit that are intended to advance the national historic preservation program. Earlier in the year, the ACHP reviewed priority ideas developed from the Summit, which was a national conference hosted by Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady and Honorary Chair of Preserve America. That conference in October 2006 brought together more than 450 preservationists, government officials, and stakeholders to examine the preservation program. The ACHP evaluated more than 60 ideas that emerged during the Summit process. The full final report should be available online and on a CD-ROM in June, along with print and electronic copies of an executive summary.

The ideas identified for priority work include the following: create a comprehensive inventory of historic properties; promote cultural diversity in the National Register; respond to disasters by forming a technical advisory committee; address security needs by developing guidance; conserve cultural collections by pursuing collaboration between the preservation community and the cultural heritage community; promote innovative technologies by creating a clearinghouse through the National Park Service; provide more technical assistance to local communities; increase synergy between the development community and public sector partners; enhance heritage education by developing a communication strategy of Web sites, curriculum guides, and other outreach to the educational community; engage youth in historic preservation through a variety of means; optimize U.S. participation in the international preservation arena; and explore improvements to the program structure of the federal preservation program.

Council members also viewed a demonstration of Web-based archaeology guidance, which will soon be available to the public. Easy to navigate, the question and answer tool will offer expert guidance and the ability for communication on the ACHP’s Web site for historic preservation practitioners while they are in the field.

The ACHP also celebrated its 40th anniversary at this meeting. Chairman John L. Nau, III told the group the first ACHP meeting took place on June 10, 1967. The agency had a staff of two and a $100,000 budget. There were less than 1,500 properties listed on the National Register at that time.

The council members also happily recounted the events of the day before when the Preserve America Presidential Awards were presented at a White House ceremony. The highly competitive, juried awards honor preservation projects across the country that rise to the highest levels of Preserve America ideals including promoting heritage tourism and sustaining historic resources. The winners this year were the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, California; the Natchitoches-Cane River Region’s heritage tourism initiatives in Louisiana; downtown St. Louis revitalization; and the History Channel’s Save Our History programs.


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