ACHP Policy Statements

As part of its mission to promote the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of our nation’s diverse historic resources, the ACHP has issued a number of policy statements on historic preservation issues. These policy statements are designed to help federal agencies, states, tribes, and other parties meet their responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act and maximize the preservation of historic resources. 

The ACHP develops policy statements to provide direction on key preservation issues.
  1. The field of historic preservation should ensure that the archaeological sites, historic structures, cultural landscapes, sacred sites, and other sites of religious and cultural importance to Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs), and other Indigenous Peoples are equitably considered in decision making. This policy statement provides a set of principles to support the incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge in historic preservation contexts.
  2. Communities across America are experiencing housing shortages, especially shortages of affordable housing. The Policy Statement on Housing and Historic Preservation promotes federal, state, and local action to rehabilitate historic buildings for housing and accelerate permitting and environmental review, including Section 106 review.
  3. America’s historic properties–important places that help to define and connect people to their communities–are experiencing escalating climate impacts that are increasingly leading to their damage and destruction. This policy statement addresses how climate change affects historic properties, articulates principles the ACHP will integrate into Section 106 reviews involving climate issues, and advises public-serving institutions on how they may research, plan for, mitigate, and adapt to climate change impacts on historic properties.  
  4. Burial sites, human remains, and funerary objects have intentionally and unintentionally been damaged, destroyed, or desecrated by public and private developments. This policy statement, intended to be incorporated into Section 106 reviews and state and local guidance, emphasizes not disturbing sites when possible, consultation and deference to descendant communities, and continued educational efforts on these issues.
  5. Critical to the historic preservation movement is the availability of skilled tradespeople. Restoration work on historic buildings simply cannot be done without skilled workers, making the training of new craftspeople a critical priority. This policy statement discusses the need for and the benefits of expanded traditional trades training; suggests key principles that should guide federal, state, and local workforce development and training efforts; and offers recommendations for federal action.
  6. Communities facing population decline face unique challenges and can benefit from integrating historic preservation principles in holistic community revitalization strategies. The policy acknowledges that consideration of alternatives to avoid or minimize harm to historic properties is essential when planning community revitalization.
  7. In recent years, increasing numbers of Americans have raised concerns or objections regarding the display of various commemorative works in public spaces in their communities. The eight principles in this policy statement are designed to help guide federal, state, and local governments in the management or disposition of controversial commemorative works, such as memorials, statues, markers, or other landscape features honoring divisive historical figures or events.
  8. In 1992, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was amended to establish tribal historic preservation programs and grants to these tribes. This policy sets forth commitments of the ACHP to assist Tribal Historic Preservation Offices in maximizing the opportunities provided by the NHPA for them to fully and meaningfully participate in the Section 106 process and the national historic preservation program.
  9. Federal management of publicly owned lands requires balancing natural and cultural values. This policy statement details the ACHP’s approach to resource management and conflict resolution on federally owned public lands in order to achieve balance between natural and cultural values. This ACHP policy affirms the importance of responsible Federal stewardship of historic properties located within natural areas.
  10. Archeological resources and sites are a potential source of meaningful heritage tourism and education through interpretation. This policy statement provides guidance on how to foster public understanding and appreciation of archaeological resources through heritage education programs and, where appropriate, heritage tourism initiatives, while encouraging their conservation for future generations in a spirit of stewardship.
  11. Under the National Historic Preservation Act, Native Hawaiian organizations are afforded the opportunity to participate in the national historic preservation program. This policy sets forth principles that guide ACHP interaction with Native Hawaiian organizations as it carries out its responsibilities under the NHPA. It also provides guidance to the ACHP and its staff and serves as the foundation for ACHP policies and procedures affecting Native Hawaiian issues.
  12. Like other federal agencies, the ACHP has special roles and responsibilities governing its relationship with Tribal and Indigenous Peoples. This policy statement outlines ACHP policy regarding its role, responsibilities, and relationships with individual Indian Tribes deriving from the Constitution, treaties, statutes, executive orders, regulations, and court decisions. It specifically ensures the ACHP’s compliance with and recognition of its Tribal consultation responsibilities under certain authorities.