Modernism and the Recent Past

Modernism + the Recent Past

The significant buildings, landscapes, and sites of the Modern movement and the important architectural, social, and cultural resources of the past 50 years are among the most underappreciated and vulnerable aspects of our nation’s heritage. Day by day, a steady campaign of demolition erodes the physical fabric of the recent past, with little consideration of its community importance, design significance, or role in creating a sustainable future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation challenges the nation to change how we view, steward, and preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the recent past before more landmarks are lost. 

Modernism and the Recent Past Defined

For over a decade, the National Trust has focused attention on some of the most significant, and endangered, historic places from the recent past and the Modern design movement. Learn more about what it means to be modern or of the recent past. Learn more.

National Treasures

National Treasures are endangered places of national significance, and/or places where our on-the-ground success can have positive implications for preservation nationwide. Each National Treasure tells a revealing part of the American story.

Case Studies

From a whimsical playground full of monsters to a technology incubator, dedicated preservationists have organized and intervened to save a variety of modern icons around the country. Learn more.


Making the case for preserving M+RP resources to repairing your postwar home, explore resources for identifying, protecting, and preserving the recent past. Learn more.

New Canaan Modern Homes Survey

New Canaan, CT is considered to have one of the most significant collections of mid-century modern houses in the United States, including Philip Johnson's Glass House. This survey was designed to provide a more complete study of modern residences in New Canaan and serve as a national model for surveys of other mid-century houses in the United States. Learn more