Preserve America

About the Program

Where Are Preserve America Communities?

Mapped: Preserve America Communities
Use our map to locate Preserve America Communities around the country. 

Preserve America Website
Learn more about Preserve America on the program's website. 

Preserve America was launched in 2003 as a White House initiative to promote and support community preservation efforts. There are several components of the Preserve America initiative:

    • Preserve America Presidential Awards are given annually to organizations, businesses, and government entities for accomplishments in historic preservation. To date, 20 awards have been given to a variety of recipients ranging from Downtown St. Louis to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. 
    • Preserve America Communities are designated for their commitment to protect, promote, and celebrate historic assets through education and heritage tourism. A total of 814 communities have been designated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories. 
    • Preserve America Stewards are honored for volunteer efforts at historic resources around the country. As the newest element of the Preserve America initiative, already 21 stewards have been designated.
    • The Preserve America History Teacher of the Year Award is presented in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to recognize outstanding achievement in history education.
    • Preserve America Grants have been awarded to over 250 projects throughout the country since 2006. These grants range from $20,000 to $250,000, and are designed to complement the Save America's Treasures grant program. To date, more than $20 million has been awarded to projects in five funding categories – interpretation and education; promotion; planning; research and documentation; and training. 

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Department of Interior have primary responsibility for carrying out elements of the program. Preserve America addresses a broad range of heritage tourism and related heritage development, heritage education, and historic preservation needs. 

By the Numbers

    • In 2009, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, in cooperation with the National Park Service and with assistance from the Heritage Tourism Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, produced a report on the effectiveness of the Preserve America Grants Program. The evaluation concluded that the program is effective despite its short history and small federal investment.
    • More than $20 million has been awarded to over 250 Preserve America grant projects throughout the country since 2006. 
    • There is a great need for the Preserve America Grant Program – over 600 project proposals requesting over $30 million have been received by the National Park Service.
    • Preserve America Grants directly contribute to heritage tourism – one of America's largest employers. According to the Travel Industry Association, travel-related jobs generated $157 billion in payroll in 2002, creating 7.2 million in direct travel-generated jobs and 17 million in indirect travel-generated jobs. 
    • Heritage Tourism produces local jobs that are inextricable from the places being preserved and celebrated. 
    • According to a recent study, 118 million leisure travelers participate in cultural and heritage activities, contributing $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy. On average, heritage travelers travel more often, spend more per trip ($994 vs. $611), and spend more on cultural and heritage activities than other activities. 
    • Preserve America Grants generate local enthusiasm for the contemporary use of community heritage in both the citizens and their governments.
    • Preserve America Grants provide invaluable seed money to develop sustainable preservation strategies that is unavailable for any other federal source.