About the Program
Mapped: Preserve America Communities
Preserve America 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.