Save America's Treasures
About the Program
Mapped: Save America's Treasures
Save America's Treasures Website
Established by Executive Order in 1998, Save America's Treasures is a public-private partnership that includes the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and the federal cultural agencies. Since its creation, Save America's Treasures has designated over 1,100 projects, created an estimated 16,000 jobs, and awarded about $300 million in public and private grants to preservation efforts across the country. The projects range from such iconic objects as the Star-Spangled Banner to historically and architecturally significant structures like the Acoma Pueblo and the Conservatory of Flowers.
Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first honorary chair, launching the program as the centerpiece of the Millennium Celebration. First Lady Laura Bush followed as chair.
By the Numbers
- Donovan Rypkema of Place Economics has done a state-by-state analysis using the Department of Commerce's econometric model for economic impact of the numbers of jobs that Save America's Treasures has created compared to the most recent White House data on stimulus spending and jobs created. His figures show the average total cost per job created by Save America's Treasures is $13,780, as compared to the White House announcement that the stimulus package is creating one job for every $248,000.
- Save America’s Treasures is a one-of-a-kind program. As the only bricks-and-mortar federal preservation grant program, Save America’s Treasures has helped preserve many of our country's icons, as well as structures/collections within our National Parks. The program was designed to complement core preservation programs funded through the Historic Preservation Fund.
- Just last year, Congress recognized the importance of Save America’s Treasures by permanently authorizing the program at $50 million annually.
- Save America's Treasures creates jobs. Between 1999 and 2009, Save America's Treasures grants have created well over 16,000 jobs in cities, small towns, and rural communities across the country.
- Save America's Treasures projects generate heritage tourism in the regions where they are located. 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.
- Save America's Treasures is an excellent example of a program that successfully leverages private dollars from corporations, foundations, and individuals. Over the past ten years, Save America's Treasures has worked to restore over 1,100 structures and collections in every state in the nation. Almost $300 million in federal money has been allocated through Save America's Treasures. Because it requires a one-to-one match, the program has generated at least another $377 million from private and public sources.
- Although Save America's Treasures has helped countless projects over the past ten years, the need for this funding is enormous. In the history of the program, nearly 4,000 applications for funding requests of over $1.5 billion have been submitted for consideration. If eliminated, there is no other federal source of funding for these projects.
- The elimination of Save America's Treasures would result in a 30% cut to the Historic Preservation Fund, which is funded through outer continental shelf oil leases, not taxpayer dollars. Since its inception, the Historic Preservation Fund has typically only received one-third to one-half of its annual authorization of $150 million.