An Uncertain Future for America’s Cultural Heritage

By Elizabeth Hughes, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Maryland Historical Trust and President, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO)

As we celebrate Preservation Month and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal funding for historic preservation hangs in the balance.  Since 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund has supported state and local efforts to identify, protect, and enhance historic places that matter to Marylanders. In addition to special competitive grants, the Maryland Historical Trust receives approximately 20 percent of its annual budget from this fund.  Yet the fund’s authorization, supported by a small percentage of offshore drilling revenue, was allowed to expire on September 30, 2015.

Elizabeth Hughes HPF testimony 0215

Maryland State Historic Preservation Officer and NCSHPO President Elizabeth Hughes gives testimony before the House Federal Lands Subcommittee in support of the Historic Preservation Fund in February 2015.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has positioned itself as a strong champion for preservation.  Continue reading

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Ruppersberger and Sarbanes Send Staff to Historic Preservation Caucus Briefing

On Thursday, January 21st, the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus hosted nearly 60 House and Senate staffers at an educational session entitled “Hot Topics in Historic Preservation” in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. This briefing on the national historic preservation program was sponsored by the History Channel and a coalition of preservation partners including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Action, and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. Continue reading

Congressman Sarbanes Supports Historic Preservation Funding

For the first time, the federal Historic Preservation Caucus co-chairs coordinated a Dear Colleague letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director, Peter Orszag, requesting funding for the nation’s core historic preservation programs in the President’s fiscal year 2011 Budget, due for release in early February. The letter requested $50 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $5 million for a digitization/survey competitive grant program for SHPOs, $20 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, $30 million for Save Americas Treasures and $10 million for Preserve America. Twenty-eight members of the House Historic Preservation Caucus signed-on, including Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes. Continue reading