Historic preservation is the act of maintaining and repairing existing historic materials and the retention of a property's form as it has evolved over time. When considering the United States Department of Interior's interpretation: "Preservation calls for the existing form, materials, features, and detailing of a property to be retained and preserved. This may include preliminary measures to protect and stabilize it prior to undertaking other work--or protection and stabilization may be an end in itself, for example, in an archaeological project". Historic Preservation is a tool to save older buildings.
In The United States one of the first major Historic Preservation undertakings was that of George Washington's Mount Vernon in 1858. Founded in 1889, the Richmond, Virginia-based Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities was the United States' first statewide historic preservation group. The US National Trust for Historic Preservation, another privately funded non-profit organization]], began in 1949 with a handful of privileged structures and has developed goals that provide "leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize our communities" according to the Trust's mission statement. In 1951 the Trust assumed responsibility for its first museum property, Woodlawn Plantation in northern Virginia. Twenty-eight sites in all have subsequently become part of the National Trust, representing the cultural diversity of American history. In New York City, the destruction of Pennsylvania Station in 1964 shocked many in that city into supporting preservation. On an international level, the New York-based World Monuments Fund was founded in 1965 to preserve historic sites all over the world.
Under the direction of James Marston Fitch, the first advanced-degree historic preservation program began at Columbia University in 1964. It became the model on which most other graduate historic preservation programs were created. Many other programs were to follow before 1980: M.A. in Preservation Planning from Cornell (1975); M.S. in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont (1975); M.S. in Historic Preservation Studies from Boston University (1976); and M.S. in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University (1979). The first undergraduate programs (B.A.) appeared in 1977 from Goucher College and Roger Williams College.
 Influential people
- Ann Pamela Cunningham: saved Mount Vernon (plantation) from demolition and created the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
- James Marston Fitch: educator, author, critic and design practitioner made a major contribution to the philosophical basis of the modern preservation movement and trained and inspired generations of preservationists.
- William Morris: founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
- Lee H. Nelson: worked for Charles E. Peterson at the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey and helped to formulate national policies on historic preservation.
- Charles E. Peterson: considered to be the "founding father" of historic preservation in the United States.
- John Ruskin: established the basic theory of preservation (retention of status quo).
- Eugène Viollet-le-Duc: well known French architect that restored Gothic buildings; believed that restoration could improve on the past--especially with the introduction of modern technology.
- Walter Muir Whitehill: Chair of the Whitehill Report in the late 1960s which established the first guidelines for higher-ed historic preservation programs.
Although volunteers have traditionally engaged in historic preservation activities, since the 1960s, the field has seen an increased level of professionalization. Today, there are many career options in historic preservation. Institutes of secondary education (universities, colleges, etc.) in the United States offer both certificate and degree (Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts (postgraduate), Master of Fine Arts, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy) programs in historic preservation. Some students—at schools with such programs available—choose to enroll in "joint degree" programs, earning a degree in historic preservation along with one in another, related subject, often an Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Planning or Juris Doctor degree.
Some possible careers include:
- Architectural Conservator (Focus specifically on the physical conservation of building materials. Most hold degrees in chemistry or materials science.)
- Architectural Historian/Historian (Primarily researches and writes statements expressing the historical significance of sites.)
- Historic Preservation Planner (Most are employed by local, county, state, or Federal government planning agencies to administer tax abatement programs, ensure compliance with local ordinances and state and Federal legislation, and conduct design reviews to ensure that proposed projects will not harm historic and archaeological resources. At the state level, they are known as a State Historic Preservation Officer while at other levels of government they may be known as a Federal or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. Some may also serve as consultants to local governments, conducting Section 106 reviews in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.)
- Preservation Architect (Design and develop architectural conservation plans and work specifications in consultation with Engineers, Historians, and Planners, ensuring compliance with local design guidelines to protect sensitive historic building fabric. Most are employed by private architecture firms though some find work with government agencies.)
- Preservation Engineer (Work with Architects to devise conservation solutions of a structural or material -specific nature. Most are employed by private architecture and/or engineering firms.)
- Public Historian and Resource interpreters (Most are employed by government agencies and private foundations to interpret the significance of historic resources for the general public.)
- Historic Site Administrator
- Non-profit Sector Careers (Engage in a variety of activities concerned with historic preservation advocacy, easements, and private foundations at the local, regional, statewide, or national levels.)
- Preservation Craftsperson/Traditional Trades Practitioner (Employ knowledge of traditional building techniques and contemporary conservation technologies to complete the conservation, repair, or restoration of historic buildings.)
- American Institute of Architects
- American Institute for Conservation
- American Planning Association
- International Council on Monuments and Sites
- Preservation Trades Network
- Society of Architectural Historians
 Historic Preservation Vs. Heritage Conservation
In the United States there is an increasingly popular movement to transition professional nomeclature from Historic Preservation to Heritage Conservation. In most other parts of the Western world heritage conservation is the accepted terminology.
- ↑ Weeks, Kay. "Telling Historic Preservation Time," National Park Service, Technical Preservation Service, CRM, Vol. 16, No. 7; 1993. Retrieved 30 March 2007.
- ↑ Lea, Diane. "America's Preservation Ethos: A Tribute to Enduring Ideals." A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century. ed. Robert Stipe. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. p.2
- ↑ Murtagh, William J. Keeping Time: The History and Theory of Preservation in America. New York: Sterling Publishing, Co., 1997.
- ↑ Michael Tomlan. "Historic Preservation Education: Alongside Architecture in Academia." Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 47, No. 4. (1994): 187-196.
- ↑ Preservation News (Oct 1, 1979)
- ↑ http://www.uvm.edu/histpres/ncpe/chart.html
- ↑ Rypkema,Donovan D., Forum Journal, Spring 2010, Vol. 24, No. 3
- Fitch, James Marston. Historic Preservation: Curatorial Management of the Built World. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1990.
- Jokilehto, Jukka. A History of Architectural Conservation. Oxford, UK: Butterwort/Heinemann, 1999.
- Munoz Vinas, Salvador. Contemporary Theory of Conservation. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Butterworth Heinemann, 2005.
- Page, Max & Randall Mason (eds.). Giving Preservation a History. New York: Routledge, 2004.
- Price, Nicholas Stanley et al. (eds.). Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, 1996.
- Ruskin, John. The Seven Lamps of Architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 1989. Originally published, 1880. Important for preservation theory introduced in the section, "The Lamp of Memory."
- Stipe, Robert E. (ed.). A Richer Heritage: Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003.
- Tyler, Norman. Historic Preservation: An Introduction to its History, Principles, and Practice. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.
- Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène Emmanuel. The Foundations of Architecture; Selections from the Dictionnaire Raisonné. New York: George Braziller, 1990. Originally published, 1854. Important for its introduction of restoration theory.
 See also
- Association for Preservation Technology International, an organization concerned with technologies used for conserving historic structures and their settings.
- National Trust for Historic Preservation, the principal non-profit preservation advocacy organization in the United States.
- An Overview of Preservation in the United States
- PreserveNet, contains a directory of preservation-related websites and academic programs in the United States.
- Preservation Trades Network, an international organization focused on preservation trades and traditional craft skills.
- Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada
- Standards and Guidelines for Preservation in the United States