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How to Be a Preservationist

Reprinted with permission from the Forum News, the newsletter for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Want to make preservationists out of people who don't know the difference between a balustrade and a facade? A mullion and a muntin? Section 106 and Formula 409? Don't worry, they don't need to. There are lots of everyday activities they can do to help support preservation.

The following suggestions were collected from our preservation partners nationwide (with special thanks to the folks at the Preservation Trust of Vermont). Share this list with your friends, neighbors, and family members. If you have other suggestions, please send an e-mail to

Ten Easy Ways to Support Historic Preservation

  1. Show your kids the place where you went to school or where you got married.
  2. Shop in a historic commercial district. Be sure to look up so you can admire the detail of the buildings' upper floors.
  3. Visit a place where history was made or a museum dedicated to history.
  4. Eat at a restaurant in a historic building. If you like the atmosphere, tell the owner or host.
  5. Attend a live performance or movie at a historic theater.
  6. Walk around a historic neighborhood.
  7. Join an organization, even better, more than one, dedicated to historic preservation. Become a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (, or find out about groups in your area. (Locate some at They can direct you to others.)
  8. Stay in a historic hotel, the 185 members of Historic Hotels of America are listed at, or at a historic B&B.
  9. Attend services in a historic church.
  10. Take a tour of historic houses in your community.

Feeling ambitious? Take these ten additional steps.

  1. Buy a historic house and rehabilitate it.
  2. Reuse an old building in downtown for your business or organization.
  3. Keep the post office in your town center. For more information read "Developing Better Community Post Office: on the Preservation Trust of Vermont website (at
  4. Say no to sprawl development that would undermine the vitality of your community. (Learn more about this issue at
  5. Let your town or county board know that old buildings are important to your community. Encourage them to keep municipal offices in your downtown or village center.
  6. Tell your representative and senators to support the Historic Homeownership Assistance Act, which would give tax credits to people who buy and rehabilitate older homes. (Find out more from Preservation Action at
  7. Encourage your friends and neighbors to learn about historic preservation.
  8. Convince your school board to keep using your historic schools. (Go to to see how other communities have done it.)
  9. Encourage an ethic of stewardship and high quality rehabilitation work in your community. No vinyl siding!
  10. Volunteer with organizations where preservation makes a difference: the planning commission, development review board, library board, downtown organization, or regional planning commission.

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 2


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SOHO Files Suit to Stop Coronado Rail Line Destruction

National Security Executive Order

President's Message

Private Property Rights

Historic Districts

Deadline Extended

Mary F. Ward 1925-1999

How to Be a Preservationist

Desert Drugs is History

Highway 101 Association

Remembering Larry Booth

People In Preservation Awards

Attention Coronado Craftsman Era Homeowners

San Diego Old House Fair

Spring Catalog 2003

Theatre at the Whaley House presents Round Cape Horn Must Go!

Whaley House Garden News

Volunteer Profile

Arts & Crafts Weekend 2003 - In Review

Strength in Numbers

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