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Architectural Foundation joins partnership to promote Save America's Treasures

Through Save America's Treasures, the renovation of Thomas Edison's factory received more than $5 million in public and private funding.
Through Save America's Treasures, the renovation of Thomas Edison's factory received more than $5 million in public and private funding.
National Park Service

Even with the Antiquities Act coming under fire from Congress, the National Park Service has other tools in its toolbox to continue to protect the nation’s “nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites.”

On March 27, the National Park Service (NPS) and the American Architectural Foundation announced a new partnership to promote Save America’s Treasures, a grant program that has already preserved more than a thousand nationally significant historic properties and collections for future generations.

The program defines collections and historic properties as nationally significant if they have one or more of these qualities: 

• Association with events that have made a significant contribution to, are identified with, or represent the broad patterns of United States history and culture, and from which an understanding and appreciation of those patterns may be gained

• Important association with the life of a person who was nationally significant in United States history or culture

• Representation of great historic, cultural, artistic or scholarly ideas or ideals of the American people

• Exceptional value for the study of a period or theme of United States history or culture
• Representation of a significant, distinctive and exceptional entity whose components may lack individual distinction but that collectively form an entity of exceptional historical, artistic or cultural significance (e.g., an historic district)

• An outstanding illustration of a way of life or culture

• The potential to yield information of major importance by revealing or by shedding light upon periods or themes of United States history or culture.

The American Architectural Foundation will work with the NPS and its partner agencies (the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services) to increase public understanding of the program.

“From the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ that flew above Fort McHenry to Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, Save America’s Treasures has protected more than 1,100 of the places and objects that define who we are as Americans,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “With the assistance of the American Architectural Foundation, we will tell the great stories of our nation as illustrated through these places and collections in a way that we have previously not had the resources to do.”

Although no new grants have been funded since 2010, the Save America’s Treasures program is the largest and most successful federal grant program. From 1999 to 2010, Congress appropriated more than $315 million to 1,287 projects. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants to date have attracted more than $377 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies.

Save America’s Treasures has assisted more than 300 National Historic Landmarks, 28 properties contributing to National Historic Landmark Districts, more than 250 buildings individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, more than 70 properties contributing to National Register-listed historic districts, and hundreds of nationally significant collections.

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