By Catherine W. Zipf

Maggie Walker National Historic Site, September 2007| Credit: John Murden via Flickr under Creative Commons

Maggie Walker National Historic Site, September 2007| Credit: John Murden via Flickr under Creative Commons

Last month, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report assessing diversity at our national parks and monuments. The report studied sites managed by the federal government (the NPS, the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service). The study did not include properties listed on the National Register or those in the National Landmarks program.

The statistics regarding women and their history are shocking. Only eight out of 460 national parks, monuments and sites are dedicated to women’s history. That’s 1.7 percent. The numbers for African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans are equally low (5.6 percent, 4 percent and .4 percent respectively). There are no national park sites dedicated to LGBT history.

This is not a “so what” issue. National parks, monuments and sites are those that best represent our country, our history and our people. Other cultures judge us by them. We value them so much that we use federal dollars for their preservation, maintenance and interpretation. A lack of diversity within these sites is a major problem.... Read More →

Guide to Federal Designation

Posted on: March 24th, 2015 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff No Comments


00_29.2Cover_smallWhen developing a preservation plan to protect a historic site there are many possible paths to take. If the place has national significance, then federal designation, either through Congress or by executive action is an important option to consider. But what do the different federal designations mean? What’s the difference between a National Heritage Area and a National Historic Landmark? What are the benefits to the different designations?

In this “Takeaway” from the Winter 2015 Forum Journal, Denise Ryan, director of Public Lands Policy at the National Trust, outlines the path to the different designations and explains the benefits and weaknesses of each one. Links for more information are also included. Download this Designation Cheat Sheet on Slideshare or view it below.

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Older Buildings, Livable Cities

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by Stephanie K. Meeks No Comments


National Trust President Stephanie K. Meeks gave the following remarks about livable cities on March 19, 2015, as part of the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Symposium at The Grain Exchange in Milwaukee.

movecitiesforwardI am here with you in Milwaukee because I want to talk about cities, and specifically how we can move cities forward, making them more dynamic and livable by getting the most out of historic and older buildings.

I also want to tell you about some of the recent research we have conducted to figure out why certain places work, and what can be done to improve those that do not.

It’s no secret that, all across America, cities and city living are making a comeback. Already, 80 percent of Americans live in cities, and that number is increasing. According to the latest census data, the nation’s urban population grew faster than the country as a whole between 2000 and 2010.

What’s more, those flocking to cities are disproportionately younger Americans. A recent report by the think tank City Observatory found that the number of college-educated people between the ages of 25 and 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged by nearly 40 percent over the past 15 years.

This isn’t just happening in places like New York and LA. It is a national phenomenon, happening in cities all over the country—Buffalo, Cleveland, Nashville, Portland, and right here in Milwaukee.... Read More →