Preservation Briefs and Tech Notes from Technical Preservation Services

Preservation Briefs and Tech Notes from Technical Preservation Services

The National Park Service provides leadership for the protection and interpretation of the nation’s heritage to guide a national historic preservation program that embraces national parks and heritage resources, to engage all American peoples with the places and stories that make up our national identity, and to serve as a model for the stewardship of resources throughout the world.

The National Park Service establishes standards and guidance for managing historic resources from ancient Native history to the recent past; encourages cultural resource preservation, working with our partners, through such programs as technical assistance, grants, tax credits, recognition and other tools; promotes advances in research and using advanced technologies to improve the preservation of cultural resources; develops high-quality education programs to increase understanding of human history and caring for our tangible heritage; and promotes and enhances public understanding of historic preservation through effective partnerships.

Critical to fulfilling this mission is the publication of reports and technical guidance, training and technical assistance informed by scientific research and recommended preservation treatments to share this knowledge so that all involved are empowered to make better decisions.


As part of the Director’s Call to Action, some of the National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Programs will be undertaking a review of existing publications to determine whether they need to be revised or updated and/or identifying potential new guidance, research or publications. One of the major focus areas under the Call to Action will be related to Action 25, which calls for updating guidance to reflect “modern historic preservation methods and technologies, show how historic structures can be made sustainable, and support efforts to rebuild the economic vitality of rural and urban communities.” Still other related efforts, among others, will focus on science and technology as applied to such fields as climate change, archeology, architecture, landscape architecture, and materials conservation.

Working with our partners, the National Park Service intends to strategically focus its efforts and align its existing resources on areas and projects likely to have the most impact. This website is intended to be a central clearinghouse and comment board as we identify these initiatives as part of the Call to Action, as well as to keep our preservation partners updated on such activities in leading up to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. These individual initiatives will incorporate opportunities for comments and suggestions, whether as part of this site and/or other venues. Please consult this page for additional posts and information as this effort is underway.

Some of these initiatives will include the following:

  • NPS Technical Preservation Services (TPS) publishes guidance on the care and treatment of historic buildings, including the Preservation Brief, Tech Notes, and Interpreting the Standards publication series. Many of these publications should be reviewed to ensure that they continue to represent ‘best practices’ and reflect current methods and technologies; older publications would also benefit from an updated layout, color photographs, new graphics, etc., and new publications on yet-to-be-identified topics may also be identified. As part of Action 25, TPS will be surveying federal agencies, partner organizations, certified local governments, and the general public in 2016 about these publication series, how they are used, and thoughts about the ones most in need of updating, in order to establish priorities for revised and new publications.
  • The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) is surveying National Park Service site managers and CRM professionals to determine the types of lab and analytical services that are most needed. One of the National Center’s labs will be retrofitted to expand its materials analysis and historic building evaluation capabilities. NCPTT will further assess the preservation, technology, and training needs of the parks, programs, and partners as proposed by the Second Century Commission, and will refocus its resources to better meet those needs. Research priorities will be refreshed through an internal and external review process, and recommendations in the Call to Action and the Second Century Commission reports to expand NCPTT’s role as a preservation clearinghouse will be studied and an implementation plan prepared in 2013.
  • As part of Action 1, the Cultural Resources Programs is developing the cultural resources component of the NPS Climate Change Response Program. The vision of this component is that not only are cultural resources being affected by climate change, but the information they represent about the human interaction with past environments is essential to full development of climate change adaptation plans across the nation. The program plan for this component builds on the NPS Climate Change Response Strategy and will address the science, adaptation, mitigation, and communication/education needs and opportunities of cultural resources. This plan is being developed with the national parks and our partner organizations.