CRM Journal

Media Review

Preservation Action

Preservation Action; accessed on February 21, 2006.


Founded in 1974 as a nonprofit national historic preservation advocacy organization, Preservation Action aspires to make historic preservation a national priority by "advocating to all branches of the federal government for sound preservation policy and programs through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training and through direct contact with elected representatives." The organization's website is a natural extension of its mission: It disseminates the latest news and information on historic preservation policy issues under debate in the nation's capital. The website also encourages grassroots involvement in shaping state and national preservation policy and provides address and other information on key players at the state and national levels.

Preservation Action's advocacy priorities appear front and center on the homepage. For 2006, they include funding for state historic preservation offices, Preserve America, and barn preservation programs. Many of the agenda items double as hyperlinks to detailed background information and calls to action.

At the time of writing, Preservation Action's website provided legislative updates on one of today's most pressing historic preservation issues: the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The site details the issues surrounding the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, including budgetary matters, potential eminent domain "takings," and the implications of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act on the recovery process.

The "Tools" section of the site offers quick access to names and contact information for Congressional delegations, state historic preservation offices, and statewide nonprofits. The "Internships" section for "pre-professional" preservationists is a tremendous resource for students and other newcomers to the field. Preservation Action and its educational partner, the nonprofit Center for Preservation Initiatives, offer a number of educational internships in areas ranging from preservation advocacy, congressional affairs, fundraising for political causes, policy analysis, to political writing and research.

An innovator when it comes to fundraising, Preservation Action and the Center for Preservation Initiatives co-host an annual auction of historic preservation-oriented vacation packages, one-of-a-kind tours, and collectibles at the annual National Preservation Conference. Called "Bidding for Preservation," the auction was opened to the public for the first time in the fall of 2005 with a portion of the auction items available for bidding online. If continued, the online auction has the potential to become a popular attraction on a website that, up to now, has been geared primarily towards those with a high level of interest and background in historic preservation.

Overall, the Preservation Action website is well-organized and well-stocked to serve the needs of a diverse preservation network of community activists, preservation professionals, historians, commercial investors, civic leaders, and others interested in preserving the nation's heritage. The website is text-rich, and its spartan design is part of its appeal in this reviewer's opinion. However, one definite shortcoming is the lack of a search function, which makes finding things on the site difficult. Nevertheless, anyone involved in historic preservation will benefit from a visit to the Preservation Action website.

Sam Tamburro
National Park Service