The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The PHMC is the Commonwealth's official history agency, and the Executive Director is designated as the State Historic Preservation Officer. Oversight of the PHMC is provided by a board of Commissioners appointed by the Governor.
The SHPO administers the state's historic preservation program as authorized by the Constitution of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania History Code, the Pennsylvania Historic District Act, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and various other federal laws and regulations.
Our work is guided by the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Board and the Commonwealth's historic preservation plan, #PreservAtionHappensHere, Pennsylvania's Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, 2018-2023. The PA SHPO's 2021 Annual Report provides additional information about our programs and preservation outcomes.
The SHPO's core responsibilities include:
- To undertake the duties of Pennsylvania's State Historic Preservation Office;
- Consult with state and federal agencies and their applicants in accordance with the Pennsylvania History Code and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 CFR Part 800);
- Establish and maintain Historic Preservation Review Board;
- Prepare statewide historic preservation plan every five years;
- Administer the National Register of Historic Places program;
- Populate PA-SHARE, Pennsylvania's State Historic & Archaeological Resource Exchange;
- Administer the Certified Local Government and Local Historic District Act Programs;
- Review and assist property owners applying for the State and/or Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits;
- Administer the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program;
- Administer the Historical Marker program;
- Provide technical assistance and training to the public, local governments, state and federal agencies, historical societies and other professional organizations throughout the Commonwealth.
Archive and Research Room of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office
The Pennsylvania State Historic Office (PA SHPO) and PHMC have been collecting information concerning historic places and archaeological sites for the greater part of a century. PA SHPO's collection includes:
- Historic resource files
- Archaeological resource/ Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) files
- Archaeological and historic resource survey reports.
From 2017 to 2019, PA SHPO digitized the historic and archaeological resource records and reports held in the PA SHPO's Archive and Research Room. This information is now available online via the Pennsylvania Historic and Archaeological Resource Exchange (PA-SHARE).
PA-SHARE includes a map-based inventory of the historic resources, archaeological sites, surveys, historical markers, and program-related information stored in the files of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO).
PA-SHARE is the PA SHPO's chief storehouse of information and includes an ever-expanding number of digital records. Users with Pro and Business subscription accounts can view all of PA SHPO's scanned Archive and Research Room files online through PA-SHARE. Guest and Basic account users can see only limited information via PA-SHARE.
Researchers interested in accessing PA-SHARE resource records without purchasing a subscription or reviewing project files can visit the PA SHPO's main office in Harrisburg. Researchers will be able to use a dedicated PA-SHARE research station and, if needed, request paper files from the PA SHPO's Archive and Research Room.
Beginning, September 1, 2021, the Archive and Research Station will be open to the public by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Please note that 3:00 PM is the latest time appointments will be scheduled for the day. The PA SHPO Archive and Research Station will be closed on all state holidays and may also be closed during different periods throughout the year.
This schedule is subject to change.
Scheduling an Appointment
The PA SHPO research station is currently limited to one person.
PA SHPO strongly recommends that researchers consult PA-SHARE prior to scheduling an appointment. Guest and Basic accounts in PA-SHARE are free. Instructions for setting up your PA-SHARE account are available here: Signing In and Subscribing to PA-SHARE.
To make an appointment, email Tina Webber at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Day and time of appointment request
- Reason for your visit
- If you would like to consult the paper files.
Please note: If you will need to access to archaeological information, you must have assigned archaeological privileges before you arrive for your appointment. For information about requesting these privileges, visit the Request Archaeology Privileges page.
After receiving your appointment request, PA SHPO will email you with a confirmation of your appointment date and time along with a copy of PA SHPO Archives and Research Room User Policy and PA-SHARE Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions. This form can either be signed and emailed back or printed and provided at the time of the appointment.
If you need to consult the paper files, you will need to complete the PA SHPO Archives & Research Room request form sent with your confirmation email and return to PA SHPO before the visit. During your visit, requested files will be limited to ten (10) at any one time. Additional files will be provided in increments of ten (10).
Location and Arrival
The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office is located in the Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 2nd Floor, in Harrisburg. Limited metered street parking is available on Forster Street. A public parking garage is located three blocks away at the intersection of Forster and N 7th Streets.
Enter the Commonwealth Keystone Building from Forster Street. Access elevators from the plaza level and take to the 2nd Floor. When you arrive at the 2nd floor lobby, please call the contact information included in your confirmation email or follow the information located next to the telephone. Someone from the PA SHPO will escort you to the Research Station.
Researchers will be required to sign in and sign out. Lockers are available outside the research station for personal belongings. Items such as coats, hats, handbags, hip packs, briefcases, books, and computer cases are prohibited at the research station. A locker will be assigned by an attendant.
Researchers are not permitted to attach any external devices to the Research Station computer or download any files from PA-SHARE to the computer's hard drive, CD drive or to any external device. Researchers are not permitted to email documents to themselves by opening another browser window at the research computer station.
Film and digital cameras, laptops, tablets, and cell phones are permitted in the Research Room at no additional cost.
Copies of documents may be printed from PA-SHARE for a fee of $0.25 per copy. Please note that a two-sided copy will be counted as two copies. Payment for copies in the appropriate amount must be made by check or money order payable to the COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. Prices are subject to change without notice. All copy orders must be paid on the day of your visit prior to departure.