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Discover, Share & Celebrater with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation OfficePennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan
2018 - 2023

Every community deserves the chance to realize the economic, environmental and quality-of-life benefits that preservation offers. Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan 2018-2023 (PDF), #PreservationHappensHere, can help.

This document lays out a five-year plan for action and collaboration to reframe the historic preservation conversation in Pennsylvania. The statewide historic preservation planning process  (PDF) gathered the best ideas for improving the future of historic places in Pennsylvania. The resulting plan is a means to achieving that goal.


About the Preservation Plan

#PreservationHappensHere isn’t just the title of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan. It’s also the idea that great preservation activities are happening every day across the commonwealth. 

Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan provides a framework of activities and goals that will help Pennsylvanians:

  • better understand historic preservation and its benefits;
  • appreciate their own histories and their shared histories as told through historic places; and
  • balance history, economics and development to manage change within their communities.

This plan also satisfies Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation planning obligations as set forth under the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended and the Pennsylvania History Code.

#PreservationHappensHere is for all Pennsylvanians:

  • Students who want to know more about their communities
  • Citizens dedicated to preserving a local landmark.
  • Municipal staff and local officials who have heard about “preservation tools” but are uncertain about what that means.
  • County planning offices interested in documenting historic places.
  • Elected leaders who make decisions that affect how their constituents live,  work and play.           
  • PHMC and PA SHPO to focus agency priorities and create work plans for PA SHPOs divisions and staff.
  • Agencies and organizations that struggle to allocate their financial and human resources and have a natural connection to historic preservation or a legal obligation to consider historic and archaeological resources in their work.
  • All Pennsylvanians who are interested in protecting, promoting and harnessing the opportunities provided by the commonwealth’s irreplaceable and characteristic  buildings, landscapes, communities and archaeological sites.


Four goals in the 2018-2023 statewide historic preservation plan:  

  1. Implement the statewide historic preservation plan (PDF) as a resource that provides solution-oriented steps for preservation outcomes.
  2. Use the power of planning to transform Pennsylvania’s historic places  (PDF) into vibrant and diverse communities.
  3. Position Pennsylvania (PDF) to better respond to new preservation challenges and opportunities in the 21st century with proactive planning and education.
  4. Invest in the future of Pennsylvania (PDF) through the commonwealth’s historic places and the people and programs that protect and celebrate them.

The Statewide Plan

Foundation Document

This part of the plan provides the contexts and explanations (PDF) about Pennsylvania’s historic and archaeological resources; documents the planning process that resulted in the Action Agenda; imparts useful information for understanding different aspects of Pennsylvania history through the lens of historic preservation; and includes the plan’s acknowledgments, purpose, bibliography and appendices.

It includes:                         

  • Highlights of Pennsylvania Archaeology
  • Pennsylvania’s Architectural Treasures
  • Pennsylvania’s Efforts to Preserve Historic and Archaeological Resources
  • The Rise of Pennsylvania’s Preservation Movement
  • Championing the Movement Forward
  • Preservation Achievements in Pennsylvania

Action Agenda

This is the go-to place for the objectives and action items for the next five years (PDF). It provides an analysis of the current trends and challenges in Pennsylvania, identifies and defines the goals, and lays out steps to achieve those goals. It is designed with the user in mind and is presented in a way that makes it easy for everyone to find the activities they can do. 

It includes:

  • Public Participation and Outreach.
  • Preservation Trends, Challenges and Opportunities.
  • Action Agenda.
  • How the 2018-2023 Action Agenda Meets SHPO Responsibility.

The action agenda outlines a set of guiding principles and four goals for historic preservation activities in Pennsylvania over the next five years, from May 2018 through December 2023.  Each goal includes three approaches, or objectives, that provide further explanation of the overall goal.  Each goal also includes a set of actions and specific strategies that Pennsylvanians can take to implement the plan.

Supporting Tools and Information

This collection of materials augments the Foundation Document (PDF) and can help users understand and implement the Action Agenda. It includes resources like the online public survey results, additional implementation ideas and links to key resources.  Here's what you'll find:

Meeting the #PreservationHappensHere Goals

All Pennsylvanians can play a role in reaching Pennsylvania’s goals for preservation in the commonwealth. PA SHPO and its partners have been working toward achieving the plan’s goals through projects and programs that benefit Pennsylvanians and the older and historic places they care about.

Follow the PA SHPO’s blog and newsletters for stories and information about how PA SHPO and others are implementing Pennsylvania’s statewide plan through 2023.

Community Initiative Awards

One of the ways in which PA SHPO is implementing the statewide plan is through their Community Initiative Awards. The Community Initiative Award recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s recently released statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservAtionHappensHere.

PA SHPO will select the next Community Initiative Award winners from the people, places, events and projects that use the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag in their social media posts or tell us about their #PreservationHappensHere story here.


For more information about Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation planning process or the 2018-2023 statewide plan, please see the PA SHPO’s blog, or contact Shelby Splain, Education and Outreach Coordinator 717-574-8232.

 Discover Preservation with PA SHPO