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Greetings From Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan

2018 - 2023




Community Connections: Planning for Preservation in Pennsylvania

Community Connections: Planning for Preservation in Pennsylvania is the theme for Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, 2018–2023. This  document lays out a five-year plan for action and collaboration (PDF) to reframe the historic preservation conversation in Pennsylvania.

This conversation began in 2016 as preservationists in Pennsylvania — and throughout the country — paused to consider the progress that has been made, and in some cases lost, in the years since 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act into law. Although great strides have been made towards identifying, celebrating and preserving historic places and archaeological sites in the last 50 years, there is still much more to do. 

Two Purposes:

  • To provide 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.
  • To satisfy Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation planning obligations as set forth under the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended and the Pennsylvania History Code, with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Offce (PDF) , a bureau within the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, administering the state and federal historic preservation programs for the commonwealth and leading statewide preservation planning efforts.

About the Preservation Plan

Every community deserves the chance to realize the economic, environmental and quality-of-life benefits that preservation offers. This can help (PDF).

Planning is about change and innovation. The statewide historic preservation planning process gathered the best ideas for improving the future (PDF) of historic places in Pennsylvania. The resulting plan is a means to achieving that goal. The plan must mobilize people and resources for it to be successful.


There are four goals in the 2018-2023 statewide historic preservation plan.  Click on each of the links below for more information about each goal.

  1. Implement the statewide historic preservation plan as a resource that provides solution-oriented steps for preservation outcomes.
  2. Use the power of planning to transform Pennsylvania’s historic places into vibrant and diverse communities.
  3. Position Pennsylvania 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 through the commonwealth’s historic places and the people and programs that protect and celebrate them.

How To Use This Plan

This plan is for everyone (PDF) :

  • 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.

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:

  • Online Public Survey
  • Issue Briefs
  • What you can do: Goal 1
  • What you can do: Goal 2
  • What you can do: Goal 3
  • What you can do: Goal 4
  • Governor’s Proclamation
  • Planning Partners
  • Preservation Contacts

Pennsylvanians anywhere in the commonwealth can begin implementing this new plan right now!  Use the title of this plan – #preservationhappenshere – when posting to social media to let us know that preservation is happening everywhere in Pennsylvania.


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.