Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

2016 is the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act & DHR, Virginia's State Historic Preservation Office

The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) at 50

The Congress finds and declares that
(a) the spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage; 
(b) the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved
as a living part of our community life and development in order to give
a sense of orientation to the American people…

--From the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 1966



NHPA established the legal framework for a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in every state in the U.S.

Today, DHR is Virginia's SHPO.

In celebrating NHPA's anniversary, this agency also recognizes its own 50th servng the commonwealth as the Virginia SHPO.

In the spirit of NHPA, DHR's mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia’s significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

NHPA also led to the creation of a National Register of Historic Places (NHRP). 

In 1966, the General Assembly enacted legislation that established a Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR), a parallel program to the National Register. DHR manages both the VLR and the National Register in Virginia, the latter in partnership with the National Park Service. VLR/NR sites in Virginia.

Under the authority of NHPA, DHR also serves (in an advisory capacity) preservation in other ways.

  • As set forth in Section 106 of the NHPA, DHR reviews and comments upon projects in Virginia that have the potential to adversely impact historic resources, if those projects involve federal funds or permitting through a federal agency.
  •  DHR can advise federal agencies about efforts that can be undertaken to avoid, offset or mitigate adverse effects on historic resources from construction, road building, and other activities.

The NHPA encouraged and forwarded Virginia's legacy in historic preservation (see Mount Vernon, Preservation Virginia, the Virginia Historical Society, among others organizations).

Today, preservation makes a positive difference in rural and urban Virginia. And nationwide, as the National Park Service states, “The NHPA is a cornerstone of American historic preservation.”

We encourage Virginians to learn more about the NHPA. And join us in celebrating the National Historic Preservation Act.

 For more information:

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation:
    Submit ideas for celebrating NHPA

  • Preservation 50: Information about NHPA, celebrations around the country, and the future of historic preservation. Also, K-12 resources.

  •  Preservation50 logos: Download six different Preservation50 stamps (two shown here).

  • National Park Service (NPS): Information about the NHPA 50th Anniversary and preservation in general.
    • Also, a lesson plan (PDF) about NHPA that "encourages students to examine their local history in thoughtful and engaging ways." Intended for middle and high school students; covers activities that "are appropriate for social studies, U.S., state, and local history classes and courses on government, civics, art/architecture, and English.

  •  Fairfax County & the 50th Anniversary of the NHPA: Online videos and other features highlighting 59 individual properties and historic districts in the County that are listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Posted: 3.23.2016