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Youth & Historic Preservation

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) wants the historic preservation community to expand! Educating young people on the benefits preservation offers to local communities and the nation and encouraging them to enjoy history in their own backyards and beyond is important. The ACHP urges historic preservation organizations to create partnerships with local schools and offer service learning and community service opportunities to students using heritage resources. In keeping with that goal, this website serves as a resource to promote learning, career, and other opportunities for youth in historic preservation.

Latest News | Engagement | Education | Service Learning | Jobs | Young Professionals in Preservation | Native Youth

Latest News

Forget Lemonade, This Young Man Sells History Lessons!
An 8-year-old in Michigan is fast becoming a celebrity for his ingenious plan to teach history to passersby in his neighborhood. Read the story here.




The National Park Service has announced a new grant program aimed at preserving sites of importance to the African American struggle for civil rights in the 20th century. The grants are being funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and $7.75 million is available. Potential projects include survey and documentation, interpretation and education, oral histories, brick and mortar preservation, and more. Historically Black Colleges and Universities can apply for the grants in partnership with states, territories, federally-recognized tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian organizations, or local governments. Applications are due October 14, 2016. Learn more about the African American Civil Rights Grants here.

August 12, 2016—In honor of International Youth Day, the ACHP is highlighting a Preserve America community with a unique claim to youth history: Seward, Alaska. In 1927, as the territory of Alaska considered statehood, territorial governor George Parks and the Alaska American Legion organized a contest to design a territorial flag, believing having such an emblem may help Alaska become a state. The contest was open to all Alaskan children from the 7th to 12th grades, and the ultimate winner, an Aleutian boy named Benny Benson, hailed from the Jesse Lee Home in Seward. Benson's flag was designed as an homage to Alaska's natural landscape and position as the northern-most American territory. Benson won a $1,000 scholarship in the contest, and the flag was adopted in May 1927. Today, the Preserve America Community of Seward honors Benny Benson at the Benny Benson Memorial Park and Lagoon, and Benson is even honored in the city's seal, which features a polar star as a testament to Seward's place as the home of the Alaskan flag. Recently, a nonprofit in Seward has been working to restore the Jesse Lee Home and turn it into a school. Read more about the Preserve America community of Seward here.

To promote heritage tourism in national forests, the Forest Service has created an interactive map highlighting the diverse histories contained in national forests. Visit the Interactive Visitor Map to learn about Underground Railroad sites located in national forests, and check back as new content is added.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the NHPA, the Forest Service is celebrating the partnerships that have worked to preserve cultural history in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. View the flyer for more information on the project.

The ACHP voted unanimously to endorse the Engaging Youth Strategic Plan at the March 24, 2016, business meeting in Tampa, Florida. Read the strategic plan here.

The National Alliance of Preservation Commissions published an article by ACHP Chairman Wayne Donaldson on the importance of getting young people involved in historic preservation and service learning. A great strategy to encourage community involvement, service learning is part of the ACHP's outreach to young audience. Read the article here.

Youth Engagement

The ACHP is reaching out via social media with three Facebook pages: Preservation - The Next Generation for young people, teachers, and others; Preservation Indigenous - Native Youth focused on Native American interests; and ACHP-Advisory Council on Historic Preservation as the agency's official page. The ACHP also has a presence on Twitter.

The ACHP is dedicated to building an inclusive historic preservation community. Countless diverse experiences have shaped the country's cultural landscape, and the ACHP has created a resource for all Americans to learn more about opportunities available under the National Historic Preservation Act. Other opportunities can be found at the agency's inclusiveness page: "Working Together to Build a More Inclusive Preservation Program," and young people can learn how to get involved in historic preservation in their own communities by reading the ACHPís Citizenís Guide to Section 106.

Educational Opportunities

The ACHP and partner organizations offer many educational opportunities for students of all ages. From lesson plans for secondary students to undergraduate and graduate courses and continuing education, the field of historic preservation has expanded significantly in recent years. This section serves as a resource to collect and showcase learning tools for aspiring preservationists.

The ACHP offers classes throughout the country all year on the Section 106 review process. Learn more about the classes and register here.

For students learning about American and world military history, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration offers a host of lesson plans, ranging from middle to high school levels, as does the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The National Park Service (NPS) offers many tools for students and educators, including on-site programs at national parks throughout the country and online lessons plans through Teaching with Historic Places.

The Bureau of Land Management has compiled educational resources for students, teachers, tourists, and more in their Learning Landscapes portal. The site serves as a resource guide for educational tie-ins to America's public lands.

As part of the ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Preservation50 has collected many educational resources. Visit their website to see lesson plans from the likes of Next Exit History, the Smithsonian, and more, as well as toolkits, resources, and more ways to get involved in preservation education and outreach.

More than ever before, students have the opportunity to develop skills in the preservation field through certificates, associate's, bachelor's and graduate degrees. The National Council for Preservation Education serves as a valuable source to research higher educational opportunities offered at colleges and universities across the country.

Service Learning & Volunteerism

Service learning and volunteering offer people of all ages ways to get involved in historic preservation. Preserve America is a federal initiative that supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the program include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities. Preserve America Stewards celebrates programs in which volunteers make substantial contributions to local preservation efforts. Read more about the designated organizations here.

Preserve America Youth Summits offer students hands-on opportunities to engage with historic preservation and interact with local, state, and federal governments as well as many other preservation and community organizations. The summits take place in several locations each summer. Learn more at the Preserve America Youth Summits website.

Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program run by the U.S. Forest Service. PIT volunteers work with professional archaeologists and historians in national forests throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological surveys and excavations, rock art restoration, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts.

The National Park Service has collected several service learning opportunities on its website; learn more about programs from across the country here.

The Bureau of Land Management offers volunteer opportunities on public lands throughout the country. Volunteers can work to protect and preserve natural resources, serve as a youth leader or interpretive guide, update surveys, work on publications, and more. Visit the BLM Volunteers webpage to learn more.

Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student is a program offered by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, giving students in the National Heritage Area ranging from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA the opportunity to learn about historic preservation while creating their own mini-documentaries about historic sites.

Jobs & Internships

There are many ways to obtain a career in the historic preservation field, and not all of them are as straightforward as you might think! Visit the ACHP's series on preservation professionals, "These are the Preservationists in Your Neighborhood," to learn more about preservationists and the sometimes circuitous routes they take to find their jobs.

For more information about career opportunities and current openings in preservation organizations across the country, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Job Board or the PreserveNet job board sponsored by Cornell University.

Visit the website of the National Register of Historic Places to learn more about the many different organizations in the preservation field.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers preservation craft training for young people through HOPE Crews, which help rehabilitate historic sites while learning best practices for preservation. Crews have been formed across the country to work with historic sites.

For students and recent graduates looking to gain experience in historic preservation and related fields, internships can be a great way to gain exposure. In addition to summer internships offered by the ACHP (check back in the spring for more information), there are several other internship opportunities with ACHP member organizations, including the Bureau of Land Management Youth Corps and the National Park Service Technical Preservation Services Internship Program.

Young Professionals in Preservation

Below is a list of groups of young professional organizations across the country who advocate for preservation in their communities and offer networking opportunities.

Young Preservationist Organizations Buffalo's Young Preservationists (Buffalo, NY)

Cincinnati Preservation Collective (Cincinnati, OH)

City Beautiful Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)

Young Ohio Preservationists (Columbus, OH)

Preservation Dallas Young Professionals (Dallas, TX) involved/featured-groups/pdyp/

Pier & Beam (Houston, TX)

Preserve Greater Indy (Indianapolis, IN)

Young Preservationists KC (Kansas City, Missouri)

Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance (Philadelphia, PA)

Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

Young Urban Preservationists (Rochester, NY)

Heritage YP - San Francisco Young Preservationist Network (San Francisco, CA)

Wheeling Young Preservationists (Wheeling, WV)

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists 


One of the ongoing programs under the ACHP's Youth in Historic Preservation is the Native Youth Program. This special program is specific to Native youth in order to appropriately and respectfully address cultural sensitivities and to respect tribal sovereignty and has two goals: 1) to introduce Native youth to historic preservation as a potential career choice, and 2) to provide Native youth an opportunity to voice concerns regarding the protection of sacred sites. Staff of the ACHP's Office of Native American Affairs partner with other federal agencies, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to hold preservation events, host interns, and offer lectures to students at tribal colleges and universities. To learn more, click here.

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