Historic preservation is a pervasive, enduring national movement driven by the public’s fascination with the past in the form of old buildings, neighborhoods, Main Streets, and landscapes. Rather than focusing on preserving houses or villages as museums, the modern preservation profession emphasizes adapting old buildings to new uses.
There’s more to the historic built environment than the “plus factor”—features people admire, such as high ceilings, elaborate or simple woodwork, decorative tile, and fireplaces that are works of art in themselves. Beyond this aesthetic is an emotional attraction. Living in an old house or working in an old building provides a sense of heritage and connects individuals to the past.
The nation’s interest in historic preservation is growing, and today it is a living, breathing, and functional way of life. Historic preservation professional skills are needed by communities across the country that want to preserve their built heritage for future generations.
Preservation professionals take a wide variety of positions in the public and private sectors. Many
find employment in state historic preservation offices, consulting
firms, local preservation commissions, state historic sites, and
nonprofit preservation groups such as the Indiana Landmarks, the nation’s largest nonprofit, private statewide preservation organization. Others work for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. With
the growing interest in historic preservation, job opportunities
in this field are abundant. Students typically land entry-level
positions within four months of graduation.
Types of Projects
Professionals in this field deal with the complex challenges of rejuvenating the historic core districts of cities, maintaining a sense of identity in small towns, revitalizing neighborhoods, preserving rural areas, and restoring historic landmarks and landscapes.
This diverse discipline focuses on preserving a variety of historic places where people live and work, including:
Historic preservationists try to find ways to preserve historic features of an old building while making changes needed for new life.
For more information, contact Susan Lankford, director, graduate program in historic preservation.
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