Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Community Connections: Planning for Preservation in Pennsylvania

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As the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) turns fifty this year, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO), a bureau of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), has begun outreach and strategic planning for Pennsylvania’s next statewide comprehensive historic preservation plan. We believe that this important anniversary is the right opportunity to engage with Pennsylvanians and find out how we can collectively guide preservation in Pennsylvania for the next fifty years.

Connecting with Communities for the Next Statewide Plan

Pennsylvania’s current statewide comprehensive historic preservation plan, Building Better Communities: The Preservation of Place in Pennsylvania will expire at the end of 2017.  The NHPA requires that state historic preservation offices (SHPOs) develop and maintain statewide plans, which are intended to guide local, regional, and statewide preservation efforts over a period of time.  In Pennsylvania, the PA SHPO is responsible for guiding the development of the Plan, securing its approval from the National Park Service, and distributing it as a resource for agencies, organizations, municipalities, and the public.

Click here for Plan fast facts to learn more about statewide preservation plans and why they matter.

Pennsylvania’s (Next) Statewide Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan

The statewide historic preservation plan isn’t the PA SHPO’s plan, it’s Pennsylvania’s plan. We see our role as a leader, convener, partner, collaborator, contributor, and champion.  We want to connect with as many traditional and non-traditional communities – and everyone in between – as we can during this process to create a plan with clear, practical goals that serve as a general guide for decision-making and a resource for anyone working with older and historic places.

The foundation of any good planning effort is engagement, so we created “Community Connections” as the engagement strategy for the statewide preservation planning process. Generally, this is a two-pronged strategy:  1) engaging the public through an online survey and, later this year, in regional forums and 2) collaborating with our many partners through a State Plan Task Force, focus groups, and regular updates.

Public Survey

One of the easiest ways to participate in the planning process is to take a few minutes to take our online survey.

∗ Click Here to Take the Survey ∗

Your input helps identify issues and create a vision for the future of older and historic places in our communities.  Your feedback is a crucial part of the planning process.  Please take a few minutes to complete a brief online survey by clinking on the link above.  Share this post with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues and ask them to take the survey, too.  We also used a public survey in 2011 to inform the current statewide plan and got over 2,700 responses, with at least one from every county.  Our goal is to beat that number this year and have even more voices tell us what matters to them.

News and Updates

Check in frequently! We’ll be updating this page often with new information and updates on the planning process, upcoming focus groups and public forums, and other important and interesting information.  You can also follow our progress with our blog, e-newsletter, and email announcements through our mailing list.  If you’re not already signed up, simply go to and fill in the Sign Me Up! screen.


Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Special Initiatives Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

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