Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office


May is Historic Preservation Month and what better way to kick it off than with a fun – and impactful – social media campaign about our favorite hashtag, #PreservationHappensHere!

#PreservationHappensHere! isn’t just the title of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan. It’s also the idea that great preservation activities are happening every day across the commonwealth.

Use the #PreservationHappensHere! hashtag in your social media posts to discover, share and celebrate the older and historic places in your community.

Tell us how preservation is happening where you are! The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) will select the next Community Initiative Award winners from the people, places, events and projects that use the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag or tell us about their #PreservationHappensHere story here.

What exactly is #PreservationHappensHere?

Other than being a fun hashtag for your social media posts (and possibly help you win an award; more on that later), it’s also a concept that lies at the heart of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan.

Cover statewide historic preservation plan
2018-2023 Statewide Historic Preservation Plan

It is the idea that . . .

  1. all sorts of great preservation activities are happening every day across Pennsylvania that may or may not be thought of as historic preservation
  2. these activities need to be easily identified and shared

Using #PreservationHappensHere does important things for preservation in Pennsylvania: 

  • It shines a light on the good things Pennsylvanians are doing to care for their older and historic places, communities, stories and history through accessible social media outlets used by almost all Pennsylvanians. 
  • It recognizes that preservation successes, particularly the everyday activities and small achievements, may often fly under the radar and are not always identified or announced.
  • It shows that small frequent “wins” can add up and show progress when we think there is none.
  • It communicates that we understand that Pennsylvanians care about the little things that help sustain a historic place or encourage a community just as much as the big things.
  • It helps Pennsylvania move toward the goal of broadening the definition and understanding of historic preservation (Goal 3 of the plan, by the way) by seeing what others across the commonwealth identify as “preservation happening.”

What can it do for you, your organization, or a place you care about?

Man repairing porch

Using the Hashtag to Discover, Share and Celebrate

It’s easy to use the #PreservationHappensHere! hashtag to discover, share and celebrate the older and historic places in and around your community.

Discover: Look around! Chances are there are older and historic places and lots of historic preservation activities happening in the places where you live, work and play.

Take a few extra minutes on your morning commute or during your evening walk to notice the buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods around you.

  • Is there scaffolding up on a house to give it a fresh coat of paint?
  • Is your organization part of a street fair that will showcase your community’s downtown and personality? 
  • Is your borough hosting a meeting about neighborhood revitalization?  
  • Is your business moving into an existing building? 
  • Are you following an Instagram account that features cool places? 

All this – and more – is #PreservationHappensHere worthy!

Share: Once you discover how preservation is happening in your area, share it! If you’re the one making preservation happen, tell us!

Use the #Preservationhappenshere hashtag as part of your post and it’ll let your friends, neighbors, us and others know about it. Or, if you’re not on social media, tell us about your #PreservationHappensHere! moment in a few simple steps.

Celebrate: Sharing #PreservationHappensHere events and activities leads to celebration!

Just simply sharing a photo or story using the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag is celebrating the special place, event, organization or people making preservation happen.

One way that we at PA SHPO celebrate these achievements is through our Community Initiative Award.

Three people on a stage accepting an award.

PA SHPO Community Initiative Awards

The Community Initiative Award from PA SHPO recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s recently released statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.

We will be selecting our next Community Initiative Award winners later this year from social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn that use the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag and from submitted entries.

Use the hashtag or submit your #PreservationHappensHere story and you’re automatically entered to win! The award application is really that easy. Another bonus: there is no deadline to apply.

Looking for Examples?

If you are looking for some examples of #PreservationHappensHere posts, check out these short videos of our 2018 awardees.

The Walk In Art Center (WAIC) is a nonprofit organization founded in the belief that art and culture can positively affect the lives of all. Located two blocks from the Schuylkill River, WAIC is housed in the former Walkin Shoe Factory, a three-story factory built in 1887 in Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County.

Walkin Shoe Factory building
The Walkin Shoe Company Building

The Jefferson County History Center, located in downtown Brookville, is focused not only on preserving and celebrating the history of Jefferson County but also on the rich archaeological heritage of the area. The society has sponsored archaeology outreach programs and research in other towns and even beyond the borders of Jefferson County.  They received a 2018 Community Initiative Award for their work at Scripture Rocks.

People standing on large rock
Documenting Scripture Rocks.

Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA), in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the Clarion County Commissioners, is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve and maintain a 51-mile, four-season, nonmotorized recreational trail; promote preservation and protection of natural resources; and recognize historic sites along the corridor. Since 2010, RVTA’s dedicated volunteers have improved nearly all 51 miles and continue to maintain the trail; stabilized the Climax Tunnel; improved 17 of 19 bridges; added parking and restroom facilities, signage, and creek access; and installed educational panels about sites of historic significance, many about former natural resource-based industries along the corridor.

Climax Tunnel

You can also find more examples online by typing #PreservationHappensHere into the search box of your favorite social media site and take a few minutes to scroll through to see who is posting and what they are posting.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter. We feature #PreservationHappensHere posts from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter each month.


If you have questions about the statewide plan, the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag, or the Community Initiative Awards, please get in touch with me at or (717) 574-8232.


  1. Sylvia Cichon

    Great job Shelby! Saving our history is so important.

  2. Fredrick Hubler

    Preservation is a great path to saving our communities! Thank you for your leadership and hard work.

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