Seeking and Determining Impacts: Justifying Federal Competitive Historic Preservation Grant Programs
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Type of Work208 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
RightsTo view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at email@example.com or (410) 337-6075.
SubjectsHistoric preservation -- United States -- Finance
Federal aid -- Preservation -- United States
Historic preservation -- Theses
This thesis examines two federal historic preservation grant programs administered by the National Park Service. Save America’s Treasures, funded between 1999 and 2010, supported the conservation and preservation of nationally significant historic structures and collections. Preserve America, funded between 2006 and 2010, supported communities committed to recognizing, designating, and protecting historic resources in order to find self-sustaining ways to utilize cultural resources through heritage tourism. My statement of hypothesis asks: Do federal historic preservation grants merit funding and can they be justified as a federal service? Does a federal investment in the two programs impact historic and cultural resources and yield net economic benefits? Finally, how can the preservation community better make the case for federal funding? This thesis is organized in four parts: (1) a policy argument for National Park Service leadership and involvement in external preservation programs; (2) analysis of federal spending and patterns; (3) goals fulfilled by the grant programs; and (4) ways to create a strong budget justification for the two grant programs. Research methods included examining and analyzing primary and secondary sources comprising in part federal budget documents, laws, interviews with preservation grants staff, and studies evaluating the value of cultural heritage. Through an independent study, I researched evaluation mechanisms that measure impacts and gauge program impacts. I found the two grant programs merit federal funds. My research uncovered trends that show they serve as a catalyst for local enthusiasm, education, economic development, private investment, prestige, and preservation. They assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their goals and mission as directed by statute. The budget justification eliminating the programs failed to consider the value received from every dollar invested through the programs. I also found purely basing economic impacts and budget planning takes away from the ultimate irreplaceable value at stake, and other potential unintended consequences. Ultimately, the fate highlights the importance of better understanding and articulating the programs’ net benefits and public purpose. Save America’s Treasures, Preserve America, federal preservation funding, evaluating federal preservation programs