Ignoring America’s Treasures

Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace, 2009 Save America's Treasures Grant Recipient / Photo: Northwest Railway Museum, National Register nomination

News of the proposed federal budget cuts for two major preservation funding programs (Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America) hit the streets earlier this month. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched an aggressive advocacy campaign to save these programs.  According to the Trust, “In addition to slashing funding for National Heritage Areas by 50%, the proposal would eliminate two key preservation programs – Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America. The reality is this funding matters now more than ever, and not just because these programs protect and preserve our national heritage. From coast to coast, people need jobs and cities need engines for economic development – two things these programs have a proven track record of creating.”

If you care about preservation and heritage, you can get involved in national efforts to save preservation funding. Find out how by going to the Trust’s campaign page on its website.  They’ve created an easy on-line form to fill out and email to your Senators and Representatives. These national programs matter to us in Washington state because our historic resources that are deemed “nationally significant” can benefit from funding for much needed restoration work. For example, in 2009, the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie was awarded $180,000 from Save America’s Treasures for its ongoing restoration of its Chapel Car 5 Messenger of Peace.

Crosscut’s Knute Berger recently wrote an excellent article about this issue in “What’s Obama Got Against Historic Preservation?”

In his PlaceEconomics Blog, Donovan Rypkema—an expert in the economics of preservation, criticizes the proposed budget cuts and backs up his arguments with facts and solid analysis.