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Heritage Preservation
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Heritage Preservation
Strategic Plan

(download pdf)


The mission of Heritage Preservation is to preserve the nation’s heritage for future generations through innovative leadership, education, and programs.


Heritage Preservation is a nonprofit, independent, public policy organization dedicated to preserving the cultural, historic, and scientific heritage of the United States. Since 1973, this mission-driven organization has identified threats to collections and has responded with practical and pioneering solutions.  By developing timely, focused programs and providing broad public access to expert advice, Heritage Preservation assists museums, libraries, archives, historic preservation and other organizations, as well as individuals, in caring for our endangered heritage. Its special initiatives and highly respected reports and programs have made decision makers, conservation professionals, and the general public aware of the immediate attention required to reduce the risks of losing America’s cultural heritage.

Heritage Preservation’s strength lies in its ability to innovate and respond quickly to needs and opportunities. Its nimble organizational structure has allowed Heritage Preservation to focus on timely initiatives that enhance the care of our nation’s collections. Its members are distinguished museums, libraries, archives, conservation centers, and national associations that rely upon Heritage Preservation to address important issues regarding the preservation of collections.

Vision Statement

Heritage Preservation envisions a time when:

  • The boards, governing authorities, and senior staff of museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations use collections care as an essential resource to advance their missions, provide meaningful learning experiences, and raise financial support.
  • The general public, especially decision makers in the private and public sectors, recognizes the importance and benefits of caring for our nation’s cultural heritage for future generations.
  • Organizations of all types acknowledge their roles as stewards of America’s heritage.
  • Heritage Preservation’s financial resources are strengthened so that it can sustain the excellence of current programs and launch compelling new initiatives.

2012-2014 Goals and Strategies

Goal 1: To provide national leadership in preventing and responding to damage to cultural heritage caused by disasters.

  • Lead the Heritage Emergency National Task Force.
    • Improve coordination and expedite communications in cooperation with FEMA, among members of the Task Force, and with other key groups before and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
    • Convene a Task Force summit to explore effective ways to promote and address emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Disseminate information and training for collecting institutions and their staffs.
    • Conduct additional Alliance for Response (AfR) forums in underserved cities and regions.
    • Cultivate existing AfR networks and develop cooperative relationships among networks.
    • Promote national, regional, and local implementation of the Risk Evaluation and Planning Program (REPP).
      • Encourage the use of REPP preparedness tools.
      • Encourage AfR networks to offer REPP, especially to small and medium-sized cultural heritage organizations.
    • Provide tools and training for emergency preparedness to stewards of tribal collections.
    • Provide information and training to cultural heritage institutions about preventive and mitigation measures that can be taken to protect cultural heritage from disasters.
      • Continue to promote the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel and the Field Guide to Emergency Response and develop new tools for cultural heritage organizations.
      • Make information on the Wheel available as an interactive application on portable electronic devices.
      • Update the Guide to Navigating Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions.
      • Explore collaborative efforts to share information internationally.
  • Prepare and distribute to the public information on safe and effective salvage following a disaster.
    • Implement projects to provide posters and brochures to libraries, FEMA, and other disaster resources centers after a major disaster.
    • Make information for the public readily available online.
    • Explore development of public service announcements on salvage and recovery to be distributed prior to and immediately after a disaster via television, radio, the Internet, and social media.

Goal 2: To represent and disseminate best practices in collections care to people and places where conservation advice is not readily available.

  • In small and medium-sized collecting institutions
    • Continue and strengthen the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) with special attention to sharing best practices through online communities for assessors and participating museums.
    • Explore the possibility of implementing CAP for libraries and archives.
    • Increase information exchange among institutions and assessors through use of new technologies.
  • For stewards of collections
    • Conduct webinars in 2012 and 2013 that feature respected professionals providing advice on collections care to staff and volunteers at small libraries, archives, and museums.
    • Lead the Connecting to Collections Online Community, which connects staff of small libraries, archives, and museums with top resources on collections care and with each other.
    • Expand the use of social media and other new technologies.
  • For art and monuments located outdoors
    • Create best practices web pages for outdoor mural creation and maintenance.
    • Advise communities in their efforts to save murals at risk.
    • Continue and expand role in preserving monuments in veterans’ cemeteries and other locations.
    • Cooperate with Smithsonian American Art Museum on efforts to make the Inventory of American Sculpture more easily accessible.

Goal 3: To cultivate knowledge of the importance of saving cultural and historic heritage collections among policy makers, administrators, the media, and the public.

  • Collect and distribute solid data on collections care issues.
    • Continue to promote the availability of Heritage Health Index data.
    • Conduct a second Heritage Health Index survey and issue report.
      • Develop a work plan and seek funding in 2013-2014.
      • Develop and distribute the survey in 2014.
      • Analyze data and announce results in 2015.
  • Integrate advice on engaging broad audiences in collections care into all Heritage Preservation programming.
    • Conduct webinars that focus on public outreach and cultivating policy makers.
    • Feature public outreach more frequently in publications such as Update and CAPabilities.
    • Put special emphasis on encouraging broad involvement through CAP, webinars, and online communities.
    • Promote the use of Capitalize on Collections Care.
  • Promote federal preservation funding.
    • Work with other interested organizations to rebuild Save America’s Treasures in future years.
    • Work with other interested organizations to protect funding for collections care at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and other agencies.
    • Encourage national organizations to include preservation in testimony and legislative priorities.
  • Provide easily accessible information on collections care through a wide range of electronic platforms, accessible worldwide.
    • Redesign Heritage Preservation web site with a content management system and expanded practical information for the public.
    • Expand Heritage Preservation’s social media presence through such vehicles as Facebook, Twitter, and other emerging means.
  • Engage in a long-term branding effort to increase awareness of Heritage Preservation’s role in preserving our nation’s cultural heritage.

Goal 4: To actively seek out initiatives and collaborative partnerships for the care of our cultural heritage with organizations and institutions that have not traditionally given priority to this area.

  • Establish a committee of the Board to seek out and consider opportunities for new collaborative partnerships.
  • Investigate initiatives dealing with youth and preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Explore potential collaborations with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and other agencies and organizations that serve veterans to preserve monuments and heritage. 

Goal 5: To advance the fiscal stability and governance of Heritage Preservation.

  • Identify new non-federal funding sources.
  • Expand broad involvement in fund-raising.
  • Establish an endowment for Heritage Preservation.
    • Approach potential lead donors.
  • Seek expanded annual funding for programs and operations.
    • Establish an organization of committed supporters of Heritage Preservation.
      • Identify multi-year funding to support implementation of aspects of the strategic plan.
    • Facilitate donations through the use of the Heritage Preservation web site and social media.       
    • Continue to explore federal grant support and partnerships.
    • Plan for leadership succession.

September 2011