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What is Historic Preservation?

Historic Preservation has become an increasingly important issue that has been recognized on a local, state, national and international level, by governments and organizations worldwide. 

The most basic definition of Historic Preservation is the "identification, protection, and enhancement of historic resources." Within this definition, there are four separate treatment options for a historic resource as identified by the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction.

  • Preservation focuses on the importance of changes and alterations to the structure over the years, which is accomplished by retaining all of the historic fabric through conservation, maintenance and repair. 
  • Rehabilitation is using an old building for a new function, emphasizing the retention and repair of the historic integrity of a building, while allowing flexibility in the process to best fit its new purpose. 
  • Restoration is the act of retaining materials and features specific to the most significant time in a property's history, and includes the removal of any materials or features that are not indicative of that time period.
  • Reconstruction is an authentic reproduction of a structure that no longer exists.


©1990 Debbie Sheaf, ASID :: Orlando, FL :: Columbus, Oh :: Cashiers NC
407.422.1463 :: debbie@debbiesheaf.com :: Board of Architecture & Interior Design 0002178