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Historic Preservationists


Many historians agree the first major restoration project documented in the United States was Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, the first president of the United States. In 1889, a group of women concerned about the state of President Washington's home formed the Mount Vernon's Ladies Association and restored the mansion and grounds to its former glory.

Also in 1889, the Association of the Preservation of Virginia's Antiquities became the first statewide historic group in the United States. The organization, now known as Preservation Virginia, owns and maintains various historically important sites throughout the state of Virginia.

The biggest boost to the preservation movement was the passage of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. The law reinforced the government's commitment to caring for the nation's historic treasures. From then on, defining, restoring, and maintaining sites and structures were done according to a certain standard.

The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior responsible for resources owned by the government, such as archeological sites, battlefields, natural landscapes, monuments, and historical homes. The NPS also sets regulations under which privately owned historical districts are managed. The NPS administers many agencies devoted to cultural and historical resources. One agency, the National Register of Historic Places, identifies and protects districts, sites, homes, and objects that are relevant to the culture or history of the United States. Once listed in the National Register, a home or site is protected from future demolition and may be eligible for federal funding to be used for renovation or promotion.