Architectural History and Historic Preservation (AHHP), through Smithsonian Institution's Office of Planning, Design, and Construction, guides the historic preservation of both the landmark and new Smithsonian buildings. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 outlines actions required by federal agencies to protect cultural resources listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution delegates authority to the Associate Director, AHHP, as the Historic Preservation Officer for the Institution. AHHP is authorized to review every restoration, renovation, design, and construction project initiated by any Smithsonian museum, research center, or office to determine its effects and conformance with Smithsonian Directive 418.
AHHP guides the stewardship of the Smithsonian’s built heritage, the historic resources that represent the largest collection of the Institution. Smithsonian’s sites include historic buildings, designed landscapes, and modern buildings that will become landmarks in the future. AHHP takes a balanced approach to historic preservation that sets priorities for retention of historic fabric and character defining features, with modernization and rehabilitation. AHHP collaborates with Smithsonian staff pan-institutionally guiding historic preservation or conservation projects and collaborating on preservation components or larger projects from planning through design and construction. Providing guidance on the highest level of care using best historic preservation practices and conservation treatments that affect the Smithsonian’s built heritage are among AHHP’s highest priorities.