Creator: Eli Pousson

Publisher: Local Preservation School

Publication Date:


Difficulty: Beginner 

License: Public Domain

Project State: page.state  

Understanding the history of historic preservation along with related fields including public history, archaeology, folklore, and community development, helps us understand how local preservation efforts are shaped by the history of the field and the United States of America more broadly.

How we made this timeline

This timeline overview of the history of preservation was based on Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities (2010) and Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Preservation in the United States (2004).

We created the timeline using Google Sheets and the free, open-source Timeline JS timeline builder from the KnightLab Publisher’s Toolbox

Help make our timeline better

If you have suggestions for this timeline or ideas for how we should teach the history of historic preservation, please consider sharing your comments on the source Google Spreadsheet or reaching out on Twitter to @localpast.

Make your own timeline

You can also make a copy of the spreadsheet to start creating a timeline history of historic preservation and public history efforts in your own community using Timeline JS. Here are a few questions to ask when making a timeline for your community:

  • How old is my town, county, and state?
  • When was the first house museum in my community established?
  • When was my community’s historical society established?
  • When did my community first enact a law or ordinance to protect historic places?