Preservation FAQs

Stained Glass Wndow imageHow do I restore my historic home?
In addition to the resources already listed, several other sources of information are available for historic homeowners. Searching the Internet using key words such as: historic homes, preservation, building technology, real estate, architecture, restoration, renovation, and Victorian will help you locate helpful information. In addition, these sources will also be helpful:

Books, Magazines, and Brochures
Publications such as The New Old House Starter Kit, Buyer's Guide to Older and Historic Houses, Fabrics for Historic Buildings: A Guide to Selecting Reproduction Fabrics, Floor Coverings for Historic Buildings: A Guide to Selecting Reproductions, and Paint in America: The Colors of Historic Buildings are available from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Books.

How do I preserve a historic building?
The National Preservation Conference is the single best source for information, ideas, inspiration, and contacts for professionals in preservation and allied fields, dedicated volunteers, and serious supporters. For more information, visit the conference website at http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/training/npc/

A call to our office and a visit with Elizabeth Chase (402) 323-7337 about your downtown buildings or J.L. Schmidt (402)323-7338 about other historic resources would also help Heritage Nebraska connect you with the information and the people who can help.

Preservation Books
The National Trust offers booklets on issues faced by owners of historic buildings, including topics such as Appraising Historic Properties, Buyer's Guide to Older and Historic Houses, Design Review in Historic Districts, Rescuing Historic Resources: How to Respond to a Preservation Emergency, Coping with Contamination: A Primer for Preservationists, and Protecting America's Historic Neighborhoods: Taming the Teardown Trend.

The Heritage Nebraska Main Street Program and the National Trust Main Street Center can help communities meet the challenges and opportunities facing their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. The goal is to provide communities with the tools and information for successful, sustainable revitalization. Main Street technical advisors will work with each client to design services that meet local needs and resources. The skills and expertise help communities develop and strengthen community-based commercial district revitalization efforts and implement highly effective, successful revitalization projects.

What Kind of Education Do I need to work in Preservation?
A 2000 National Trust survey of state and local nonprofit preservation groups found that a majority of preservation professionals had fewer than 10 years’ experience in preservation. This reflected the relatively recent development of degree programs in preservation and the high rate of growth in preservation jobs over the past two and a half decades. For a copy of this survey, contact the National Trust's Information Center at info@nthp.org.

The success of preservation-related organizations requires a combination of both proficiency in historic preservation as well as skills in management, communication, fundraising, board relations, marketing, and event planning. Larger preservation organizations are more likely to have a number of very specialized positions requiring specific training and experience.

What is A Historic District?
Local historic districts are areas in which historic buildings and their settings are protected by public review, and encompass buildings deemed significant to the city's cultural fabric. A property included in a historic district, valued for its historical associations or architectural quality, is worth protecting because it is a virtue to the special and unique personality of the city. A primary planning goal of this historic district is to preserve the richness of the past while providing continuity with the present and future.

What is a preservation ordinance?
A preservation ordinance is local legislation created to protect buildings and neighborhoods from destruction or thoughtless rehabilitation. In general, local laws are stronger than federal laws, so a local historic preservation ordinance provides the real defense against inappropriate exterior remodeling and demolition within the historic district. Its special strength comes as the combined voice of residents, the majority of who agreed to use local laws as a tool to preserve the historic character of their homes, businesses, and streetscapes. Open discussion and debate of all affected by the process is crucial to its success. A preservation ordinance does such things as establish an objective and democratic process for designating historic properties, protect the integrity of designated historic properties within a design review requirement, and authorize design guidelines for new development within historic districts to ensure it is not destructive to the area's historic character

How can I find an historic preservation architect or contractor?
Your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Heritage Nebraska will be an excellent resource for you, as they will know of architects and contractors who have worked on historic buildings in your state. Appointed by the Governor, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) in each state carries out the Nation's historic preservation program under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. A SHPO nominates properties to the National Register of Historic Places, reviews applications for certain tax benefits for rehabilitation projects, surveys and evaluates the state's cultural resources, and administers federal grants when available. A "statewide" is a nonprofit preservation organization which focuses on preservation issues in each state.