History

The THC staff, along with many public and private partners, works to research, recognize, and interpret historic resources across Texas using a mix of state and federal programs. Historic sites, districts, structures, objects, and cultural landscapes that are significant nationally, statewide, or locally can be designated, recognized, and protected through a variety of programs.

Identification and Evaluation

From field surveys, and archival research on individual properties to more general context studies of groups of resources, documentation on specific sites and others for comparison is gathered and assessed by individuals, the THC and its partners, and consultants.  Properties are evaluated for their significance and integrity in the context of the community or state based on criteria for various programs, for example the National Register of Historic Places, the State Historical Marker Program, and the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation Program.  The process of designating historic properties can include a THC staff level review, a county or local review, approval by advisory boards, and a final vote by the Texas Historical Commission itself. 

Important partners in efforts to recognize, designate, and protect historic resources include local governments, their historic preservation or planning offices, Main Street program managers, history and preservation organizations, and official County Historical Commissions across Texas.

Preservation and Interpretation

A variety of tools to protect and designate historic properties and resources is available, depending on the type of resource and the specific designation sought. For example, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires that federal agencies consult with the THC prior to undertaking projects that may impact properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in Texas. The consultation process, which often includes local citizens and officials, is referred to as a Section 106 Review.

THC also preserves and opens for public visitation 20 State Historic Sites across the state to share their significance and history with visitors. Information on these and other historic sites is also shared through special research and oral history projects, thematic publications such as Texas in the Civil War, historical marker guides, and material offered online. Information on historic properties and their significance is also available through the National Register nominations and other historic site information available through the Texas Historic Sites Atlas.