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How NOAA is Supporting Local Communities to Preserve Their Heritage

Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

the new Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center

Alpena, Michigan, a Preserve America Community, is home to the new Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, the headquarters of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Click image for larger view and image credit.

NOAA has facilitated meetings and supported efforts by a number of communities to seek Preserve America Community Designation.  This designation provides national recognition to cities and towns that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. Preserve America Community Designation also indicates that the community is working to preserve and use its heritage assets as building blocks for the future. Since the program began, First Lady Laura Bush has designated more than 400 communities (including seven neighborhoods) as Preserve America Communities.

Recently, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program supported the designation of Galveston, Texas, due to the historic importance of Fort Crockett, a former Army post that currently houses NOAA facilities. NOAA has played a role in other Preserve America Community designations, including Alpena, Michigan; Gloucester, Massachusetts; and Hatteras, North Carolina.  NOAA is also supporting local leaders in Scituate, Massachusetts, and Manteo and Ashville, North Carolina, with their applications.

The City of Gloucester and NOAA: Great Partners!

In March 2006, Preserve America and the House Historic Preservation Caucus held a Capitol Hill event presided over by the First Lady, which recognized the first round of Preserve America grant recipients, the first Preserve America Neighborhood designees, and the latest Preserve America Community designees. The First Lady, the Honorary Chair of Preserve America, announced the first round of grants totaling nearly $3.5 million.

The City of Gloucester was one of first recipients of the Preserve America grants.  The city’s project, “Maximizing the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Visitor Experience,” includes markers and interpretive signs; a Web-based marketing program; and a fishing industry exhibit that will be at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center and Schooner Adventure. NOAA was instrumental in facilitating meetings with the city about the opportunities to pursue Preserve America Community designation. This is very exciting for this community – both a NOAA community and a Preserve America Community.

Related Web Sites

Preserve America Community Designation