The National Register of Historic Places

United States Department of the Interior National Park Service

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the American cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation.

The National Register includes:

  • all historic areas in the National Park System;
  • National Historic Landmarks which have been designated by the Secretary of the Interior for their significance to all Americans; and
  • properties significant to the nation, state, or community which have been nominated by the states, federal agencies and others and have been approved by the National Park Service.

National Register properties have been documented and evaluated according to uniform standards. The Secretary of the Interior's National Register criteria for evaluation and documentation standards are used by every state and territory and by federal agencies to identify important historic and archaeological properties worthy of preservation and of consideration in making planning and development decisions.

The National Register program provides federal, state and local governments and the general public the following:

  • National recognition of the value of historic properties individually and collectively to the nation
  • Eligibility for federal tax incentives and other preservation assistance
  • Assistance in cultural resource planning

The Massachusetts Historical Commission administers the National Register program in Massachusetts.
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Related publications:

Know How #3 (PDF)

Effects and Benefits of Listing (PDF)