NPS-28: CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT GUIDELINE
Sections 110 and 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act require all federal agencies to maintain programs to identify, evaluate, and nominate to the National Register of Historic Places historic properties they own or control and to consider the effects of their actions on such properties.
Maintained by the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation's inventory of historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Because its scope is nationwide, the National Register is a tool for connecting and relating park cultural resources to other resources in broad and local contexts. Linking historic properties inside and outside park boundaries is one way the NPS establishes partnerships to help protect and educate the public about heritage resources.
Listing a property in the National Register serves several purposes. It identifies and locates the property for planning, management, interpretive, educational, or research purposes. It clearly evaluates how the property meets one or more of the National Register criteria. It defines the property's historical associations, context, and integrity, and it identifies the features and qualities of the property that reflect its significance. Several automated NPS databases, such as the List of Classified Structures, the Cultural Landscapes Inventory, and the archeological sites management information database, include information about National Register eligibility and need to incorporate the results of evaluation using Register criteria to be up-to-date. (A linkage between the CLI and the National Register form is being established as part of the CLI software.)
National Register documentation assists in preserving historic properties by identifying the values and characteristics that make them significant and warrant preservation and protection in the planning of federal undertakings. Federal agencies have a positive responsibility to ascertain whether properties are eligible for the Register, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation must be allowed to review and comment on federally conducted, licensed, or assisted undertakings that could affect listed or eligible properties. Properties may qualify for the National Register even if they do not relate to park-specific legislation or interpretive themes.
Park properties may also receive greater public appreciation and understanding through inclusion in publications and electronic sources of information on National Register properties. Once a property has been listed in the National Register, documentation in the form of written records, photographs, maps, and a computerized data base called the National Register Information System (NRIS) becomes part of a national repository of information about significant historic properties in the United States. This is available for use by government agencies, researchers, and the interested public. Information on National Register listings appears in a variety of places, including books, articles, tourism promotional literature, and teachers' lesson plans through the "Teaching With Historic Places" program.
To assist agencies in meeting the legal requirements of Sections 106, 110, and 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the NPS has developed the following National Register bulletins to guide the preparation of National Register registration forms: Bulletin 15: How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, Bulletin 16A: How to Complete the National Register Registration Form, and Bulletin 16B: How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form. These are the basic guides for documenting a property to National Register standards. The forms can be prepared on a computer using the National Register nomination form templates (available in several formats at no cost from the National Register of Historic Places , National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240).
Other bulletins, such as Bulletin 7: Definition of Boundaries for Historic Units of the National Park System, Bulletin 12: Definition of National Register Boundaries for Archeological Properties, Bulletin 30: Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Rural Historic Landscapes, Bulletin 36: Guidelines for Evaluating and Registering Historical Archeological Sites and Districts, and Bulletin 39: Researching a Historic Property, may also be useful in preparing registration forms. There are also bulletins on select topics, such as historic battlefields, traditional cultural properties, and less-than-50-year-old properties. A complete list of National Register bulletins and copies of these publications are available from the National Register of Historic Places (address above). Many of the bulletins are available on the World Wide Web and may be downloaded; access is easy through the National Register homepage at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/nrhome.html.
The procedures to be followed in nominating properties to (or removing them from) the National Register are in 36 CFR Part 60; the procedures for seeking determinations of eligibility are in 36 CFR Part 63. Using these instructions and the following supplemental material, cultural resource specialists, trained to evaluate and describe the significant qualities of nominated resources, usually prepare the National Register forms.
Historical units of the national park system are administratively listed in the National Register upon their authorization or establishment, but they require the same level of descriptive and evaluative documentation as other properties being nominated. This documentation defines the values of the parks that are historically significant and worthy of preservation.
How Many Nominations Should a Park Prepare?
Historical parks, which under 36 CFR Part 60 are automatically listed in the National Register, may contain a wide range of cultural resources reflecting different periods of history (or prehistory), different areas of significance, and different levels of significance (local, state, or national). Some of their resources may not represent the aspect(s) of history noted in their authorizing legislation. Nevertheless, all of such a park's historic properties should be documented in a single National Register form (as opposed to preparing separate forms for properties representing different aspects of the park's history). An all-inclusive National Register form will be more efficient to prepare, will promote an integrated approach to evaluating the park's cultural resources, and will simplify locating information on these parks in the National Register files.
For national park system units not established specifically for their historical significance, it is equally important to identify and evaluate cultural resources and nominate them to the National Register. These parks often contain a variety of resources, sometimes widely separated, that are eligible for the Register individually or collectively. In these parks, decisions about how many nomination forms to prepare should reflect the National Register guidance on defining resource boundaries (see National Register Bulletin 16A, pp. 5657) and treat resources in an integrated, interdisciplinary way. The National Register staff can advise on the suitability of various formats for specific resources.
The National Historic Preservation Act recognizes five types of cultural resources eligible for listing in the National Register, and nominations should be submitted in one of these categories: district, site, building, structure, or object (see National Register Bulletins 15 and 16 for definitions and guidance on selecting categories).
Each listing in the National Register fits one of the five categories of resource types listed above. Properties may be (1) nominated and listed individually using the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (NPS-10-900) or (2) nominated and listed collectively in a multiple property format using the National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form (NPS-10-900-b) if all included properties are historically, culturally, or geographically related. Each district, site, building, structure, or object in a multiple property submission must meet the National Register criteria.
The Multiple Property Documentation Form is a cover or overview document and not a nomination in its own right; it serves as a basis for evaluating the National Register eligibility of related properties. In it the themes, trends, and patterns of history shared by the properties are organized into historic contexts and property types representing these contexts. It may be used to nominate a large number of related historic properties simultaneously, or to establish the registration requirements for properties not yet identified or documented but expected to be nominated in the future. Registration requirements describe the physical characteristics, associative qualities, or information potential that an example of the property type must possess to qualify for the National Register. The nomination of each building, site, district, structure, or object is made on the National Register Registration form. The name of the thematic group, denoting the historical framework of nominated properties, is the multiple property listing. The Multiple Property Documentation Form together with the individual Registration forms compose a multiple property submission. See National Register Bulletin 16 for an extended discussion of nomination formats.
In some cases, a Multiple Property Documentation Form may be prepared specifically to establish the context and registration requirements for nominating cultural resources on a nationwide basis. One example is the form for "Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks." Copies of this form are available from the National Register and have been sent to NPS support offices. Multiple Property Documentation Forms prepared by states and other federal agencies may also establish contexts for evaluating NPS resources. Further information about Multiple Property Documentation Forms accepted by the National Register, including copies of those forms, is available from the National Register. State historic preservation officers should also be consulted about the availability of contextual studies that may help in the evaluation of park resources.
Multiple Property Documentation Forms are not used to document historical park units that are registered in their entirety. Because a historical park is a single National Register listing, the National Register Registration Form is used. Most such parks are registered as districts, with listings of contributing and non-contributing resources.
Historic resource studies and other cultural resource reports contain much information required for National Register documentation. Ideally, National Register forms are prepared in conjunction with such research reports, with appropriate text or data simply copied and placed in National Register formats. A study demonstrating how this can be done is Cultural Resources Management in Mammoth Cave National Park. Other examples of NPS multiple property submissions are available on request from the National Register. Additional advice for coordinating evaluation and research report processes is in the Departmental Consulting Archeologist's technical brief no. 7, Federal Archeological Contracting: Utilizing the Competitive Procurement Process. This bulletin discusses the use of National Register criteria in developing scopes of work for archeological investigations and reports.
How Much Documentation is Enough?
A National Register nomination should clearly describe and state the significance of the nominated property as it relates to the National Register criteria. There is no prescribed length for a nomination, but nominations need not be long, highly technical, or scholarly in format (footnotes are not required, for example, although they may add to the usefulness of a nomination). An explanation of a property's significance can be direct and to the point, as long as it provides a perspective from which to evaluate the property's relative importance.
The nomination form should identify which resources within the nominated area contribute and do not contribute to its significance. As noted in National Register Bulletin 16A (p. 17), the documentation should count all sites, buildings, structures, and objects located within the property's boundary that are substantial in size and scale; do not count minor resources unless they contribute strongly to the property's significance.
A contributing building, site, structure, or object adds to the historical or traditional cultural associations, historic architectural qualities, or archeological values for which a property is significant because:
it was present during the period of significance, relates to the documented significance of the property, and possesses historical integrity or is capable of yielding important information about the period; or
it independently meets the National Register criteria.
A non-contributing building, site, structure, or object does not add to the historic architectural qualities, historical or traditional cultural associations, or archeological values for which a property is significant because:
it was not present during the period of significance or does not relate to the documented significance of the property; or
due to alterations, disturbances, additions, or other changes, it no longer possesses historical integrity or is incapable of yielding important information about the period; or
it does not independently meet the National Register criteria.
Defining National Register Boundaries for Historical Units of the National Park System
Historical parks are automatically listed in the National Register on the dates their authorizations are signed into law. Unless and until the NPS has otherwise defined their areas of historical significance, the National Register boundaries are the authorized park boundaries, regardless of land ownership.
For each historical park, the NPS evaluates the entire authorized (listed) area, prepares a nomination form, and precisely defines the National Register boundary to encompass the resources that have historical significance. If the proposed National Register boundary coincides substantially with the park boundary, the documentation is sent to the state historic preservation officer inviting comment. If the park's authorized boundary includes land not owned by the NPS, the non-NPS owners should also be informed of the documentation. Completed documentation is forwarded to the Assistant Director, National Center for Cultural Resources Stewardship and Partnership Programs (who acts on behalf of the NPS federal preservation officer, the Associate Director, Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships), for formal submission to the Keeper of the National Register. When the Keeper signs the nomination form, the National Register boundary is defined by the documentation.
If the proposed National Register boundary differs from the authorized park boundary, the documentation is submitted to the state historic preservation officer for comment within 45 days. If there are any non-NPS owners of land within the park boundary and also within the proposed Register boundary, they should also be notified. In some cases, the area documented and subsequently included in the National Register may be less than the authorized park boundary to exclude, for example, non-historic buffer zones or areas that have lost historical integrity. Such areas should be described and their exclusion justified in the National Register registration form.
In all cases, non-historic buildings or other developments within the National Register boundary, such as modern visitor centers, must be specifically accounted for and identified as non-contributing in the "description" section of the National Register form.
Defining National Register Boundaries Within Non-Historical Units of the National Park System
Many parks added to the system primarily for their natural or recreational values contain important cultural resources that qualify for listing in the National Register. These resources (either districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects) should be nominated to the National Register with defined boundaries that encompass, but do not exceed, their full extent. The registered area should be large enough to include all historic features but should not include buffer zones or acreage not directly contributing to its historical significance. Refer to National Register Bulletin 16A, pp. 5657, for guidance in selecting boundaries for different property types.
The NPS and other federal agencies may nominate properties where a portion of the property is not under federal ownership or control but is an integral part of the cultural resource. Such submissions should be handled under procedures for concurrent nominations as outlined in 36 CFR 60.10, "Concurrent State and Federal nominations."
Objects, Collections, and the National Register Form
The National Historic Preservation Act specifies historic objects, along with buildings, districts, sites, and structures, as cultural resources to be included in the National Register. Because the National Register criteria require integrity of location and setting, and because of the practical difficulties of encompassing the volume of potentially eligible objects and collections, the National Register limits individual listing of objects to relatively large, fixed features that remain in their historic settings (as opposed to museum contexts).
Frequently, however, objects and collections (including artifacts, furnishings, and historic documents) are associated with and contribute to the significance of sites, buildings, structures, or districts qualifying for National Register listing. For example, the furnishings at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, the artifacts and samples excavated at Mesa Verde National Park, the historic documents at Edison National Historic Site, and the architectural fabric removed from Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park are all significant, contributing features.
Such place-related and Service-controlled historic object collections should be described and evaluated in the National Register forms documenting the contributing features of their associated properties. The characteristics of such collections should be broadly described (scope, types, range, variation, quality) in a summary manner. In a nomination for a historic house, include a statement about the scope and characteristics of the furnishing collection historically associated with the house. Service-controlled archeological collections associated with buildings, sites, districts, or structures should be similarly described. Site-related historic documentary resources also should be included. The form should describe only those items original to or historically associated with the nominated property; other objects, whether period pieces or modern reproductions, acquired for interpretive or comparative study purposes should not be included in the nomination form.
Descriptions of collections should not list the number of items in the collection or the number of collections, nor should they include accession information, append inventories, or state their location. Collections outside Service control should not be listed. "Service control" applies to collections possessed by the NPS or on documented loan to an institution or agency and subject to recall at the discretion of the Service. The significance statement of the National Register form must assess the collections' value in relation to the property in terms of the National Register criteria.
Collections resulting from archeological studies usually derive their significance as major scientific collections. Within this concept the original field notes, negatives, slides, field catalogs, field diaries, and archived remote sensing data should be listed as contributing. Under the National Register criteria, the sites where these artifacts were found have yielded and/or are likely to yield information important in history or prehistory. No matter how significant a collection is in its own right, its associated site remains the subject of the National Register nomination, with the collection regarded as a feature of the site.
Many completed National Register forms may not reflect the objects and collections historically associated with the properties they describe and evaluate. Park and other cultural resource personnel with National Register documentation responsibilities should review these forms and submit addenda to cover collections when necessary. For places where National Register forms have not yet been submitted, any associated collections should be included in accordance with the above guidelines.
Processing National Register Forms
National Register registration forms are processed as prescribed in 36 CFR Part 60; federal agency nomination procedures are in 36 CFR 60.9. According to 36 CFR 60.9(b), registration forms are prepared under the guidance of the federal preservation officer designated by the head of the federal agency to fulfill its responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act. The Associate Director, Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships, is the National Park Service's FPO. This program responsibility has been delegated to the Assistant Director, National Center for Cultural Resources Stewardship and Partnership Programs.
Under 36 CFR 60.9(c), National Register nominations of federal properties are submitted to the appropriate state historic preservation officers for review and comment, and the chief elected local officials are notified and invited to comment. Following SHPO and local government review, National Register forms documenting properties within national park system units are submitted to the NPS FPO by the park superintendents or other NPS offices as agreed by the superintendents or regional directors.
Parks or other originating offices should ensure that Register nominations are consistent with regulatory procedural requirements, adequately documented, and technically and professionally correct and sufficient. Support office cultural resources program staff should receive a copy of each completed nomination. Cultural resource specialists in parks, support offices, or elsewhere may prepare or advise and provide technical assistance on National Register forms. Depending on the nature of the property being considered, the advice or review of an archeologist, ethnographer, historian, architectural historian, curator, historical architect, and/or cultural landscape architect may be needed to evaluate the nominated property and the sufficiency of the documentation. Preparers and reviewers should be familiar with the National Register regulations, all National Register bulletins, and the record of the park or cluster in evaluating similar properties. Preparers and reviewers should evaluate:
n whether the nominated property meets the National Register criteria for evaluation;
n whether the boundary adequately defines the full extent of the significant resource(s); and
n whether the property is adequately documented to current National Register documentation standards.
The planning and management implications of a National Register submission should not influence either the decision to nominate or the scope of the submission. Reviewers advise the preparer or superintendent whether the property meets the National Register criteria and is adequately documented. Reviewers may recommend that additional work be performed to adequately justify and document the property. If not satisfied with a submission, the superintendent may obtain other professional evaluations.
Completed draft forms may be forwarded for preliminary review to the Keeper of the National Register. This preliminary review is optional. The National Register staff upon request reviews the forms and comments on the adequacy of documentation. If they question the significance of a nominated property or the adequacy of documentation, the issues should be resolved in consultation with the involved park and cultural resource specialists.
Following any preliminary review, the form is returned to the park or other originating office, which sends it to the appropriate SHPO and chief elected local officials for comment in accordance with 36 CFR 60.9(c). The chief elected local officials of the county (or equivalent governmental unit) and municipal jurisdiction in which a property is located must be notified and given 45 days in which to comment. If the SHPO or local officials comment on the documentation, the comments are considered and incorporated into the nomination if appropriate. After receiving the comments of the SHPO and local officials, or if there has been no response within 45 days, the originating office forwards the form (together with any comments received) to the Assistant Director, National Center for Cultural Resources Stewardship and Partnership Programs, who may approve the nomination and transmit it to the Keeper of the National Register.
If the property is administratively listed in the National Register as a historical unit of the national park system, it is still necessary to send the SHPO a copy of the form and invite comments. (See page 313.)
Processing the Form at the National Register
The National Register must act on nominations within 45 days of receipt. The Register staff places notice that the property is being nominated in the Federal Register for a 15-day public comment period. The information on the property is entered into the National Register Information System database. Following the comment period the nomination is reviewed; if the property is justified as meeting the National Register criteria and is adequately documented, it is listed in the National Register. Technical corrections to the form will be made by the National Register staff in consultation with the Assistant Director, National Center for Cultural Resources Stewardship and Partnership Programs, and the form amended by a Supplementary Listing Record prepared by the National Register staff.
Notice of the listing of the property in the National Register is provided to the NPS FPO and to the appropriate support office and park superintendent. If requested, copies of the signed signature page will also be provided by the National Register staff to the park superintendent and support office. At any time the status of a nominated property can be checked by calling the National Register at (202) 343-9536. The National Register Information System, the automated database of National Register listings, is also available for searches, and may be reached through the Register homepage at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/nrhome.html.
Nominating Properties Outside the Park Boundary
The NPS encourages federal and state preservation offices to cooperate in locating, inventorying, evaluating, and nominating properties possessing historical, architectural, archeological, or traditional cultural values. National Register regulations (36 CFR 60.10, "Concurrent State and Federal nominations") allow federal agencies to nominate properties not under federal ownership or control when they are integral to the property included in the federal nomination. An example might be "Ranching Properties in the Teton Valley," which would include properties both within and outside Grand Teton National Park. Nominating properties outside NPS boundaries is optional, not mandatory.
Registration forms nominating areas extending beyond park boundaries and in nonfederal ownership will be sent to the appropriate SHPO for processing in accordance with 36 CFR 60.6 and 60.10. Forms nominating areas extending beyond park boundaries and administered by other federal agencies shall be sent to the FPOs of the other agencies administering the properties for review. The FPO of the agency originating the form signs it and sends it to the other agency FPO, who signs a letter indicating approval before the nomination is forwarded to the National Register.
Protection of Sensitive Information
Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act as amended in 1992 made changes to the provisions under which sensitive information about historic resources may be withheld from public disclosure. Information about ownership as well as location or character may be withheld if disclosure would cause a significant invasion of privacy, impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners, or risk harm to the historic resource. In addition, Section 304 clarifies the Secretary of the Interior's authority, in consultation with other federal agency heads, to determine who shall have access to this information for the purposes of the National Historic Preservation Act, and in consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to make the same determinations when information is developed under Sections 106 or 110(f) of the act and Advisory Council regulations (36 CFR Part 800). The Secretary of the Interior has delegated lead responsibility for implementing Section 304 to the Keeper of the National Register.
These changes should be kept in mind in interpreting and applying National Register Bulletin 29: Guidelines for Restricting Information About Historic and Prehistoric Resources, which implements Section 304.
Section 304 reads as follows:
(a) Authority to Withhold From Disclosure.The head of a Federal agency or other public official receiving grant assistance pursuant to this Act, after consultation with the Secretary, shall withhold from disclosure to the public, information about the location, character, or ownership of a historic resource if the Secretary and the agency determine that disclosure may
(1) cause a significant invasion of privacy;
(2) risk harm to the historic resource; or
(3) impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners.
(b) Access Determination.When the head of a Federal agency or other public official has determined that information should be withheld from the public pursuant to subsection (a), the Secretary, in consultation with such Federal agency head or official, shall determine who may have access to the information for the purpose of carrying out this Act.
(c) Consultation With Council.When the information in question has been developed in the course of an agency's compliance with section 106 or 110(f), the Secretary shall consult with the Council in reaching determinations under subsections (a) and (b).