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About the Commission

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is the state office for historic preservation and heritage programs. The Commission identifies and protects historic and prehistoric sites, buildings, and districts by nominating significant properties to the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register; administering grants, loans, and tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings; reviewing federal and state projects that affect cultural resources; and regulating archaeological exploration on state land and under state territorial waters. The Commission also develops and carries out programs to document, support, and celebrate the ethnic and cultural heritage of Rhode Island's people.

Created in 1968, the Commission consists of fifteen members who serve in a voluntary capacity. Ten public members are appointed by the Governor and include an historian, an archaeologist, an architectural historian or an architect, a landscape historian or landscape architect, a museologist, and an anthropologist. Five members serve ex officio: the director of the Department of Environmental Management, the director of the Economic Development Corporation, the associate director of Administration for planning, the State Building Commissioner, and the State Historic Preservation Officer. The Commission employs a staff that includes historians, architectural historians, archaeologists, and architects. The Commission's funds come from state and federal appropriations.

The Commission has
>surveyed 52,857 historic properties including 2,437 archaeological sites.
>published 55 neighborhood, town, and other survey reports.
>nominated more than 19,000 properties to the State Register and National Register of Historic Places, including 138 historic districts (as of 2012).
>awarded $15 million in grants to 651 projects statewide with total project value of $100 million.
>approved Federal and State tax credits for 689 projects valued at $2.25 billion.
>assisted rehabilitation of 8,100 living units, 15 percent for low/moderate income residents
>approved state historic homeowner tax credits for 909 projects valued at $10.5 million.
>monitored preservation easements on 118 historic properties.
>reviewed approximately 1,500 state and federal projects annually.
>certified local government historic preservation programs in 15 communities.
>provided $7.2 million in low interest loans to 113 restoration projects.
>presented 23 annual Statewide Historic Preservation Conferences.
>sponsored 25 annual Heritage Festivals on the State House Lawn, and heritage events throughout the year.
>conducted folklife studies to document the heritage of ethnic groups.
>operated Eisenhower House historic site and generated annual surplus revenue.
>received national awards from the American Association for State and Local History, The Society of Architectural Historians, the Society for Historical Archaeology, and the American Institute of Architects.