Historic Preservation Abbreviations You Should Know

Historic Preservation Abbreviations You Should KnowEvery field has its own acronyms and abbreviations that professionals are expected to know, and historic preservation is no exception. It can be daunting as a recently employed young professional or as a student speaking to potential employers if not all of these combinations of letters are familiar to you.

Below, we have compiled a list of abbreviations that every preservation professional should know – and I’m sure there are more that I have missed. If you’ve got some to add, register here to comment on this post.



Groups + Certifications:

ACHPAdvisory Council on Historic Preservation

AIAAmerican Institute of Architects

AICAmerican Institute for Conservation of Historic + Artistic Works

AICPAmerican Institute of Certified Planners

APAAmerican Planning Association

APTAssociation for Preservation Technology International

36 CFR 61Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation

CLGCertified Local Government

DOCOMOMOInternational Committee for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement

EDRAEnvironmental Design Research Association

FAIACollege of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects

ICOMOS International Council on Monuments and Sites

IDPIntern Development Program (for Architects)

NCARBNational Council of Architectural Registration Boards

NCPENational Council for Preservation Education

NCPH – National Council on Public History

NCPTTNational Center for Preservation Technology and Training

NCSHPONational Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers

NPSNational Park Service

NTHPNational Trust for Historic Preservation

PTNPreservation Trades Network

RPARegister of Professional Archaeologists

SAHSociety of Architectural Historians

SHA – Society for Historical Archaeology

SHPO (ship-oh)State Historic Preservation Office

THPO (tip-oh or thip-oh)Tribal Historic Preservation Office

USGBCUnited States Green Building Council

US/ICOMOSUS National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites

VAFVernacular Architecture Forum


Laws, Processes + Projects:

ARB, BAR – Architectural Review Board, Board of Architectural Review

CRGISCultural Resources Geographical Information System Facility

CRM – Cultural Resources Management

DoE – Determination of Eligibility

HABSHistoric American Buildings Survey

HAERHistoric American Engineering Record

HALSHistoric American Landscapes Survey

HRS – Historic Resources Survey

HSR – Historic Structure Report

HTC – Historic Tax Credit

LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design

MEP – Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing

MLS – Master’s in Library Science

MoA/MoU – Memorandum of Agreement; Memorandum of Understanding

MPDFMultiple Property Documentation Form

MSHP, MAHP, MHP – Master’s in Historic Preservation

NAGPRA – Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

NEPA (nee-puh)National Environmental Policy Act

  • EIS – Environmental Impact Statement
  • EA – Environmental Assessment
  • FONSI (fon-zee) – Finding of No Significant Impact

NHLNational Historic Landmark

NHPA (Section 106)National Historic Preservation Act

NRHP, NRNational Register of Historic Places

NRNNational Register Nomination

RFP, RFQ – Request for Proposals, Request for Qualifications

SOISecretary of the Interior (Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties)

About the author: Histpres

Histpre is a hand-curated website of opportunities, stories, and news for active preservationists; active in their education, profession, and community – all to advance our movement by equipping their readers with the resources and information needed to be successful. Meagan, a preservation advocate in DC, and Laura, an archaeologist in the Southwest, met in grad school, drove across the country a couple of times, and started Histpres together.


  1. Eden Burgess says:

    ACRA – American Cultural Resources Association

  2. frauhee says:

    I just came over to print out this list. Some additions I thought of:

    MoA/MoU – Memorandum of Agreement; Memorandum of Understanding

    DoE – Determination of Eligibility

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