In 1971 the Legislature established the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to implement State policy to "preserve the architectural, historic and environmental heritage of the people of the State, and to develop and promote the cultural, educational and economic benefits of these resources." The Commission is an independent agency within the Executive branch of state government that functions as the State Historic Preservation Office.
Its Director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) upon appointment by the Governor. The office administers the programs of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 in Maine, which includes the identification, evaluation, and protection of the state’s significant cultural resources.
Our responsibilities include:
- nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places
- reviewing and commenting on the effect of federal undertakings on historic properties
- assisting owners of income producing properties to obtain federal and state rehabilitation tax credits
- overseeing the identification and evaluation of archaeological sites as well as historic buildings, objects and districts
- promoting historic preservation through planning and public education.
The Commission is comprised of 11 members made up as follows: The Commissioner of Transportation or a representative of the Department of Transportation, and the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or a representative of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, to serve ex officio; and 9 representatives from among the citizens of the State who are known for their competence, experience and interest in historic preservation, including at least one prehistoric archaeologist, one historic archaeologist, one historian, one architectural historian and one architect, to be appointed by the Governor.
The Commission meets on a quarterly basis to review and approve nominations of historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places, the agency’s annual operating budget, and to make grant awards for historic preservation projects.
The Commission is a member of the Maine State Cultural Affairs Council, which is comprised of the:
- Maine Arts Commission
- Maine Historic Preservation Commission
- Maine State Library
- Maine State Museum
- Maine State Archives
- Maine Historical Society
- Maine Humanities Council