Climate Change and Historic Resources

The future of historic properties is often overlooked in the complex process of planning for the effects of climate change, yet they are also subject to the effects of erosion, high water, intense storms, high winds and wildfire.  Much like parks or schools or town buildings, a community’s historic properties help create a unique sense of place. Community members, municipal officials, planners, preservationists, scientists and visionaries all need to be part of the discussion of how - and which – historic properties can be protected.  Local values, demographics, culture and economics underlay the available and feasible options.

The Maine Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC) has established this page to assist entities throughout the state with planning for the effects of climate change on historic properties and cultural resources through the process identification, adaption, resiliency and mitigation.  Additional information and resources will be posted as they are developed.

Toolkits

MHPC Historic Properties Toolkit

Information on climate adaptation planning resources focused on historic properties will be posted here as they are developed.

Weathering Maine: Mapping Threats to Maine’s Historic and Cultural Resources

MGIS MapThis GIS map depicts the locations of properties in Maine listed in the National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks or museums/archives along with layers depicting potential threats to these properties including flood, fire, sea-level rise, storm surge. The map also shows current NOAA hazards and watches.

The MHPC has developed this web application so that as communities, regions, officials and citizens create plans to deal with changing climate, storms, erosion, or other physical threats, historic properties, museums or archives within the subject areas can be identified, evaluated, and their futures contemplated.  As irreplaceable, authentic touchstones to our past, these properties merit specialized consideration in the planning processes in order to protect the historic characteristics and associations that give them meaning.

Climate Change and Gutters White Paper

This white paper which studies the capacity of gutters on historic buildings during intense storm events was penned by Historic New England as part of their series Property Care White Papers.  The study was supported in part with a federal Historic Preservation Fund Grant from the Commission.

White Paper:  Climate Change and Gutters

For more information on property care visit Historic New England’s Property Care White Papers

Maine Adaptation Toolkit

A centralized source for the information relevant for designing and implementing climate adaptation measures or strategies. (Not specific to historic resources.)

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Resources from other states and organizations

New! Published by the Maryland Historical Trust

Flood Mitigation Guide: Maryland’s Historic Buildings (PDF) Preservation Design Partnership, 2018.

This book is designed to help bridge the gap between floodplain management, emergency management, climate adaptation, and historic preservation.  It discusses the steps of the emergency management cycle: planning, response, recovery, mitigation, and adaptation, and at its core is geared towards starting conversations between local stakeholders.

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