There is no doubt I'll be posting periodically about historic preservation topics, so for those of you not familiar with historic preservation, here are some basics: 

Before you embark on any preservation project, restoration, or alteration of your historic property, always do your research first so that you do not cause harm to the original historic fabric of the building. Consult your local State Historic Preservation Office for guidance, visit your local historical society, archives, or library to learn about its history, and read up on technical reports that pertain to your particular project (i.e., preserving original wood sash windows). The National Park Service has an excellent series of Preservation Briefs on a variety of preservation topics: If you plan on hiring a craftsman or contractor, make sure that they are familiar with basic standards for historic preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of historic properties.

**Don't forget to document your property before and after the work is completed! 

learning to hand hew logs at Old Salem Preservation
Technology Field School

The Secretary of the Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties:

1. A property will be used as it was historically, or be given a new use that maximizes the retention of distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships. Where a treatment and use have not been identified, a property will be protected and, if necessary, stabilized until additional work may be undertaken.
re-pointing masonry on historic privy at Preservation
Field School

2. The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The replacement of intact or repairable historic materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.

3. Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Work needed to stabilize, consolidate, and conserve existing historic materials and features will be physically and visually compatible, identifiable upon close inspection, and properly documented for future research.
learning to split logs

4. Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.

5. Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.

testing for moisture

6. The existing condition of historic features will be evaluated to determine the appropriate level of intervention needed. Where the severity of deterioration requires repair or limited replacement of a distinctive feature, the new material will match the old in composition, design, color, and texture.  

7. Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, will be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials will not be used.

8. Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.

our Preservation Field School group at Poplar Forest

Additional Resources and Links:

Of course I could write volumes more in order to give you a good introduction, but instead I'll leave you with these links for additional resources and information:

National Trust for Historic Preservation: 

National Park Service:

Preservation Directory:

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: 

Preservation Trades Network: 

HABS/HAER/HALS (Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey):  

Save America's Treasures:

National Register of Historic Places:

Old House Journal: