Historic Preservation > Laws and Regulations
State and Federal Laws Relating to Historic Preservation

Under the Pennsylvania History Code and the National Historic Preservation Act, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth's official history agency, is designated as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The Commission's Bureau for Historic Preservation (BHP) administers all official state historic preservation programs and activities. These include:

    1. maintaining the Commonwealth's cultural resource inventory
    2. preparing a state preservation plan
    3. nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places
    4. reviewing state and federal undertakings for effects on cultural resources
    5. assisting in certifying historic building rehabilitation projects seeking federal tax incentives
    6. conducting archaeological investigations
    7. overseeing the designation of historic districts under municipal ordinances
    8. advising local governments on preservation issues
    9. providing grants to restore historic buildings
    10. conducting cultural resource surveys
    11. assisting Certified Local Governments with local historic preservation programs

Below are links to state and federal legislation that protect archaeological and historic resources and contact information for state and federal agencies that participate in the preservation process. **Note: Sites external to the PHMC and Adobe PDF files will open in a new window.

State Laws, Documents, and Related Resources

Constitution of Pennsylvania
See Article 1, Section 27 for the protection of natural and historic resources

Pennsylvania History Code
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute, Title 37, Historical and Museums

Local Historic District Act, Act 167 of 1961 (PDF)

Municipalities Planning Code
In an effort to simplify the process of researching the MPC, the Governor's Center for Local Government Services has developed a Web site that will act as a guide for municipalities.

Governor's Center for Local Government Services
This Web site provides many resources for local government officials.

PA Growing Smarter Land Use Planning Series
The Governor's Center for Local Government Services provides valuable tools that will support wise land use decisions and will encourage economic development, a healthy environment, and strong communities.

Local Government Regulations of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (PDF, 1.05 MB)
The Local Government Commission's Legislator's Municipal Deskbook for Pennsylvania

Protection of Historic Schools in Pennsylvania
Follow navigation bar to Basic Education Circulars (BECs)
Smart Growth Schools is an initiative that looks to promote the reuse of existing neighborhood schools, particularly if they are historic and also to promote the design of new schools that are compatible with the character of the neighborhood.

Pennsylvania Manual
Includes the Constitution of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth's system of government

Comprehensive List of State Agencies


Federal Laws, Documents, and Related Resources

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA)

Working with Section 106 (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation)

Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR Part 61)
Procedures for State, Tribal, and Local Government Historic Preservation Programs

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties

The Secretary of the Interior's Professional Qualification Standards

Archaeological Resource Protection Act

Historic Sites Act of 1935

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C)

Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. § 303

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) 30 U.S.C. § 1272(e)

Comprehensive List of Federal Laws relating to Preservation

Comprehensive List of Federal Agencies (ACHP)

Code of federal regulations (36 CFR Part 800), implementing regulations for Section 106