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Our Mission

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Our Mission

We serve the public by preserving and presenting New England heritage.

Historic New England is the oldest and largest regional heritage organization in the nation. We share the region’s history through vast collections, publications, exhibitions, museum properties, and archives that document more than 400 years of life in New England.

Program Areas

We fulfill our mission through five key program areas:

  • Historic Properties: Visit our thirty-six historic sites, spanning five states and four centuries of New England life. Hear the stories of the New Englanders who called these sites home, stroll through formal gardens, or visit a working farm. Historic New England offers scores of public programs at our sites each year, ranging from courses and workshops to walking tours, craft festivals, and concerts.
  • Collections: With more than 110,000 objects Historic New England has the most comprehensive and best documented collection of New England decorative arts and household furnishings in the country. These collections, which date from the mid-seventeenth to the twentieth-first centuries, include the whole range of goods needed for day-to-day life, from furniture and clothing to cooking and heating equipment.
  • Preservation Services: Historic New England's preservation services include caring for and managing our own thirty-six historic museums and working with private property owners to protect and maintain their old and historic homes. We advocate for the preservation of significant New England residential resources representing all time periods, architectural styles, and cultural stories.
  • Education: Historic New England's school and youth programs, serving more than 45,000 students each year, receive national attention for the creative way in which they use historical resources to enrich learning. The programs are fun and multi-disciplinary, encouraging learning through a variety of approaches, including hands-on activities and role playing.
  • Archives and Publications: Every year hundreds of researchers come to the Library and Archives to study the more than one million items that document New England's architectural and cultural history. The archival collections include photographs, prints and engravings, architectural drawings, books, manuscripts, and ephemera.

Statement of Preservation Philosophy

One of Historic New England's primary goals is the preservation of cultural resources.

Recognizing that the resources administered by Historic New England, including landscapes, buildings, structures, archeological resources, objects, and archival material, may have different preservation needs and ideologies, Historic New England's preservation philosophy is to:

  • Research and document the history, evolution, features, materials, integrity, and areas of significance of resources prior to undertaking any repair or conservation work. Research should be considered a continuum that serves to direct the overall management approach for resources, and records Historic New England's contribution to their care and maintenance;
  • Monitor usage to prevent irreparable loss of historic fabric;
  • Choose maintenance and conservation treatments that reflect a commitment to retaining and preserving historic material;
  • Recognize and preserve the design and craftsmanship that has uniquely shaped a resource over time;
  • Disseminate the experiences and information associated with resources to internal and external audiences; and
  • Follow or exceed nationally-accepted professional standards and guidelines, as appropriate for each discipline, in order to ensure the longevity of resources and maintain a reputation for innovation and the highest quality of work.

Preservation Philosophy approved by the Board of Trustees on September 24, 2008


Our Mission