Heritage Preservation Month


2017 is the 35th consecutive year New Mexico has celebrated Heritage Preservation Month. Originated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, most state historic preservation offices and local organizations commemorate preservation achievements with awards and other events during the month of May. This year, the New Mexico theme was inspired the National Park Service initiative to better represent the nation's minority history and culture in the National Register of Historic Places. The Secretary of the Interior recently designated two sites associated with African American history as National Historic Landmarks, and dozens of grants have been awarded in many states including New Mexico, to better document our cultural heritage. Our 2017 poster will interpret the theme, "Untold Stories: Minority History and Culture in New Mexico."

Last year, HPD commemorated the National Park Service Centennial, the fiftieth anniversary of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act, and the Mission 66 program which officially concluded the year the act was passed, also the park service's 50th anniversary. Mission 66 was the largest investment in national parks and cultural sites in NPS history. A 10-year program begun in 1956 to address a huge influx of national park visitors, it gave us the modern visitor center and upgraded roads, trails, and park facilities. The El Morro National Monument visitor center is an outstanding example the "Park Service Modern" style of the era.  Inspired by the Contemporary, International, and other mid-century styles, bold modern buildings were built close to natural and cultural resources giving visitors expansive, up close views through large windows that let lots of light into spacious interiors. The architecture encouraged visitors to explore parks and learn more about history during the post-war prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s.  The 2016 poster is available from HPD at 505-827-6320.

Preservation Month & Events

Heritage Preservation Month originated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1973 and is celebrated nationwide by parks, local preservation groups, state and local preservation offices, and historical societies. It is an opportunity to showcase preservation achievements in cities, towns, pueblos, parks and by individuals, organizations and governments. This year 41 events fill our Calendar of Events thanks to a partnership with New Medxico Heritqage Preservaiton Alliance a, museums, monuments and communities statewide. Take a road trip in May and use the Calendar of Events as your guide.


Since the 1970s, the Cultural Properties Review Committee has presented Heritage Preservation Awards for outstanding preservation achievements. Individuals, organizations, authors, local heroes, businesses and agencies have received awards for significant contributions to preserving architecture, archaeological sites, language, cultural landscapes and for writing books. Prominent consulting firms, authors, archaeologists, architects, historians and people who fell in love with and saved the condemned historic adobe down the block have won preservation awards.

2016 Award Recipients

Individual Achievement  

  • Victoria T. Jacobson—for advocating preservation and sustainability as a National Park Service architect, and for 10 years dedicated to the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance.
  • Laurel Wallace—for writing two substantial volumes that became the standard guides for preserving historic roads, structure, and roadside architecture in New Mexico.
  • C. Dean Wilson—for becoming the foremost authority in the identification and interpretation of Southwestern Native American ceramics.
  • Norman B. Nelson—for 20 years devoted to building site steward programs and for his leadership of New Mexico SiteWatch at HPD.

Architectural Heritage

  • MainStreet de Las Vegas—for preserving New Mexico’s first volunteer firehouse, the E. Romero Hose and Fire Company building in Las Vegas.

Community Preservation Planning

  • Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District—for the organization’s leadership in establishing the Gallup Commercial Historic District.

 Heritage Organization

  • Silver City MainStreet Project—for preserving the Silco Theater, and re-opening it as a first-run movie house in 2015.

 Heritage Organization

  • Corrales Historical Society, Corrales Fire Department, Village of Corrales, Crocker Ltd.—for preserving San Ysidro Church after it was damaged in a severe 2013 storm.
  • Old Santa Fe Association—for 90 years of pioneering preservation advocacy, including establishment of one of the first local preservation ordinances in the nation.

 Heritage Publication

  • Marilyn Burchett—for editing hundreds of Lincoln County family histories and compiling them into Lincoln County, New Mexico, Tells Its Stories.
  • Rose Spader & Debra Speck—for researching and writing your family history and tying it to important New Mexico events in the historical novel, Overturned Bucket.
  • David Pike— for writing the historical roadmap to the Official Scenic Historic Markers, Roadside New Mexico: A Guide to Historic Markers, published in 2004 and 2015.

State Historian’s Award for Excellence in N.M. Scholarship

  • Drs. Charles H. Harris, III & Louis Ray Sadler—for writing a body of work that has earned them recognition as the leading scholars of the Mexican Revolution and the early twentieth century in the Southwest.

Lifetime Achievement

  • Marcia Keegan—for documenting the cultures of New Mexico’s 19 pueblos and the Navajo Nation in photographs published in books and are part of the permanent collections of local and national museums.