Photo Policy Changes for the National Register of Historic Places

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The photo guidelines for proposing buildings for the National Register of Historic Places have been updated.  They provide more specific information on submitting digital images, and say that electronic applications should be uploaded at the Cultural Resources Submittal Portal (CRSP).  They replace the guidelines of 2013 and 2020 for digital versions, but “no new requirements have been introduced”, according to the National Park Service website.  While the emphasis is definitely on digital submissions, hard copy submissions to the National Register of Historic Places are still possible.

Here is the link to the new guidelines.

Readers should note that these requirements are for “landmarking” buildings and sites, not for the more rigorous documentation required for the Historic American Building Survey, the Historic American Engineering Record, or Historic American Landscape Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS), also known as the Historic Documentation Programs of the National Park Service (HDP).  With proper care, a cell phone can be used to meet the photo requirements of the National Register, while HABS/HAER work must be done with a traditional view camera, using film 4×5 inches or larger.  The landmarking photo standards have always been more relaxed, because this is much larger cohort of buildings that are being examined. For example, they accepted resin-coated black and white photographs, which are not reliable for archival purposes.  These “r.c. prints” have never been allowed for HABS/HAER/HALS.

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