The role of State Historic Preservation Officers and Offices (SHPO) was created in 1966 under Section 101
of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) for each state and territory in the USA to establish. The purposes of SHPOs include surveying and recognizing historic properties, reviewing nominations for properties to be included in the National Register of Historic Places, reviewing federal undertakings for impacts on historic properties and resources in each respective local, as well as supporting federal organizations, state and local governments, and private sector.
In the Virgin Islands the State Historic Preservation Office, (VISHPO), is a division within the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR). The DPNR Commissioner serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Director of the VISHPO serves as the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. The VISHPO helps communities identify, evaluate, preserve, and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. The VISHPO administers programs authorized by both the National Historic Preservation
Act of 1966 and the Virgin Islands Antiquities and Cultural Properties Act of 1998. These programs include the Statewide Historic Resources Survey, the Virgin Islands Registry of Historic Buildings, Sites and Places, the National Register of Historic Places, the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program, the Certified Local Government program, the state historic preservation grants program, state and federal environmental review, and a wide range of technical assistance, are provided through two teams assigned to the territory. The VISHPO works with the territory and federal governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in Virgin Islanders a sense of pride in our unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.
Vision And Mission Statement
To see the Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office fully funded to function at its fullest potential to meet its mission and statutory mandates using the technology of the twenty first century and print media that is informative, well designed and engaging.
The Virgin Islands’ architectural and archaeological resources are a legacy that reflects the struggles, successes and failures of the prehistoric and historic people who settled in these islands and lived their lives against the background of cultural, political and economic forces that have resulted in the Virgin Islands of the present day. These resources include, but are not limited to: prehistoric villages, prehistoric underwater sites, Colonial historic archaeological sites, Colonial historic properties and districts, shipwrecks and underwater historic sites. These historic resources contribute in diverse ways to the quality of our lives. The preservation of these and other reminders of the past are essential to the well being, pride and sense of continuity of our community and nation.
“Our mission is to preserve the reminders of our territory’s architectural and archaeological heritage by increasing awareness and appreciation of our unique history. We will accomplish our mission through encouragement, education, supporting, assisting in and sponsoring programs and projects which promote historic preservation in the Virgin Islands.”