Thank you for your interest in DHR’s Historic Registers program. By undertaking a nomination project, you are contributing to the public understanding of Virginia’s history, architecture, and archaeology.
Please know that there are no “typical” nomination projects, as each place has been shaped by its own unique circumstances.
Although listing in both the state and national registers is honorary, there are stringent standards regarding the historical research, photography, mapping, field inspection, and architectural analysis that make up a nomination packet. To meet these requirements, you will need to be patient, thorough, and detail-oriented. As the State Historic Preservation Office, DHR is responsible for assuring that nominations meet scholarly standards, are factually accurate, and conform to state and federal regulations. Nominations that do not meet these requirements will be returned to the property owner and/or author for revisions.
If you are new to the Historic Registers program, please refer to this step-by-step breakdown [pdf] of the register process.
Next, contact the DHR Regional Preservation Office that serves the area where your property or historic district is located. A regional staff member will be your first point of contact as you begin work on documenting your property or district.
DHR manages the registers program as a two-step process consisting of evaluation for eligibility and then nomination for listing on both registers.
Step One: The Preliminary Information Form (PIF):
The first step toward potentially listing a property or historic district on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places begins with completing a Preliminary Information Form.
DHR register program staff created this 7+ minute video about the importance of the PIF and what DHR staff look for when evaluating a property using the PIF. The good news is that the 3-page form (below) is relatively simple to complete. If you want some tips or just familiarize yourself with the form before beginning, this video is a great place to start.
DHR’s Preliminary Information Form (PIF) provides baseline information for evaluating a property’s eligibility for the historic registers and is intended to allow a property owner to move forward on a preliminary evaluation without a lot of up front costs or investment of time:
A completed PIF is evaluated first by DHR’s internal evaluation committee, which is made up of staff members with expertise in history, architectural history, and archaeology.
DHR register program staff created a video about the importance of the PIF and what DHR staff look for when evaluating a property using the PIF. If you want some tips or just familiarize yourself with the form before beginning, the video is a great place to start:
Step Two: Preparing a Formal Nomination
If the SRB approves a PIF during one of its quarterly meetings, then you may proceed with preparing a formal nomination for the state and national registers. As you prepare the nomination, DHR’s regional staff will continue to serve as your first point of contact throughout the process.
Some points to consider regarding the nomination process:
Both the VLR and National Register were established in 1966. For more than 50 years, DHR has continually maintained high standards for the evaluation and nomination process. Listing is thus selective and honorific.
DHR staff will be glad to answer questions regarding the Register program and the PIF and nomination process and procedures.
Updated April 6, 2023