Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is the State Historic Preservation Office.
Our mission is to foster, encourage, and support the stewardship of Virginia's significant historic architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources.

Historic Virginia

Virginia Archaeology Month 2022

Every October, Virginia celebrates archaeology through special events and programs at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites. This year, DHR partnered with Jamestown Rediscovery to develop our Archaeology Month poster. The theme of the 2022 Archaeology Month poster is “Jamestown in the Land of Tsenacommacah” and it features a photograph of a small fraction of the Virginia Indian pottery recovered from pre-1610 contexts at Jamestown.




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called Virginia Archaeology Month 2022


The Department of Historic Resources has received a permit application for archaeological recovery of buried human remains located within the churchyard at Historic Christ Church in Weems, Virginia. Anyone with comments or concerns regarding the proposed recovery is invited to contact the Department and the Historic Christ Church Foundation. Comments must be received by close of business on October 19, 2022. Please see the formal public notice for more information [pdf]

DHR’s Strategic Plan 2022-2024

Download DHR’s Strategic Plan 2022-2024 [pdf]

Cornerstone Contributions: The Missing Masonic Connection

Washington as a Mason. , ca. 1868. Published by Currier Ives. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
Washington as a Mason circa 1868. Published by Currier Ives. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Much has already been written on the history of dismantling and opening the cornerstone box recovered from the pedestal section of this monument, however, of particular significance to some, were the Masonic artifacts contained therein.  From my initial conversations, with the very kind people of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, it became apparent that the terms “Masonic” and “Freemasonry” were recognized, but were not well understood.  

With this article, I hope to clarify these terms, as a cursory search of the internet will present one with a host of misinformation.  To know what Freemasonry truly is, will help my explanation, later in this commentary, of the artifacts discovered in the copper cornerstone box.
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called Cornerstone Contributions: The Missing Masonic Connection

The New Dominion: Surveying Virginia’s Midcentury Modern Architecture

This month, DHR celebrates Virginia’s rich and often overlooked history of mid-century modern architecture. Over the last several years, DHR staff collaborated with the Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects to carry out a statewide architectural survey of mid-century modern places. The survey focused on documenting buildings, parks, districts, and many other resources constructed between 1945 and 1991 and representative of popular architectural styles from that period. The resulting survey materials expand DHR’s inventory of mid-century modern buildings, build upon the Agency’s long-running New Dominion Virginia Initiative, and increase the Agency’s ability to support the stewardship of Virginia’s recent past. Later this year, DHR will issue a summary report providing more information about the “recent past” survey project. In the meantime, here are a few themes highlighting mid-century modern designs from across the state.

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called The New Dominion: Surveying Virginia’s Midcentury Modern Architecture


The Department of Historic Resources is pleased to announce the availability of grants for the care and maintenance of historical African American cemeteries and gravesites in Virginia. It is also our pleasure to announce that the General Assembly has amended Code of Virginia §10.1-2211.2 to extend the eligibility date. As of July 1, 2022, any grave, monument, or marker placed in an African American cemetery that is associated with a person buried prior to January 1, 1948 will now be eligible to receive funding. Grants are available to qualified charitable organizations established to care for historical African American cemeteries as well as to persons and local governments that own historical African American cemeteries.
To apply, please visit our Grants page  – please contact Joanna Wilson Green at or 804-482-6098 with any questions.

Preservation Academy Series

On March 9th, Preservation Virginia and DHR launched the “Virginia Preservation Academy,” a series of 4 virtual, educational webinars on the fundamentals of historic preservation.  The Academy featured live evening lectures from preservation professionals with direct interaction between participants and panelists and was designed toward a diverse audience of preservation professionals, volunteers, students, architectural review board members, stewards of historic places, local government staff, community leaders, owners of historic properties, and anyone else who was interested in learning more about historic preservation. …continue reading the story
called Preservation Academy Series

Learn about history across Virginia with DHR’s Places Explorer

A new web app from DHR Archives

A new web app from DHR Archives

Use your mobile device or computer to learn about places listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places, read the text of local historical highway markers, and get a feel for just how much archaeology and architecture surrounds us. …continue reading the story
called Learn about history across Virginia with DHR’s Places Explorer

New Tool: Report a Cemetery to DHR

Grave marker.
A gravestone at Mount Fair slave cemetery in Albemarle Co. (Photo courtesy of John Macfarlane)

Do you know about a cemetery that needs attention?

Make sure that DHR knows about it, too!

Report it to us with our new online map tool and form. Using your mobile device or computer, provide DHR with some basic information about the cemetery and its location. We will check our records and connect a DHR staff member with you for follow up.

And please note: Recording a cemetery using this form will begin the process of adding it to our databases at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, but it does not guarantee protection of the burial ground.

New: Virginia’s Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan, 2022–2027

CoverAs Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), DHR is mandated to periodically develop and publish a Statewide Comprehensive Preservation Plan (under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended). On November 10, 2021 DHR published Virginia’s Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan, 2022–2027. The plan is far-reaching and intended both to inspire and to represent the work of the diverse stakeholders who benefit and who shape the future of Virginia’s historic landscape. The plan’s goals, objectives, and outlined strategies target DHR’s next six-year planning cycle, 2022 through 2027.

“. . . this plan envisions a time when historic places are more fully valued and recognized as assets for education, tourism, environmental sustainability, and economic vitality. It is built on the premise that everyone’s history has value and that, because historic properties are a source of connection and pride, they play an important role in building stronger communities,” writes DHR Director Julie V. Langan in her message to introduce the plan.

Community Outreach Coordination

Sponsors of marker pose after unveiling
Sponsors of the “Mount Calvary Cemetery Complex” gather after its unveiling in Portsmouth in 2016.

Meaningfully engaging with African Americans and Virginia Indians

(See below for Special Announcements & Opportunities.)

DHR acknowledges that meaningful collaboration with African American and Virginia Indian communities towards the development and implementation of preservation agendas has been regrettably limited. Neglect and a lack of direct engagement has led to the loss of many historic properties of significance to these constituencies. Moreover, many such resources are not represented in the Virginia Cultural Resource Information System (VCRIS).

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called Community Outreach Coordination

African American Watermen Project

Flyer announcing project.
A postcard announcing the project.

The renowned seafood industry of the Chesapeake Bay would not have been possible without the contributions of generations of African Americans.

Following the Civil War, self-employment in oystering, crabbing, fishing, and boat building provided independence and self-sufficiency for Black watermen. Labor employment opportunities also supported the processing, packing, and shipping of seafood to all parts of the eastern United States.

…continue reading the story
called African American Watermen Project

What Is Meant by “Historic Resource Survey”

In preservation circles and at DHR, people often refer to a “historic resources survey.” In this brief video (5 min.), DHR’s Blake McDonald, manager of the Architectural Survey & Cost Share Grant Program, explains clearly what exactly such a survey is and entails—and why it does not affect property owners or their property (beyond documenting the property’s historic character).

Subscribe to DHR’s Newsletters

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DHR now has two newsletters: a DHR Quarterly Newsletter, and a newsletter for Register Program Updates. We invite you to subscribe to our newsletters.  Once you have signed, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Any questions or problems, please contact us (Choose “General Questions in the Contact Form.“). We look forward to hearing from you and keeping you up to date with DHR’s register programs and other preservation news and Virginia history.


Natural Disaster Recovery Advisory