A growing consensus holds that much of our New Hampshire economy is based on our history, and that preservation of New Hampshire's character and quality of life is the key to steady, sustainable development a conclusion based not on nostalgia, but on demographics and economics, both local and global.
The Division of Historical Resources' stakeholders see the DHR as the protector of heritage, beauty, values and resources; a source for information, education, guidance, and standards for heritage protection. They want the DHR to be a "visioning" agency, and a catalyst for change that is based on positive aspects of New Hampshire character and heritage. They call for the DHR to articulate a commitment to stewardship and social responsibility, to convey cultural heritage across the generations from past to future. And they assign to the DHR the accountability to speak for historic preservation as a public responsibility and a public trust, an attitude that connects people with place and identity, and a spiritual value that should infuse the way in which we live our daily lives.
Our constituents consistently plead for support of historic preservation education and advocacy; funding and technical assistance; partnering and networking; and reliable and useful information about historic properties, as expressed in the DHR goals:
At the end of the 19th century, New Hampshire was also struggling with the threat of economic and environmental loss on a vast scale. The response, which began with individual insights and then evolved into a widely-held and powerful vision, was based on efforts to preserve and to promote the state's environment and heritage in thoughtful and innovative ways. The New Hampshire conservation and preservation movement of the early 20th century became so successful that the attitudes and institutions which it generated have continued to exert their beneficial effects up to the present time. Much of the quality of our built and natural environment in New Hampshire is not the result of natural processes, but of conscious and thoughtful, informed choices by people who were motivated with concerns that transcended their personal needs or aspirations.
- Change the image of historic preservation, away from "a luxury for the elite" to "a way to address core concerns relating to safety, decent housing, jobs, education, community life"
- Educate the public to understand the role of preservation in community identity, uniqueness, prosperity, and well-being; instill pride; connect people with place
- Celebrate the continuity and diversity of New Hampshire's heritage and all those who have contributed to it
- Validate the feelings of local citizens on the importance of historic properties in their communities and provide the tools to preserve and protect those resources
- Incorporate historic preservation into local, regional, and state planning processes
- Secure funding for preservation of significant archaeological and historical properties (both public and private)
- Integrate the Department of Cultural Resources into a single facility, to greatly enhance its ability to access historical knowledge and provide reliable and useful information to the public.
National studies demonstrate that New Hampshire ranks among the top six states in both "green" and "gold" economic indicators for protection of the environment and for overall economic performance. New Hampshire has the means, the capacity, and the ability to plan and achieve a sustainable economy based on technological creativity and on its natural and cultural assets, but needs the compelling vision to inspire the effort. New Hampshire heritage and identity the stories that we have to tell should be at the core of that new vision.