This is the "Home" page of the "Historic Preservation Resources" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Historic Preservation Resources   Tags: architecture, built environment, history  

A guide to historic preservation resources available in the Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2012 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Home Print Page

Architecture Archives and Historic Preservation

The Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico is a primary resource for research about New Mexico's built environment. Useful collections include drawings and plans, and manuscript collections housed in the John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwestern Architecture.  Photographic imagery of sites across New Mexico are housed in the Center's Pictorial Collections.  For a comprehensive, searchable database of all the Center's archival collections access the Rocky Mountain On-Line Archive (RMOA). Secondary source materials are available in the Center's reference collections accessible through the LIBROS system. 

Types of Resources:

Drawings and plans collections-Drawings and plans are useful materials which document the design process including: what a building originally looked like; what an architect proposed that a building should look like, how spaces were used, stylistic details,  systems details, what changes/additions were made. 

Manuscript collections-Manuscript collections related to the subject of architecture may fall into a variety of categories including:  an architect's personal papers; a client's personal papers, the job or project files from an architecture office/firm, a company's or business records, the records of a preservation group.  

Pictorial collections-Photography is an important historic preservation resource.  Images may document the original appearence of a building/site; nieghborhood/community context, changes over the years, current state of a building/site.

Books/Secondary Source materials-Books written about the history of New Mexico and its built environment are useful secondary sources for your research. It is important to know the historiography (what others have written) about your topic for comparison and to avoid duplication of research.  Secondary source materials, and the bibliographies which accompany them, are useful guides to additional information. 


What is historic preservation?

Historic Preservation is a movement dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing communities. Historic preservation  efforts in the United States are initiated on the local, state, and national levels. Examples include:

Local level in New Mexico:

Local historic districts-Local historic districts are powerful tools in the preservation process. Districts designated by communities as historic, are overseen by a local government's historic district commission, which sets up design controls for properties within a district. Local historic districts are one of the few preservation designations which actually have the power to impose restrictions upon property owners.

In New Mexico, Santa Fe is famous for its effort to create a cohesive local architectural character, by implementing design restrictions. It was one of the first communities in the U.S. to do so, with a preservation ethic, that dates back to the 1920s.

Albuquerque, NM is another local community, with strong ties to the preservation movement.  Several designated local historic districts exist within the city, which preserve the character of its significant Spanish Pueblo Revival architecture. 

Local non-profit groups- Local grass roots organizations play a large role in preserving community character. An example of a long standing local preservation group in New Mexico is Cornerstones, devoted to the preservation and restoration of New Mexico historic Buildings.   

State level in New Mexico:

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)-The New Mexico SHPO receives federal funds for operation from the National Park Service in the Department of the Interior and is part of State Historic Preservation Offices nationwide., resulting from the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  The New Mexico SHPO helps citizens of New Mexico and New Mexico communities identify and protect their historic environment.

State Register of Historic Places-The State Register in New Mexico lists sites significant to New Mexico or to the locality in which they are located.  Their significance may be in the fields of history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture. Designation on the State Register is an honor and does not impose any restrictions upon the owner of a property. The State Register in New Mexico is managed by the New Mexico SHPO.

National level:

National Park Service/National Historic Landmarks Program-The National Park Service administers the National Historic Landmarks Program, which was established under the federal Historic Sites Act of 1935.  The National Historic Landmarks Program designates historic sites, deemed to be of exceptional value to the nation as a whole.

National Register of Historic Places- The National Register is a program of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.  In New Mexico the National register Program is administered by the New Mexico SHPO.  The National Register lists sites significant to the nation. A property on the National Register becomes eligible for federal tax incentives.  Listed properties are also given special consideration when the federal government is planning or giving aid to projects.  However, listing on the National Register does not stop a private citizen from altering, managing, or disposing if a property.  

National Trust for Historic Preservation-A private non-profit historic preservation organization, dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. The Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect America's historic places. Headquartered in Washington, DC, The Trust also operates six regional offices and 29 historic sites.   

Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)-The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) document significant achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the U.S. Developed in 1933 through cooperative agreements with the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, and the private sector, Habs/Haer have recorded America's built environment through measured drawings, photographs, and written histories for more than 35,000 historic structures/sites dating from the Pre-Columbian times to the present.


Curator, Architecture

Audra Bellmore
Contact Info
MSC05 Center for Southwest Research
University Libraries
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Send Email

Highlight: from CSWR collections:


Bainbridge Bunting was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 23, 1913. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 1948, he joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico Art Department, where he remained until his retirement in 1979. Bunting immersed himself in the local culture, and began an important study of adobe architecture. He authored numerous articles and three books on the architecture of New Mexico. Among many other projects, Bunting conducted studies on Zuni Pueblo and on the architecture of John Gaw Meem. He died on February 13, 1981.


Elevation drawings of 355 Palace Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Historic American Buildings Survey, no. NM58.

The Bainbridge Bunting Measured Drawings Collection contains measured drawings of historic New Mexico buildings.  These drawings were executed by Bunting and his students as the fieldwork component for Bunting's architectural history courses at the University of New Mexico, in conjunction with the Historic American Buildings Survey. In some cases, these drawings are all which remains of  important historic sites across the state of New Mexico.  This type of documentation is useful in understanding what comprised the historic built environment of New Mexico.  The drawings are also important reference tools for restoration and preservation projects.  


Loading  Loading...