The Center for Historic Preservation was founded in 2004 to provide professional training for students in the Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) program. Our central purpose is to help students gain valuable hands-on experiences with communities and preservation organizations while simultaneously assisting grassroots advocates throughout Indiana and the surrounding states.

The vision for the center started in 1997 when James Glass, the director of the master’s degree program in historic preservation within the Department of Architecture, and a group of graduate students began working with the Muncie Public Library. The collaborators developed a series of walking tour brochures, which highlighted the historic architecture of downtown Muncie and adjacent historic neighborhoods. In addition, the program and library worked with Burris Laboratory School, Ball State’s Teachers College, and Minnetrista to develop a heritage education curriculum about Muncie's architecture and historic resources.

These projects were well-received, but there were limits to the number of projects the graduate program could undertake—the initial impetus behind the creation of the center. Glass found a model for Ball State’s Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. Conducting a market study, establishing an advisory council of civic and preservation leaders in the state, drafting a business plan, and raising funds were all preliminary steps in making the center a reality.

A Clear Mission
Those involved agreed on a clear mission: to assist communities with revitalization through historic preservation services, and to provide educational and professional opportunities for graduate students in the historic preservation program.

The advisory board helped develop a strategy to raise enough funds to start operations and to engage in projects for a three-year demonstration period to establish a track record for larger-scale funding. Focus and purpose nurtured the project, and the Center for Historic Preservation opened on the Minnetrista campus in May 2004. The center’s location—the historic Mary Lincoln Cottage, one of the historic homes built by the Ball family—was provided as an in-kind contribution by Minnetrista. But the building offers more than just shelter. As a historic building, it is not only a valuable, visible facility, but it is an enriching and inspiring environment for our work.

We have grown into Indiana’s preeminent resource for communities as they identify and preserve the unique features of their Main Streets, neighborhoods, bridges, and other historic resources—features that become focal points for community pride and revitalization. Our goal for the near future is to expand our project reach to communities in surrounding states in an effort to help the region further realize its historical significance.

The most successful projects are those that involve a great deal of careful planning. The center offers communities a variety of planning tools and design assistance, ranging from preservation plans for individual buildings to more comprehensive downtown or neighborhood projects that help to plan for and spur community revitalization. 

Please review our proposal policy document for information regarding how we develop proposals.