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Historic Preservation at NIST

Since its establishment in 1901 as the National Bureau of Standards, (later renamed in 1988) NIST has been committed to setting standards worldwide. Proud steward of scores of historically important scientific laboratories, research facilities, architecturally significant structures and landscapes, historic preservation has become an integral component of the OFPM planning, design, operations and maintenance across its four campus locations nationwide. NIST’s robust historic preservation program was the recipient of the first ever Smart Growth Excellence Award from Preservation Maryland in 2019.

NIST’s Federal Preservation Officer (FPO) within OFPM’s Capital Asset Management and Facilities Planning Group, is responsible for review and approval of proposed changes to dozens of building exteriors, interiors, structures and grounds that have been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

The National Register of Historic Places (U.S. National Park Service) recognizes districts, buildings, structures, objects, and landscapes for their significance in American history, archeology, architecture, engineering, or culture, and identifies them as worthy of preservation. The National Register is a program of the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, and is administered in each state by that state’s respective Historic Preservation Officer, or SHPO.

In Gaithersburg the entire 579-acre campus with 62 structures and several prominent landscape features has been listed on the National Register as an historic district. In Boulder, all of Building 1 (including much of the original interior) has been determined eligible. Broadcast and transmission facilities at the Ft. Collins, CO and Kehaka, HI campuses have been determined eligible, as well.  For a complete list of NIST owned properties determined eligible for NRHP listing, as well as more detailed information concerning each campus’ historic properties, please select one of the individual campus tabs.

Gaithersburg campus
NIST Gaithersburg
Boulder Laboratories
Boulder, CO


Image of Fort Collins campus
Fort Collins, CO
Kehaka, Kauai campus
Kehaka, Kauai

Federal Law requires that all work affecting NRHP eligible properties meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Structures (SOI Stds).  Additionally, Section 106 of the law requires advance consultation, review and approval, typically by the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), for proposed changes to NRHP listed and eligible properties.  The FPO is the sole point of contact for all communications between NIST and the respective SHPO. Some projects on the Gaithersburg and Boulder Campuses shall also require review by OFPM’s Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB).

Finally, at NIST, the Office of Health Safety and Environment (OSHE) has primary responsibility for capital project environmental review to assure compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), a related but separate obligation. OFPM and OSHE have developed coordinated environmental and historical review procedures in order to facilitate concurrent review and compliance with both NEPA and the NHPA as required by law for NIST owned and NIST funded development projects.

Review and approval of many common maintenance and operations activities on the Gaithersburg campus have been streamlined through a Programmatic Agreement negotiated between NIST and the Maryland SHPO. Consult NIST"s Federal Preservation Officer, Phillip W. Neuberg for details, interpretation, and application of this essential stewardship tool.

Created July 15, 2020, Updated October 18, 2023