Setting Up A Program
If you are interested in providing services to set up a Design or Historic Preservation Education Program, you do not have to "reinvent the wheel." There are many existing model programs you can sample, and there are many sources of information that can be tapped. To simplify your efforts, it's important that you set up a network of interested parties that can support one another. In this section of the website we offer information on Community/School Partnerships, Networking with Experts, and Existing HPE Programs.

If you are interested in providing services to set up a design or historic preservation education program in a school, you might start by contacting the curriculum director of your local school district. This individual usually understands the structure of the district's sequential curriculum and knows where your talents might be needed. You can also contact the principal of your local school to find the names of teachers who might be interested in using your services. Many states have Regional Offices of Education that offer in-service training (workshops) to teachers in their area. Calling the Regional Superintendent's office is a good way to get in touch with personnel who arrange for guest speakers or institute leaders. More teachers will participate in workshops you offer if you arrange for teachers to receive some form of credit for participation. Most school districts offer "Board Credit" to teachers as an incentive to continue their training, and teachers need to participate in staff development programs as a requirement of their continuing certification. Contact your school district's Curriculum Director to find out how to arrange credit for workshops.It's important to understand that most schools have very tight budgets, and you will probably have to volunteer your time unless you are willing to help write a grant for the school program. It's amazing how a small amount of seed money from a grant can blossom into a significant educational program. Teachers jump at the chance to offer exciting educational opportunities for their students. Some ideas for programs set up through grants are found in the Existing Programs section of this site.

If you are a teacher who is already expected to teach about the community, state, or U.S. History, you'll find that it's easy to integrate Historic Preservation Education with your existing curriculum. You will find that most communities have an organization of people dedicated to studying and preserving local history. You can identify preservationists by calling your city government office or local historical museum to ask for names of key experts. Check out the Networking with Experts section of this site for a list of excellent suggestions for linking with local, state, and national organizations that can help you gather information and seek funds for your program.

Another excellent source of help can be found by calling local architects or the American Institute of Architects. Many architects love to work with students, and some firms allow their associates release time to work in schools. Students love to take field trips to draw architectural features of historic building, and architects can help you set up walking tours of important sites. They can also show you ways to help students document their studies in the form of drawings, models and photography. The great thing about asking architects to work with schools is that they can suggest activities that allow students to show their knowledge in an artistic manner. Architeachers tell us that many of their students who are labeled "learning disabled" begin to excel when allowed to use their spatial intelligence.

Setting up a historic preservation education program can be daunting for teachers if they have to do their own research and hunt for resources. Luckily, much of this legwork has already been done by agencies outside the school. Let’s outline some ways to network with experts in the community.

Local Preservation Groups:
First of all, many communities have local preservation organizations that work hard to protect their architectural heritage. Some cities or counties have historic preservation commissions (a citizen's council appointed by the local government); some have local or regional not-for-profit groups dedicated to local preservation. Other towns have Main Street organizations, or local historical societies. Teachers interested in setting up a historic preservation education project can get help by calling the office of the city or village government to find the names of local agencies (one good place to start is asking the city clerk or city planning department).

State Historic Preservation Offices:
All states have a historic preservation office that is listed on the web. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency office of Preservation Services is an excellent resource for information. You can find IHPA at

Certified Local Governments:
Some local governments Historic Preservation Programs have been recognized as having special merit by being designated as a Certified Local Government (CLG). The CLG's identify local landmarks and enact and enforce preservation ordinances that help identify and preserve cultural landmarks. The Certified Local Government program provides technical assistance, awards, and grants and coordinates a network of participating communities. In Illinois, you can find out if your community is a CLG on the IHPA website at:, or find out more information about the CLG program at either:, or: Certified Local Governments are eligible for National Park Service grants that are administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and which can be used for Preservation education initiatives (talk to your local CLG).

Main Street Communities:
Many communities in Illinois are designated as Main Street Communities. Main Street programs help local citizens enhance the design and appearance of their downtown areas through historic preservation. Each town has a design committee and a Main Street manager who are good resources and some even have "Junior Main Street Programs" which are geared towards young people. The Main Street Program promotes the revitalization of downtown businesses. IHPA's Main Street Design website is The National Main Street website is

National Park Service:
On the national level, the Heritage Preservation Services division of the National Park Service is the federal agency responsible for preservation and is a wonderful source of good information about historic buildings, archeology and preservation: The National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places program can be found at: The National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Training and Technology also has training and education grants for preservation-related programs (check them out at Also remember that you can find links to important historic sites in your own region by visiting the National Register of Historic Places. In Illinois go to For other states go to

National, regional and local Not-for-profit Preservation Organizations:
Many local communities have strong local preservation advocacy groups that can be excellent sources of expertise and enthusiastic support. Often local historical societies have good resources about the history of your community. The Illinois Association of Museums lists many of those groups on their website, located at: Many states also have not-for profit organizations dedicated to preservation. In Illinois the statewide group is the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois ( The National Trust for Historic Preservation also has a regional Chicago, Illinois, office whose site is: Their national office is More preservation links can be found at IHPA Preservation Services website:

A grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to the University of Illinois funded the original Architeacher program. Michele Olsen and Harry S. Broudy directed the project in which twenty-five teachers from six school districts in Champaign County were selected to participate in a year-long teacher training course. The prerequisites for participation were that the teachers' district curriculum required them to teach about the history of Illinois, and that there be a team of at least two teachers from an individual school.The original Architeachers attended five, full-day seminars throughout the school year. Some of the sessions required teachers to be released from school, so the project paid for their substitute teachers. When teachers attended workshops on Saturdays, the project paid them a stipend. Teachers who wished to receive graduate credit from the University of Illinois paid their own tuition, and they conducted additional research in addition to workshop attendance.

The Architeacher curriculum exposed the teachers to training in art and aesthetics, architectural history, community planning and curriculum development. During the sessions they were instructed by architect, Gary Olsen and curriculum director, Michele Olsen. Outside experts also presented lectures. Teachers were involved in design and planning projects, and they traveled to Chicago and Oak Park to visit landmark buildings. During the period between sessions, Architeachers received classroom visits from architects and project staff members, and they developed curriculum that suited the learning needs of their students.

FUNDING SOURCE: Illinois State Board of Education Title IV-C, University of Illinois
CONTACT: Michele Olsen:

Jerry Brookhart, the Regional Superintendent of schools in Peoria, Illinois authorized his staff development associate, Jan Leonard to contract Architeacher to provide inservice training to county teachers. Over the next five years, Architeacher conducted three week-long summer seminars for teachers that introduced them to historic preservation education. The Peoria Area Arts and Sciences Council funded the purchase of curriculum guides and resources for the teachers. Each participant in the program received board credit for their participation, and graduate credit was offered to teachers that wished to do additional research.

During the training sessions, members of the Peoria Chapter of the American Institute of Architects volunteered to lecture to teachers and students, and they provided an excellent overview of the upcoming redevelopment of Peoria's riverfront. Teachers in turn photographed local buildings of historic importance and used funds from a local foundation to turn their slides and lesson plans into a curriculum shared by all Peoria schools. The program in Peoria continues to grow as a project of the Two Rivers Professional Development Center serving the Peoria city schools and the county school districts in the region. A Technology component enhances the new program as teachers learn to gather sources from the web and design interactive curriculum for their students. Teachers receive credit for their participation from Aurora College and their local school district.

FUNDING SOURCE: Illinois State Board of Education, Peoria Regional Office of Education, Area Three Learning Technology Center
CONTACT: Jan Leonard: jleonard@ROE

Two 4/5 grade teachers at Yankee Ridge Elementary School in Urbana, Illinois wanted to integrate the development of building technology with their U.S. History curriculum. Architeacher's Director, Michele Olsen offered to share her collection of slides that illustrated U.S. architectural history as promising resources for this program. Since Michele supervised student teachers at Yankee Ridge, she helped the teachers apply to Eastern Illinois University for a PT3 technology partnership grant. The funded proposal allowed the teachers to purchase a slide scanner to copy Michele's slides to a digital format and a laptop computer for the teachers to use in making powerpoint presentations of the images for their students.

As the school year progressed and the historic preservation education program was underway, teacher, Nancy Blanford asked if Michele Olsen knew of funds to take the 4/5 students on a field trip to see Chicago's architecture. Eastern Illinois University agreed to provide transportation funds from the PT3 technology program since student teachers would be working with the students as they documented historic architecture with digital still and video cameras. Then, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency provided funds from the National Park Services to pay student fees to visit the Sears Tower Skydeck..Knowing that students needed to be prepared before taking such a trip, Michele contacted the Preservation And Conservation Association of Champaign County (PACA) for funds to conduct a week long educational seminar for the 50 students who would be participating in the program. PACA's grant also allowed teachers to purchase supplies and organize a computer movie presentation of the student's digital documentation of the field trip.

FUNDING SOURCE: Eastern Illinois University PT3 grants, Preservation and Conservation Association of Champaign County, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, National Park Service.
CONTACT: Michele Olsen:

In 2001, Architeacher traveled to Sarasota, Florida to participate in an award winning effort to raise public awareness about the Sarasota School of Architecture. When local arts leader, Nancy Roucher heard that the Sarasota Fine Arts Society was planning a large symposium to educate the public about this important movement in the history of architectural design, she lobbied for the chance to offer teachers and students a chance to share in this effort. With the help of Martie Lieberman of the Sarasota Fine Arts Society, Nancy gathered funds to offer a summer Architeacher institute for Sarasota teachers. Michele Olsen used professional development funds from Eastern Illinois University to travel to Florida to study the Sarasota School of Architecture, then returned to teach the summer institute. The program continued as Nancy Roucher arranged for the new Florida Architeachers to attend additional workshops presented by architects who shared their expertise on the Sarasota School of Architecture. Nancy also collaborated with the Sarasota Schools to offer participating teachers bus transportation and curriculum resources to take their students on a tour of Sarasota School architecture. Architeacher's Director, Michele Olsen wrote lesson plans and designed slide illustrated curriculum guides for the project, and Nancy Roucher designed the tour and made the necessary arrangements for large numbers of school children to visit these architectural landmark buildings.

FUNDING SOURCE: Eastern Illinois University, Sarasota Fine Arts Society
CONTACT: Nancy Roucher: