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Architectural Historian

What They Do

Insider Info

Architectural historians work towards preserving heritage buildings. A heritage building is an older building that adds value to a city or town because of its history or because of its unique architectural qualities.

The work of an architectural historian can involve studying historic architecture, doing research, attending meetings and consulting with the public. They may also be involved in the actual restoration process, deciding what materials can be saved and the best way to go about preserving or reconstructing a building.

Architectural historians can work in many different settings. "Many teach at universities, some work in cultural preservation organizations, in museums of all sorts and work in public planning departments," says Jeffery Howe. He is a professor of architectural history in Boston.

Many architectural historians work as university professors, for government heritage agencies and for private arts and heritage organizations. Some also run their own businesses or work as independent contractors.

Most historians work regular office hours. However, travel may be necessary. Architectural historians may meet with neighborhood groups, community advisory committees and politicians.

The physical requirements for this job are fairly limited. The work would be suitable for people with special needs. "This is an academic position, so I don't see any impediments -- depending on the disability," says Andrew James. He is the membership services coordinator for the Society of Architectural Historians.

At a Glance

Preserve our built history

  • You'll study historic architecture, do research, attend meetings and consult with the public
  • You can work in universities, government agencies or heritage organizations
  • You'll likely need a master's degree in architectural history or historic preservation


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