While the expressive arts are one of the main focus areas for the LAI, we see strong relationships with historic preservation as another important element of cultural identity. Historic homes and sites serve as an important element in the cultural and educational life of a community. They provide a sense of a community’s approach to heritage sites and provide a context for addressing questions, including: Are these historic sites of high value to a community? Is there ongoing investment in preservation? What is the correlation between the age of the community and the number of historic properties on the National Register? Who are the community actors who can help identify them?

This indicator measures the number of historic places per 100,000 people on the National Register of Historic Places, which is “the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” according to the Register’s web pages on the National Park Service site. The Register is in constant development, as new sites around the country are identified and evaluated, and then listed. In early 2011, there were about 86,000 sites in total.

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 3,069. Average county indicator value = 78.41. Median county indicator value = 43.03.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

International cultural tourism proves recession-proof. Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more.  The U.S. Dept of Commerce reports that the percentage of int’l travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17% to 24%), while those including concerts and theater performances have increased five of the past seven years (13% to 17% since 2003).