May is Preservation Month!

Yes, you read that right. It is six months away, but Preservation Month is a great time for Main Street organizations to promote themselves while promoting the economic development benefits of historic preservation. What are some ways to celebrate, maybe even profit from Preservation Month?

  1. Does your organization have any connections with local realtors? Ask if they would be willing to donate $100 to your Main Street organization for every home sold during the month of May. Having a vibrant downtown and a livable community makes their jobs easier by making homes sell faster – they have a vested interest in the success of Main Street! Celebrate each donation, and thank each participant on social media throughout the month. Great press + fundraiser + new community residents = Win, Win, Win!
  2. Have a preservation/architectural/historical scavenger hunt! Use an app like Traipse or create your own paper version that will send participants all over your downtown hunting for the architectural features and historic sites that make your community unique! Have branded swag for them as prizes, or gift cards from your local merchants. Again, use social media to celebrate your participants and to promote your organization, the activity and the merchants.
  3. Hold a “Behind-the-Scenes” tour. Every community has THAT building, that beautiful home, or that not-open-to-the-public space that the general public dreams of seeing, maybe would even PAY to see it! Bonus points (and higher ticket prices, which equal higher revenue) for making it a true event with cocktails and hors d’oeurves.
  4. Get social (media)! Utilize the National Trust’s “This Place Matters” toolkit to promote preservation locally. Main Street America’s “We are Main Street” campaign celebrates 40 years of the Main Street movement and is a great opportunity to bring that message home to your district. And, do not forget to create your own hashtag locally to tie into the national movements.
  5. Do not neglect community engagement! Does your main street/Main Street organization hold an annual open house, community engagement or “State of Main Street” event? Preservation Month is a great time to promote your organization, your district, historic preservation, shopping local and to engage with your stakeholders and community.
  6. Another way to engage your community while promoting Main Street and Preservation Month is to sponsor a preservation-themed photography competition! You can have multiple categories, prizes and maybe even create a calendar with the winning entries. The sky is the limit for creativity here!

While Main Streets and preservationists are always celebrating historic preservation, Preservation Month is a great way to highlight your community’s unique heritage and built environment, as well as your organization’s efforts to preserve and enhance the Main Street district!