Historic Building Permit

Building permit on a microfilm reader at Washingtoniana.

On February 22nd, the Humanities Council and the Washingtoniana Division of the DC Public Library will offer two workshops that will teach participants how to research the history of their homes or other historic properties in DC. Over the past four years, these popular workshops have introduced hundreds of DC residents to the library’s excellent collection of maps, photographs, historic building permits, and other materials that illustrate the history of DC’s cityscape and neighborhoods. The workshops are part of the DC Community Heritage Project*, and are funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Historic Preservation Office.

In 2013, we began offering four workshops, two in the Winter and two in the Fall, in an attempt to meet increasing demand. Physical space is limited at Washingtoniana, and our goal is to provide individual attendees a personalized experience; the programs usually are fully booked within a week of their announcement. The February workshops are no exception, and we are accepting additions to the waitlist only. There are usually some cancellations, so we recommend signing up just in case!

Though our workshops provide a guided and personalized experience, there is no fee or

Brian Teaches HPD

Local historian and tour guide, Brian Kraft demonstrates the Historic Permits Database he created.

registration required to visit the Washingtoniana collection on your own time (though it may save you some time if you call ahead with some background info on your research interests first). And though we bring in additional facilitators for our workshops, the special collections staff are always there to introduce you to the collections and help you get the most out of your visit. Our workshops are a great opportunity to meet others who are interested in preserving the history of their neighborhoods, or learning about their new communities, but a follow up trip to Washingtoniana can give you more leisure time to study your home’s past lives in more depth.

We hope to see you at one of our house history workshops, but it’s always a good time to get a better understanding of your neighborhood’s unique past!

* This program was supported through a Historic Preservation Fund Grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. Funds were used for the identification, protection, and/or rehabilitation of historic properties and cultural resources in the District of Columbia. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or disability in its federally assisted programs. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240.