When working with, or evaluating, federally registered historic structures it is important to understand the basic approaches that can be taken in regards to modifications.
- Rehabilitation: This treatment is when an owner wants to maintain the historic character of the building yet use it for a use that is compatible with the existing type of building. Under this set of guidelines a historic building can altered, repaired and added on to while still preserving the areas of the building that have historical value.
- Preservation: In preservation the historic building is maintained in its current form. The historic form, integrity and materials are preserved.
- Restoration: Sometimes it is important or desired to accurately depict the character of a certain time. Under this treatment a historic structure may have additions and alterations removed and missing features reconstructed so that the structure is as accurate and true to its time as possible.
- Reconstruction: Sometimes there are surviving photographs of a historic structure that depict important features that are no longer present. Reconstruction attempts to depict that non-existent feature through new construction. The intent is to replicate the buildings appearance during a specific time as accurately as possible.
Further information can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/standguide/overview/using_standguide.htm