The mission of the Historic Preservation Office is to identify, protect, preserve, and promote the cultural, historic, and prehistoric resources of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Historic Preservation Office informs, educates, and assists public agencies, private organizations, and citizens on the conservation and protection of the cultural resources of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands Historic Preservation Office (RMIHPO) is located within the Cultural Affairs Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The RMIHPO was created by the Historic Preservation Act of 1991 with the primary responsibility of protecting and preserving the tangible and intangible cultural resources of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). The RMIHPO operates on the advice and assistance of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, a seven-member board that includes government officials and members of the general public. The chairman of the council is the Minister of Internal Affairs, who is responsible, among other things, for promoting cultural affairs, and is confirmed by the Cabinet.
In addition to its administrative function, the RMIHPO also conducts preservation activities, including archaeological survey, inventory, and site assessment, oral history collection and ethnography, and maintaining the RMI National Register of Historic Places. In archaeological survey and inventory the RMIHPO is responsible for conducting nationwide surveys and inventories of historic and cultural properties. This involves the identification, evaluation, and recording of information about historic and cultural properties that are made accessible for development planning and educational purposes. In oral history collection and ethnography the RMIHPO documents oral histories, culture, and traditions of the RMI for both present and future generations. The RMI National Register of Historic Places is the official depository of all registered historic and cultural properties of the RMI. The Register is also responsible for ensuring the protection of registered properties by conducting close monitoring of the properties to limit disturbance or damage by development projects and/or natural causes.
The RMIHPO receives funding from both the RMI government and the US government. Since 1985, the RMIHPO has been the recipient of a Historic Preservation Fund Grant administered by the United States National Park Service, Department of the Interior. This grant is provided to the RMIHPO on an annual basis, and is earmarked for program areas including program administration, public education, site nomination and registration, site development, archaeological survey and inventory, and oral history and ethnography. Once every four years, the grantor conducts a program review to ensure that the aimed goals and objectives have been met satisfactory during previous years, and then provides recommendations for future improvement.
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