The year 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Historic Preservation Act, which formally recognized historic preservation as an important policy in the United States. An unprecedented consortium of 100 heritage preservation groups came together under the banner “Preservation50.” They sought to leverage the anniversary to take steps to strengthen the preservation movement in the next 50 years.
Among their top priorities was developing new approaches to preparing emerging leaders of the preservation movement to achieve greater impact, recognizing that the heritage preservation movement must become more visible, entrepreneurial, and diverse to succeed. From this goal evolved ARCUS – a leadership academy offering an array of course in leadership theory and practice tailored to the specific challenges facing leaders in the field.
With the generous support of several underwriters, including leadership investments by American Express, ARCUS was first launched in the form of pilot fellowships and then in a permanent program in fall 2019. Overall, the program has admitted 102 emerging leaders since its first pilot in 2016. In its
current stage of development, ARCUS seeks to make available to any aspiring preservation movement leader, anywhere in the world, low-cost access to a full suite of online courses and networking activities.