Cambridge Historical Commission

Mission & Services

The Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) is the city's historic preservation agency. Established in 1963, the CHC seeks to preserve the integrity and diversity of Cambridge's built environment and to disseminate information about its history. The CHC protects designated properties throughout the city; preserves the integrity of Cambridge's many significant buildings through the administration of CPA-funded preservation grants; and honors local projects with Preservation Awards. The CHC advises private and commercial owners, institutions, and public agencies on historic preservation issues ,and participates in reviews of state and federal projects that impact historic resources. 

Archives & Research

Explore our archival collections

The CHC maintains a public archive on the city's history. The collection focuses on the city's architectural and social history and contains information on all 13,000+ Cambridge buildings; it also includes thousands of historic photographs and maps as well as information on many individuals and organizations. Research aids are available online for many collections and photos are shared on the CHC's Flickr page. The CHC provides learning opportunities to residents of all ages through its publications, history talks, walking tours, historic site markers, and the website. A new online catalog of books and pamphlets in our library is available here.

10-29-21 -- Members Sought for Current Vacancies on Mid Cambridge, Avon Hill, and Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions

Neighborhood Conservation Districts were established by City ordinance in 1983. Conservation district designation recognizes a distinctive physical environment that reflects the architectural, cultural, political, economic, or social history of the city. NCDs foster wider public knowledge and appreciation of such neighborhoods. Designation encourages the conservation and maintenance of these areas so that the city may be a more attractive and desirable place in which to live and work. The deadline for submitting applications is November 30, 2021. Learn more.