Executive Order 13287, Preserve America, calls on federal agencies to protect, enhance, and use historic properties owned by the government. Many of the directives set forth in the order have long been underway at GSA, such as establishing a historic building database, monitoring historic building conditions, making ceremonial spaces in historic buildings accessible to the public for special functions, and leasing underutilized historic buildings to preservation-minded non-federal entities.
GSA also supports the order's heritage tourism goals with online information on GSA historic buildings. A number of GSA historic buildings also contain museums, exhibits and retail activities open to the public on a daily basis:
National Building Museum
U.S. Pension Building
The U.S. Pension Building contains the grandest ceremonial space in the federal inventory. Designed by General Montgomery Meigs, the 1887 building is now home to the National Building Museum. Colossal Corinthian columns in the atrium measure 75 feet in height and are among the tallest in the world. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith)
Department of the Interior Indian Craft Shop
Udall Department of the Interior Building
The Department of the Interior Museum contains exhibits that explore the history of the agency and architecture of the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building. The Indian Craft Shop, which opened in the building in 1938, carries a diverse selection of crafts by American Indian artists. (Photo: Taylor Lednum)
White House Visitor Center
Patent Room in Hoover Federal Building
The White House Visitor Center is located in the Great Hall of the Herbert C. Hoover Federal Building. Originally the Patent Search Room, the Great Hall subsequently served as the Washington Tourist Information Center and temporary office space. In 1993, restoration of the ornate plaster ceiling and Indiana marble walls began. Today the space contains interactive exhibits, visitor information, and the White House Historical Association shop. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith)
General Post Office
The Hotel Monaco occupies one of Washington's most significant federal buildings. Robert Mills designed the 1839 building to serve as the General Post Office, and Thomas Ustick Walter designed the Civil War-era extension. The National Historic Landmark is now one of Washington's premier hotels. (Photo: Carol M. Highsmith)
Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum
Sign found in attic
In 1997, as GSA was preparing to dispose of this circa 1853 row building, a cache of personal possessions discovered in the attic revealed it to be the forgotten location of Clara Barton’s Civil War-era quarters and Missing Soldiers Office. GSA sold the property to a developer, but retained a preservation easement. Subsequently, GSA oversaw its restoration and entered into an agreement with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to operate a museum interpreting the life and work of Barton during her occupancy.