Preserving and Sustaining Unique Historic Places for the Future

"It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future."
-- William J. Murtagh
Historic Preservation is about saving and sustaining historic places – preserving them for future use and protecting them for all to enjoy. It helps us to understand who we are and shapes relationships with our neighbors and other communities around the world. At American Express, we believe that respect for – and celebration of – these historic places is vital to ensuring that their history lives on and that the public understands the significance they have in sustaining communities today and for future generations.


We support organizations and projects that preserve or rediscover major historic sites and monuments in order to provide ongoing sustainable access and enjoyment for current and future audiences. The programs we support include historic landmarks and public spaces. We emphasize preserving sites that represent diverse cultures.



Please Note: Applications are accepted BY INVITATION ONLY under the Historic Preservation theme.


Supported projects embrace the preservation, restoration or sustainability of historic places and demonstrate their significance to the community through one or more of the following:

  • Restoring historic places to ensure ongoing public access and interaction with the sites.
  • Preserving historic places for future or innovative use.
  • Sustaining historic places by creating systems to manage increased visitor activities and environmental impacts.

Recent Grants

Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, Canada
One of the largest art museums in North America, designed by world-renowned Frank Gehry, our grant supports the Conservation Program which includes the preservation, conservation and presentation of Art Gallery of Ontario's collections and exhibitions. Through this program, artifacts will be protected from damaging changes and will be preserved in the best possible conditions. Conservators will provide ongoing examination, research, cleaning and repairs as well as activities to prevent future deterioration. In addition, specific programming and content will be provided to visitors to help them appreciate and understand the conservation process.


New York Hall of Science, New York, NY
Support for New York Hall of Science for the restoration of the iconic Great Hall, the original science pavilion from the 1964-65 World's Fair. Designed by Wallace Harrison, one of the great modern architects of his time, the Great Hall is a “Dalle De Verre” masterpiece that uses deep blue cobalt glass and undulating walls to give visitors the illusion of being in space. As the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, the restored Great Hall will be the centerpiece of this major celebration. It is expected that visitation to the museum will increase by 20% to 600,000 patrons after the restoration.


Rails to Trails, Washington, DC
Support for Rails to Trails whose mission is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. Our funding for provides the appropriate website enhancements to ensure more in depth historic and cultural content is available to the 2.5 million users of the site. The content captures the history of the railway, surrounding community and destination areas for tourists.


St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY
Support for the transformation of the Tobacco Warehouse into a world-class cultural facility for St. Ann's Warehouse in the Fulton Ferry Historic district. Our funding will ensure iconic structures are adapted and preserved and original brick walls are intact and visible both inside and out. Preserving this building serves the interests of the local community and its pride in this warehouse as a symbolic relic. This grant also supports the waterfront revitalization efforts and assures St. Ann's as a cultural destination for the City.


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida
American Express is an ongoing supporter of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the former estate of a Miami industrialist, now serving as a cultural and educational site in the south Florida area. The current grant supports the conservation treatment of two settees and six armchairs displayed in the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Reception Room. The suite is attributed to Pierre Nogaret (1718-1771), one of the most celebrated French provincial furniture makers. Treatment will include paint consolidation, impainting and reupholstery according to historic precedents.

Click here for more information about other initiatives within this theme.