Helping Historic Places Thrive

American Express has deep roots in the travel services industry, stretching all the way back to World War I. That’s why we feel so connected to historic sites around the world. We understand the cultural and economic value they bring to communities. We are committed to backing the continuing stewardship of these sites to ensure they can be experienced and enjoyed by you and generations to come.  









We support projects that help communities preserve or rediscover major historic landmarks and public spaces, providing sustainable, ongoing access to the public, now and in the future. Our emphasis is on sites that represent diverse cultures and engage the public in unique ways.

Since 1974, we have contributed over $70 million in support of historic preservation efforts around the world. Our funding has preserved more than 620 sites, from the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York to the English Tower in Argentina. 

Saving the world’s most treasured places

We are the founding sponsor of World Monuments Watch, which draws attention to cultural heritage sites around the world threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, commercial development, natural disasters and climate change. In its over 50 years of vital action, World Monuments Fund has orchestrated over 600 projects in 90 countries.

Restoring America's historic landmarks and communities

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring America's historic landmarks and communities. More than a decade ago, we joined forces with the National Trust to form Partners in Preservation. This initiative helps preserve historic sites in the United States both directly and by inspiring local citizens to get involved with the historic places at the heart of their communities. 

Since 2006 we have committed more than $20 million to the effort, supporting close to 200 historic sites in San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, the Twin Cities, New York and Washington, DC. Even more significant, we have engaged more than a million of you in the effort. Our latest effort was Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, a community-based campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preserving historic sites in America's Main Street districts.

Grant Criteria:

Applications for Historic Preservation grants are accepted by invitation only. The projects we support 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 engagement.
  • Preserving historic places for innovative or adaptive use.
  • Sustaining historic places by creating systems to manage increased visitor activities and environmental impacts.

Recent Grants

American Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London, U.K.
Support for the refurbishment of the V&A’s Raphael Court. -- a set of seven full-scale designs for tapestries made to decorate the Sistine Chapel . Painted by Raphael in 1515, the Raphael Cartoons are among the greatest treasures of the Renaissance and have been on loan to the V&A from the Royal Collection since 1865. The Raphael Court, where the Cartoons are displayed, has not been refurbished in more than 25 years and has fallen behind the world-class standards of more recently updated galleries at the Museum. To mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death in 2020, the V&A is embarking on a landmark project to refurbish the Raphael Court and enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the Raphael Cartoons for new and existing audiences.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts   Bethel, NY
Support for the development and public launch of a multi-media and augmented reality tour of the 1969 Woodstock Festival site, a National Register historic site, at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.  Using emerging technologies and archival materials, the tour will engage thousands of visitors in an immersive, interpretive experience. Specifically, the Center’s plan includes delivering a Woodstock-branded mobile application, featuring images, video and custom-built interactives. To create a fully immersive experience, three dimensional audio and content “hotspots” will trigger augmented reality featuring scenes and music from the Festival.

Global Heritage Fund  China (Multiple sites)
Support for conservation activities at three diverse heritage sites in China: Dali Village, Maijishan, and Pingyao. The grant will support the improvement of interpretation and visitor experiences, as well as capacity building and leadership nurturing for site managers and the communities living in and around the heritage sites.

Massey Hall    Toronto, Canada
Support for the restoration of 100+ stained glass windows as a part of the Massey Hall overall restoration. Work on this project began in the summer 2017 when the windows were removed, documented, tagged and stored off-site. Full-restoration began in July 2018 and involves cleaning, reproduction of missing sashes, the building of custom enclosures that have light, sound and thermal attenuation, and lead and metal replacement of each window, as needed. Once the restoration of Massey Hall is completed in 2020, the annual yearly attendance of the Hall for the next three years is projected to increase from 250,000 to 460,000 people.

National Museum of Anthropology (MNA), Mexico City, Mexico
Support for the restoration of seven works: easel paintings Voladores de Papantla, Pakal's Funerary Attire and Objects, and Tlatoani/Cuauhtemoc; mural Valle of Mexico and easel painting Tula Architecture; and complete restoration on Raull's A Child's Education during the Mexica period.  The Museum's collection of modern and contemporary art was developed during the construction of MNA's actual home. It consists of murals, easel paintings, visual reproductions, sculptures, reliefs and other media commissioned by the Museum's architects of various artists prominent at that time.

Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation Inc. New York, New York
Support for the design and construction of a new Statue of Liberty Museum built for the National Park Service on Liberty Island, and other projects and programs on Liberty Island including but not limited to: beautification, lighting, and educational programs. The Museum will offer universal access, giving visitors an educational experience and deeper understanding of Lady Liberty. American Express will be featured on the Liberty Star Mural, which visitors will see upon entering the museum. The mural will be accompanied by touchscreen tablets allowing visitors to watch a video connected to each star.

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