For over 60 years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has published a magazine. Covering issues from preservation legislation to sustainability, this publication has been the predominant voice in the preservation movement. But what has it been saying, really? This study applies a communications approach to examine the messages the National Trust magazine has presented to its members and the public and studies the role this type of marketing tool has played in the movement for more than half a century.
This research identifies seven important eras in communications for the magazine. Trends in the kind of news being reported, the style and voice of articles, and thematic shifts in the magazine demonstrate the trajectory of the marketing and communications strategy in and between eras. In an era when print media faces extinction because of the overwhelming success of internet and social media, this study evaluates the usefulness of such a print publication in the future. Ultimately, this study is a step towards further research and discussion regarding marketing and communications strategy in the preservation movement.