STATEWIDE INVENTORIES OF HERITAGE RESOURCES: MACRIS AND THE EXPERIENCE IN MASSACHUSETTS
Keywords: Cultural Heritage, Inventory, National Register of Historic Places, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), MACRIS, heritage databases, Massachusetts, interoperability
Abstract. The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) is the State Historic Preservation Office for Massachusetts. Established in 1963, MHC has been inventorying historic properties for over half a century. Since 1987, it has maintained a heritage database, the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, or MACRIS. Today MACRIS holds over 206,000 records from the 351 towns and cities across the Commonwealth. Since 2004, a selection of the more than 150 MACRIS fields has been available online at mhcmacris. net.
MACRIS is widely used by independent consultants preparing project review files, by MHC staff in its regulatory responsibilities, by local historical commissions monitoring threats to their communities, as well as by scholars, historical organizations, genealogists, property owners, reporters, and the general public interested in the history of the built environment.
In 2016 MACRIS began migration off of its three-decade old Pick multivalue database to SQL Server, and in 2017, the first redesign of its thirteen-year old web interface should start to improve usability. Longer-term improvements have the goal of standardizing terminology and ultimately bringing interoperability with other heritage databases closer to reality.