About the Commission Antoinette F. Downing (1904-2001) was appointed the first Chair of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission when it was founded in 1968. The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) is the state agency for historic preservation and heritage programs. The Commission identifies and protects historic and prehistoric sites, buildings, and districts by nominating significant properties to the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register; administering grants, loans, and tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings; reviewing federal and state projects that affect cultural resources; and regulating archaeological exploration on state land and under state territorial waters. The Commission also develops and carries out programs to document, support, and celebrate the ethnic and cultural heritage of Rhode Island's people. Two boards of preservation experts serve the Commission in a volunteer capacity: the Commissioners and the State Review Board. RIHPHC employs a professional staff that includes historians, architectural historians, archaeologists, and architects. The Commission is funded by state and federal appropriations.