Mission and History

Mission

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide for the benefit of all. SAH serves a network of local, national, and international institutions and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life.

History

As the world’s built environment rapidly changes, SAH provides leadership to ensure that knowledge and understanding about architecture, landscapes, and planning form the foundation for assessing new design solutions and conserving the world’s cultural heritage. The Society aims to equip the public to think critically about the central role that architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism play in the quality of everyday life.


Founded at Harvard University in 1940, SAH has a distinguished history of providing services for teaching and design professionals and institutions that educate the public about the history of the built environment. In addition, SAH has always welcomed individuals of every profession who simply enjoy learning about the history of architecture, landscapes, and urbanism.

Currently SAH has more than 2,500 individual members and nearly 800 institutional members in more than 56 countries. For much of its history, the Society’s services revolved around four core activities:
In addition to those core services, in recent years SAH has developed several innovative online archives designed to disseminate research about the built environment more widely. Those archives include: 
  • SAH Archipedia, a media rich online encyclopedia of American architecture
  • SAHARA, a shared online archive of images for teaching and research
  • JSAH Online (1941-present)
  • Multimedia edition of JSAH Online (2010-present), one of the first scholarly journals to illustrate articles with video, Google Earth maps, and computer-generated models
In addition to its print and digital communications, the Society also promotes experiential learning by organizing a wide variety of study tours, seminars and programs at its landmark headquarters Charnley-Persky House and around the world. 

Bylaws