Preserving environmental reminders of the past can have important implications for meeting human needs and enhancing human functioning. Not only the physical environment, but the informational environment as well has suffered as informational technologies have overwhelmed the cultural capacity for selection, filtering and focus. Amidst this informational glut, information about past patterns has suffered neglect. Three areas of human concern can be identified in which a coherent, organized perspective on the past could make a significant contribution: Identity and self-reliance, Self-maintenance, and Coping and problem solving. These mutually-supportive facets of human functioning are offered as a conceptual basis for analyzing the potential contribution of historical information and historical environments.