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The specter of a rapidly changing environment, bringing with it more frequent extreme weather events, changing temperatures, rising sea levels, and impacts we cannot entirely anticipate, suggests that current approaches to historic preservation will need to be adapted in order to continue to protect our cultural heritage with the same level of care that we expect today. In attempting to anticipate the needs of a constantly changing future, preservationists need to plan for a range of eventualities, consider new strategies, and determine how these strategies can be tested. Interestingly, appropriate adaptive strategies may exist in past cultural responses to harsh and shifting environments, like our coastal areas and barrier islands. One such historic coastal community, which represents the unique type of heritage and sense of place that preservationists work to protect and is currently at risk due to sea level rise, is Portsmouth Village on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The particular responses and adaptations to a challenging and ever-changing environment, which were developed and adopted by residents of Portsmouth Village to address environmental forces, offer some clues for possible future responses to climate change. This paper examines historical approaches and potential future strategies for the preservation of cultural landscapes and other heritage resources threatened by climate change.