The Historic District and Historical Commission were created to preserve and protect the distinctive characteristics and architecture of buildings and places that are significant in the history of Carlisle; to maintain and improve the settings for such buildings and places; and to encourage designs compatible with the character of the Historic District. The main role of the Carlisle Historical Commission (CHC) is to act as the Historic District Commission for the Carlisle Historic District, which primarily includes the town center, and to act as the Historical Commission for the town as a whole.
In its role as the Historic District Commission, the CHC receives, hears, and rules on applications for alterations to the exterior of structures within the Historic District, and alterations to hardscaping (paving, stone work, etc.) on a property. The membership of the Historical Commission is prescribed by Article 9 of the Carlisle General Bylaws, and consists of 5 members and up to 3 alternate members to be appointed by the Selectmen. The membership must include at least one architect and a nominee from the Carlisle Planning Board.