Historians Needed - The Clara Barton National Historic Site

Historians needed! The NPS is currently in a planning process that would change the fundamental use of the Clara Barton National Historic Site—one of fewer than a dozen sites in the entire National Park System that focuses on the history of American women—from its Congressionally designated (1974) purpose of preserving and interpreting Miss Barton and the American Red Cross. Their proposed “rehabilitation” would shift most of the 10,000 square foot space to the adjacent Glen Echo park, an arts and crafts park and former amusement park. Miss Barton while most famous for her Civil War work, founded the American Red Cross and expanded its mission to aid in disasters, enlisted the US to join the Geneva Convention, and developed First Aid. She was part of the cohort of women involved in the Progressive Era who worked to organize labor, conservation, social welfare, women’s suffrage, etc. Think Jane Addams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, etc.

We support the restoration of this 10,000 square foot building now in poor condition and want to work with the NPS to identify an appropriate partner who will enhance the history of Miss Barton and the Progressive Era history. We need to help the NPS find an excellent partner.

We also need more people to join in a tour of the site with the park superintendent tentatively on November 16 AND we need more people who can join in the consultation process with the NPS for the Historic Preservation Act—by zoom—can join by writing Charles_Cuvelier@nps.gov and stating that you want to be a Consulting Party in the NHPA Section 106 process and briefly state your concerns and qualifications.

As historians, we need to be active in preserving and interpreting these park sites. Because the NPS finally has money to work on many much-needed projects the Clara Barton NHS project shows how much our involvement as historians is needed. This is precedent-setting. And it has implications for our entire profession.

Questions: Please email Pam Goddard at National Parks Conservation Association, pgoddard@npca.org or Chris Morris at National Trust for Historic Preservation, CMorris@savingplaces.org, or Lucy Beard at National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites at luciennebeard@gmail.com.

Posted: November 9, 2022
Tagged: Around the Profession, NPS Collaboration, Women's History, Public History, Preservation/Museums