Making Connections, Bridging Gaps: Linking the Practice of History in the National Park Service to New Partners and New Scholarship

This session will take place at the 2020 OAH Annual Meeting | Conference on American History in Washington, D.C. Read the full abstract and speaker information here.

This roundtable offers an opportunity to learn about the evolving practice of history and the humanities in the National Park Service. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the breadth of historical work currently underway within the agency, with a particular emphasis on how scholars working outside the NPS in a variety of settings can engage with staff at the park, region, and headquarters level. The context of NPS cultural resources programs will be discussed, with the 2011 OAH report Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service as the basis for dialogue.

Presenters will share perspectives on a variety of issues facing the NPS, including: the process of park designation; congressional advocacy; the state of research in the agency; the role of contractors in completing historical reports for the agency; the transmission of contemporary research to agency staff in a variety of positions; and the development of anti-racism and implicit bias training for interpreters, historians, and other agency staff.

The new Mellon Humanities Fellows program will be a focus of the roundtable. The initiative is administered by the National Park Foundation. Its purpose is to advance the NPS education mission through the development of scholarship and programming in the public humanities. Three postdoctoral scholars joined the NPS in September 2018 for a two-year term. Their work is concentrated in three thematic areas: the Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, Gender and Sexuality Equality, and the History of Labor and Productivity.

Posted: March 3, 2020
Tagged: Conference, Previews