National Parks and Historic Sites: American History

Once we thought there were national parks without women's history. Now we know better and understand their promise (and challenges) in preserving and interpreting American History.

Lecture Description

The public often thinks of national parks as Yellowstone and Yosemite, but 60% of NPS areas are predominantly cultural, historical and/or archeological. While many are battlefields and famous men’s homes, the increasingly-diverse national park system reflects much social and economic history. This romp through our history and parks shares our History both obvious and subtle that is preserved and interpreted, from exquisite Navajo rugs to laundry “agitators,” adobe ruins to a “cent shop” to schools, mills and mansions. This introduction to American parks emphasizes our shared heritage. Our national parks have unexpected opportunities to investigate and appreciate women’s history. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill shows her blurred public and private life; Tumacácori mission shows indigenous women’s essential roles while Gettysburg Battlefield illustrates the war’s effects on free black and other small farming women’s lives. Every park unit—even Alcatraz!—has women’s history. This illustrated lecture, based on the 324 NPS units Dr. Huyck has visited, shows the power and promise of encountering our nation’s heritage, focusing on American women.


Public History and Memory Women

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