Heather A. Huyck's long career as a public historian bridges academically based history and place-based history, especially as found in the National Park Service system (she has visited 324 of the 419 national park sites). Trained in history and anthropology to focus on cultural resources, she worked on 81 enacted laws as a historian with the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands from 1985 to 1994 and as a Park Ranger/Historian for the National Park Service for over twenty years. She taught American Studies, American History, and Africana Studies at the College of William and Mary from 2002 to 2013. While President of the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites (NCWHS), Huyck focused on bringing historians from all backgrounds together at OAH, AHA, AASLH, NCPH and The Berkshire Conference focusing on the research, preservation and interpretation of women's history. She is Co-Chair of the NCWHS Research & Interpretation Committee. Her ITALICS Doing Women's History in Public: A Handbook for Museums and Historic SitesITALICS provides research and preservation methodology for written, oral, visual and tangible resources which cumulate in the interpretation of the whole story of American women's history with the public. The former director of the Jamestown 400th Project, she received the American Historical Association's Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions in public history; edited Women's History: Sites and Resources (2008); and coedited, with Peg Strobel, of Revealing Women's History: Best Practices for Historic Sites (2011). In addition to working on various NCWHS projects, including webinars, a Toolkit, and numerous presentations. She was the project director for the Maggie Walker Community as they processed over 15,000 documents from the indefatigible Mrs. Maggie Lena Walker, an African American community organizer and entrepreneur (1864–1934) best known for founding a bank (1903), a newspaper, and an emporium, and for running an insurance company whose resistance to American apartheid should be much better known. Heather Huyck loves to canoe, camp and travel and proudly wore the NPS uniform doing French translations, researching Clara Barton, against unscrupulous contractors, and protecting Alan Alda from his overly enthusiastic fans.
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.