Cumulative List of Projects (1994-2023)

Historic Resource Studies document the history that occurred within the boundaries of a national park unit before it was part of the NPS. They provide the historical research that forms the basis of a park’s historical interpretation and its management of historic structures. Special Resource Studies document the history of particular resources for a variety of purposes.

Perhaps the OAH-NPS projects that are best known to the profession at large are our scholars’ roundtables, in which we assemble a team of scholars to visit a particular national park unit to consult on various planning efforts, such as creating interpretive plans or reconceptualizing the story it tells based on recent trends in scholarly understanding. The OAH has organized such events at the following sites.

The National Historic Landmarks Office, part of the National Park Service, monitors and advises on properties of national historic and architectural significance. Not all of these properties are part of national park units; many are privately owned or managed by other public entities and carry National Historic Landmark designation. The OAH has assisted on a number of applications for these designations, as well as collaborating on NHL theme studies, which advise the staff of this program on areas of U.S. history that are underrepresented in historic preservation efforts.

Administrative Histories document the history of particular park sites or programs, with an eye toward using historical background to inform current management decisions. The OAH has collaborated with the NPS to develop administrative histories for the following park units.

Interpretation is the umbrella term for all materials that convey content to visitors. These materials can include brochures, exhibits, films, informational trail signs, and ranger tours. In addition to our historic resource studies and scholars’ roundtable programs, which both have an influence on interpretation, the OAH has collaborated on some additional efforts in this area.

The OAH is well known as a provider of scholarly content and as the host of the largest conference on U.S. history, the OAH annual meeting held each spring. The organization has harnessed this background to provide a series of workshops and conferences on a variety of topics for NPS staff and for the public

In addition to National Historic Landmarks, the National Park Service also administers the National Register of Historic Places, which recognizes properties of local, state, or national historic and architectural significance. Numerous OAH-NPS projects have focused on assessing properties owned by the National Park Service to ensure that their historic preservation documentation is up to date.

The National Park Service is conscious of the value of oral history: its own internal history and the history of some of the recent events that are interpreted in national park units. The OAH has assisted in some of these efforts.

For a site to become a unit of the National Park Service, the agency must conduct a Special Resource Study (SRS), analyzing the site’s feasibility, integrity, and significance. One component of the SRS is the statement of significance, which analyzes the national importance of the place by situating it in historical context.