Report Faults National Park Service for Not Supporting History Education

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Robert K. Sutton, Chief Historian, National Park Service
A group of university historians has faulted the National Park Service (NPS) for doing an inconsistent job of properly sharing the history of national treasures with visitors.
In the study Imperiled Promise, which was commissioned by NPS, four academics with The Organization of American Historians found some good as well as plenty of faults with the park service’s performance regarding history.
The historians wrote “much is going well,” but they also “found that the agency’s ability to manage its site…has been imperiled by the agency’s weak support for its history workforce, by agency structures that confine history in isolated silos, by longstanding funding deficiencies, by often narrow and static conceptions of history’s scope, and by timid interpretation.”
They criticized the NPS for its “misperception of history as a tightly bounded, single and unchanging “accurate” story, with one true significance, rather than an ongoing discovery process in which narratives change over time as generations develop new questions and concerns, and multiple perspectives are explored.”
The NPS has tended to underemphasize and underfund historical work in favor of other priorities, like natural resources and law enforcement. Fewer than 200 of the Park Service’s 22,000 employees are historians.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service (by Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Marla R. Miller, Gary B. Nash and David Thelen, Organization of American Historians) (pdf)

NPCA Report: America's National Parks Have Troubling Problems With Natural, Cultural, Historic Resources (by Kurt Rapanshek, National Parks Traveler) 


yarply 11 years ago
maybe they should not be referred to as national parks anymore seeing that, even though we oversee them, most, if not all are now world heritage sites given over to the un. ps maybe fix your code thingy.

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