On Tuesday of last week, October 30th, the National Park Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation held a reception to honor and recognize two new additions to the National Park Service team: Robert K. Sutton, chief historian; and Daniel Odess, assistant associate director, Park Cultural Resources.
NPS Director Mary A. Bomar addressed the crowd, introducing both Sutton and Odess, and then went on to express her vision of the future mission of the National Park Service. She explained that “the era of adding vast new natural areas has faded,” and so now “the future [for the NPS] will be the addition of sites that reflect our history and culture.” Some of the most recent sites maintained by the National Park Service include the Carter Woodson House, the African Burial Ground, and the location of the Sand Creek Massacre.
Bomar expressed the need to serve the public and teach “Americans about the common history that binds us together as people.” And to do this she turns to the historians: “the Organization of American Historians, individual scholars, or others who can help us tell these stories.”
The National Park Service’s mission is to preserve “the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” The NPS has been in existence for over 90 years, and preparations for its centennial in 2016 are already in the works.