Public History > National Park Service

The National Parks and the Value of History

Heritage tourism is big business. A recent report on the economic impact of the National Park Service (NPS) estimates that 279 million visits to the parks in 2011 generated $30 billion in economic activity and supported 252,000 jobs, both in the park service and in communities surrounding the parks.

The Oatmeal Builds a Museum: Over $1 Million in Crowdsourced Funds for a Tesla Site

Last week in public history funding news was a study in stark contrasts. The National Park Service (NPS) is facing yet another round of budget cuts and the predictable result will be layoffs, parks falling into further disrepair, innovation stifled, and historical interpretation receiving even less attention as funds flow to maintaining infrastructure. Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the NPS, remarked to the Washington Post that the steady erosion of public funding has spurred all sorts of entrepreneurial thinking, but at this point, there just aren’t many avenues that haven’t already been explored. Worse still, there does not appear to be any relief in sight.

National Park Service’s New Civil War Website

Last Wednesday, the National Park Service announced the launch of its new Civil War website, and the stories, timelines, featured places, and educational resources now available there. We noted the new site in last week’s “What We’re Reading” post, and today we take a closer look at all it offers. Article By: Elisabeth Grant

Teaching with Historic Places

The opening of this year’s 123rd annual meeting in New York City included a roundtable discussion on The Pleasures of Imagination. One of the great things about studying history is the room for imaginative creation—reading a text and painting a subsequent picture to match, for example. However, visiting historic sites takes this imaginative creation beyond the text, opening a window into the past (both physically and imaginatively). Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP), a web site that branches from the National Park Service Heritage Education Services Office, embraces the power of teaching history through historic sites and promotes the implementation of such sites into curricula. Article By: Jessica Pritchard

History Detectives and the National Parks

PBS’ show History Detectives asks, “Do you, a family member or a friend have an item around the house that has something to do with one of our nearly 400 national parks, monuments and historic sites that might be of historical significance?" Article By: Elisabeth Grant