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? Did you ever wonder about its background or the story it could tell?”
In advance of Ken Burns’s latest documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” History Detectives is seeking to investigate “national park-related items with historical significance.” Selected items will be featured on the show in the summer of 2009.
As the next presidential election draws ever nearer, we turn to the history of politics in America. Visit an exhibit on Democrats in Denver in 1908, read summaries of past Democratic and Republican conventions, and check out a map on voting and population data over time. Then we switch to National Parks and preservation. Hear about a battlefield threatened by Wal-Mart, learn about National Parks in the classroom, and read up on repair plans for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
This edition of What We’re Reading should have a code name and secret password. We start off with news of the recent release of Office of Strategic Services files and the revelation of identities of some agents. Then, we turn to NPR, with a story on Fort Hunt Park in Virginia’s secret role in WWII. We turn next to history blogs to hear about bad experiences with the Academic Job Wiki and good experiences with bad history films. Want to partner with the Government Printing Office?
This week we’ve read about interactive digital history, looked at the job market from the public historian’s point of view, and learned how to get a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In this post we also link to news of the first steps in the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, to two recent reports (one on copyright, the other on preserving battlefields), and the problem with New York’s “birthdate.” We’d also like to thank Ralph Luker at Cliopatria for including AHA Today in his list of 80 history blogs to note.
Over ten years ago Congress called on the National Park Service to investigate Revolutionary War sites and War of 1812 sites, evaluate their significance, and identify any threats to them. The resulting report, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study, is now available online (download the full 144 page PDF here).
Within this report the National Park Service looks at 243 battlefields and 434 historic properties. Of those, 170 are considered threatened (often by development nearby).
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.
In this edition of “What We’re Reading” learn how to recover collections after a fire, discover the best historical resources on the web, and revisit historical surprise attacks. Also, delve into the history of the Manhattan project and peruse the latest titles from the Humanities E-book program.
On September 25, 1957, fifty years ago yesterday, nine African American students attended school at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, under the watchful eye of 1,000 members of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, a mob of angry segregationists, and media the world over. Though President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s mobilization of federal troops to protect the Little Rock Nine from mob violence has been traditionally interpreted as reluctant, based in the need to preserve the authority of the Supreme Court rather than out of any real commitment to integration, the use of federal authority against local and state segregationist forces was nonetheless a seminal moment in the postwar civil rights movement. On its web site, the Eisenhower Presidential Library has a good collection of primary source documents relating to the Little Rock Crisis. Readers may also be interested in the NPS web site for Central High School (now a National Historic Site), and the Association of American University Presses’s massive “Books for Understanding” bibliography of scholarship on race relations in the U.S.