Tag Archives: National Park Service

Women’s Rights NHP Has New Interpretation, Education Chief


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Women’s Rights National Historical Park is pleased to announce that Noemi “Ami” Ghazala has been selected to lead the park’s Interpretation and Education division. Ghazala, a native of New York City with ten years of experience with the National Park Service (NPS), is expected to relocate to the Finger Lakes region in mid-August.

Superintendent Tammy Duchesne said, “Ami is a perfect fit for Women’s Rights National Historical Park. She is dynamic, creative, forward thinking and knows that for the NPS to be relevant for its next 100 years we must engage our local communities, become educational resources for schools and life-long learners, incorporate new technologies, and commit to reaching new and diverse audiences. Ami has been incredibly successful in doing this in several National Parks and we know she will bring this vision, leadership, and energy to the park and community.”

Ghazala’s NPS work began at the Statue of Liberty National Monument/Ellis Island Immigration Museum. In 2007, she wrote a children’s book called, “From Many Lands, The Ellis Story”. In 2008, she transferred to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, located in the Greater New Orleans area. As Education Coordinator and later District Supervisor, she focused efforts on  partnering with local schools to bring urban children to their local national park, working closely with low-performing schools and communities-of-color.

Ghazala was promoted to Chief of Education and Resource Management at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in 2010. In Dayton, she worked closely with legislated park partners to reopen African American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s home to the public.

A graduate of St. John’s University, Ghazala traveled overseas as a freelance  photojournalist focusing much of her writing on women’s issues. Other private sector experiences include published writings and photo-essays in Egypt, managing a small business in New York City, and teaching overseas  and in the United States.

New York Heritage Weekend, May 19 and 20th


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Organizations throughout the state will celebrate New York history during this year’s New York Heritage Weekend on May 19th & 20th. Now in its 3rd year, the weekend will offer special programs, discounted or free admission to sites and events that celebrate national, state or local heritage.

Guided hikes, local history festivals, historic garden events, open historic houses, and events that explore all kinds of New York culture and history are on tap. Last year Heritage Weekend hosted 166 Heritage Weekend events with 143 federal, state, and private organizations. For a full searchable listing of events, and maps see www.heritageweekend.org .

Not only does this Heritage Weekend celebrate New York’s rich history, but it also boosts local economies. According to recent studies, tourism generates 81 billion dollars and sustains over 670,000 jobs in New York. According to a recent study recent commissioned by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce, 78% of US domestic travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities.

“Heritage Weekend opens the door to so many of New York’s great historic and cultural treasures,” said Beth Sciumeca, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “Once that door is open, people will find that there is a lifetime of places to experience throughout the state.”

New York Heritage Weekend 2012 is funded in part by The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and sponsored by I Love NY, National Park Service, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and participating event partners.

Tree Removal Planned for Vanderbilt Mansion NHS


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The National Park Service (NPS) will soon begin work to remove hazardous trees along Route 9 at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park (Dutchess County).

After a public comment period and agency reviews, the NPS made the decision to remove only trees that have been identified as high or severe risks to public safely. 100 trees will be removed out of the approximately 700 trees in this area. Once tree removal has been completed, 200 white pine trees will be planted in the understory, with the goal of re-establishing a visual barrier between the highway and estate grounds.  

During the project, the park will remain open to the public, but the work area will be closed for safety reasons. Some minor traffic delays may occur on Route 9 when trees leaning over the highway are removed.

Women’s Rights Sites Offer Field Trip Funds


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Women’s Rights National Historical Park is offering an opportunity for school and youth groups to submit applications for transportation funding to visit the sites associated with the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention. This is part of an ongoing effort by the National Park Service to bring under-served and underrepresented school and youth groups to place-based learning experiences in national parks. Continue reading

NPS Historian Talk on FDR, Hyde Park Memorial


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National Park Service Historian, Dr. Dennis Montagna will present a talk entitled “A Designing President—FDR and his Enduring Memorial” this Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 PM. The talk will be held at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center located at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, New York. It is free and open to the public.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt left detailed instructions regarding his burial in the rose garden at his Hyde Park estate. He also designed the monument to mark the site. Dr. Montagna will share information about the reasons behind FDR ‘s burial decisions and how some of his last wishes were not instituted.


After the presentation, there will be an informal ceremony in the Rose Garden to mark the 67th anniversary of FDR’s burial.

The talk coincides with the opening of a new exhibit in the Roosevelt Carriage House entitled: “Enduring Memorial: FDR’s Final Resting Place”. Beginning April 15, the exhibit is open daily 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The Carriage House is located behind the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Free Access to National Parks During Park Week


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The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, are inviting people everywhere to enjoy, explore, learn, share, and give back to America’s nearly 400 national parks during National Park Week 2012.

Celebrating the theme, “Picture Yourself in a National Park,” National Park Week will run from Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29. Throughout the country, visitors can enjoy the beauty and wonder of 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic places and cultural treasures for free.

National parks will mark the annual celebration with special events and activities including Volunteer Day on April 21, Earth Day on April 22, and Junior Ranger Day on April 28. From ranger-led hikes and kayak trips to camping and exploring, park visitors can plan their National Park Week online. Discover information about events, special activities for visitors of all ages, how to share your park adventure with other travelers, and how to support the parks.

“America’s national parks have something for everyone,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Take a break and experience something new, enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise, and see where history happened. And, since admission is free to all 397 parks, all week long, National Park Week is a great time to get up, get out, and explore a park.”

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Major Study Finds Park Service History ‘Imperiled’


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A new report examining the practice and presentation of American history at the National Park Service (NPS) from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) conclude that “the agency’s ability to manage its sites… 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.”

“All but a handful of” of NPS historians responding to a survey conducted for the study painted a “bleak picture” of the state of the agency historical efforts:

“They describe NPS history as ‘an afterthought’ relegated to ‘small cubicles and minor sideshows’ and therefore either ‘stagnant and irrelevant to today’s generation and issues’ or ‘moribund, old-fashioned, and largely irrelevant, with a couple of spots of fearlessness and innovation.’ It is ‘erratic,’ one respondent says, ‘outstanding in some places, awful in others.’ ‘Underfunded, undervalued, underutilized and misunderstood,’ summarizes another, while several express a sense of decline: history in the Park Service, respondents asserted, is ‘deteriorating'; ‘losing ground'; and ‘threatened.’

The report highlighted several specific shortcomings at NPS including, among others:

An underemphasis and underfunding of historical work as priorities shifted to natural resources, law enforcement, and other concerns;

An artificial separation of cultural resources management from interpretation;

An artificial separation of natural resources interpretation from cultural and historical
interpretation;

An overemphasis on mandated compliance activities at the expense of other ways history
can be practiced; and

A 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 report makes or endorses nearly one hundred recommendations including:

A concerted effort to invest in adequate staffing and restored funding for history;

Formal and informal mechanisms to improve communication and reduce isolation both within and beyond the agency to “maximize synergies with an array of external partners”;

A number of professional training, competency and historian employment recommendations;

Make NPS scholarship more widely available, both within and outside the agency;

Establishing a History Leadership Council, comprising the agency’s most talented and influential historians and interpreters, and a History Advisory Board “comprising the nation’s leading public history professionals from beyond the agency—the most innovative curators, the most insightful scholars, the most savvy administrators”; and

Encourage the OAH and the history profession to expand support history in the NPS.

The report is the result of a 2008 request by the NPS chief historian’s office to undertake a study of “the State of History in the National Park Service.” The report was produced by four historians: Anne Mitchell Whisnant (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Marla Miller (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Gary Nash (University of California, Los Angeles), and David Thelen (Indiana University).

The report’s methodology included an electronic questionnaire sent to over 1,500 members of NPS’s permanent staff who have some responsibility for history, solicited perspectives
from retired and current NPS historians and administrators, and also external stakeholders such as historians in colleges and universities who have worked closely with the agency. The report’s producers visited dozens of parks and conducted seven large-group listening sessions at annual meetings of the OAH, National Council on Public History, and National Association for Interpretation. They also consulted OAH-sponsored site-visit reports, NPS administrative histories, and previous studies including the 1963 Leopold Report as well as the 1966 study With Heritage so Rich.

The full report, Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service is available online [pdf].

Historians Should Promote Preservation


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In recent articles several authors have pointed out the multifaceted world that is New York history. Museums, historical societies, historical agencies on all levels and the local government historians all play a role in our efforts to ensure the continued importance of this state’s history and heritage. Is this the right approach or should there be a more top down method to our madness? Whatever your answer is to that question, the same divergent pattern is found in historic preservation in the Empire State. Continue reading

Study: NY National Parks Support Economy


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A new National Park Service (NPS) report concludes that 17,389,242 national park visitors in New York in 2010 spent $490,911,000 and supported 5,780 jobs in the state.

Most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).

The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.

The National Parks in New York include: African Burial Ground National Monument, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Castle Clinton National Monument, Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fire Island National Seashore, Fort Stanwix National Monument, Gateway National Recreation Area, General Grant National Memorial, Governors Island National Monument, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Saint-Paul’s Church National Historic Site, Saratoga National Historical Park, Statue of Liberty National Monument, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, and Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

Across the U.S., local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009 the report concludes.

The report is available online; click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

Searching For MacDonough’s War of 1812 Shipyard


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has received a grant of $23,985 from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) to undertake an archeological survey to determine the precise location and established boundaries for MacDonough’s War of 1812 Shipyard in Vergennes, Vermont.

“We are proud to support projects like this that safeguard and preserve American battlefields,” said Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “These places are symbols of individual sacrifice and national heritage that we must protect so that this and future generations can understand the struggles that define us as a nation.”


This grant is one of25 National Park Service grants totaling $1.2 million to preserve and protect significant battle sites from all wars fought on American soil. Funded projects preserve battlefields from the Colonial­ Indian Wars through World War II and include site mapping (GPS/GIS data collection), archeological studies, National Register of Historic Places nominations, preservation and management plans.

Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for National Park Service battlefield grants which are awarded annually. Since 1996 more than $12 million has been awarded by ABPP to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil.

Additional information is online at www.nps.gov/history/hpslabpp. To find out more about how the National Park Service helps communities with historic preservation and recreation projects please visit www.nps.gov/communities.

Artist conception of MacDonough’s War of 1812 Lake Champlain Shipyard Workers by Kevin Crisman, LCMM Collection).

Hudson River Valley NPS Bill Reintroduced


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Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have reintroduced legislation to authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study on whether the Hudson River Valley should become a unit of the National Park system. Under such a distinction, it’s expected the region would benefit from greater national attention, additional federal resources to support and preserve heritage sites, and increased regional tourism, all of which are hoped would contribute to job creation and economic growth.

“The Hudson River Valley has inspired artists for centuries, fueled the industrial development of our nation for generations and played a vital role in the American Revolution and founding of our Republic,” Hinchey said. “This region deserves to be recognized by the National Park Service for its historical and natural significance and should receive the federal resources and economic benefits that would come with such a recognition. This bill takes the first step by allowing the National Park Service to study if the Valley would be a good fit within the National Parks system. I am so proud to again bring forward this legislation with the support Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate.”

“We’re still unlocking the Hudson River Valley’s potential,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Hudson River Valley is truly one of America’s richest treasures. From the Adirondacks to the busy ports of New York City, the Hudson River fuels our economy, inspires our artists, and provides New Yorkers with miles of adventure and endless recreation. As New York’s first Senator from Upstate in nearly 40 years, I will always work to preserve the beauty and tradition of the Hudson River Valley, and this bill takes the first step to getting the national recognition it deserves.”

The legislation, entitled The Hudson River Valley Special Resource Study Act, is similar to the bill which passed in the House last year. The Hudson River Valley is already designated as a federal National Heritage Area and state Greenway, but the current federal designation provides only limited funding that is subject to change each budget year. A designation as a National Park unit would provide more consistent and expanded federal support, including National Park Service staff and national attention to the region, all of which would help to boost tourism and preserve and restore the region’s historic sites and cultural resources.

In order for the Hudson River Valley to become a unit of the National Park System, a congressionally-authorized NPS study must be conducted. Hinchey and Gillibrand’s legislation would authorize such a study for the counties within the borders of current the Hudson River National Heritage Area. Specifically, the area to be studied would include the counties abutting the Hudson River that flows from Rogers Island at Fort Edward in Washington County to the southern boundary of Westchester County.

The bill provides guidelines designed to ensure that the NPS study recognizes the unique realities of the Hudson River Valley and its differences from more traditional National Park Service units. These guidelines require the NPS to examine park unit models, in particular national river and recreation areas, as well as other landscape protection models, that: encompass large areas of non-federal lands within their designated boundaries; foster public and private collaborative arrangements for achieving NPS objectives, and protect and respect the rights of private land owners. No forced land acquisition activities would be permitted.

Following a study, subsequent legislation would be required for a National Park Service unit designation to move forward. In the event that such subsequent legislation were to pass, all activities that are currently permissible under state or local laws would be unaffected because the National Park Service would have no legal authority to overrule state or local laws and policies on non-federal lands, such as those governing hunting and fishing, regardless of whether the region sits within a nationally designated unit of the park system.

Hinchey has long sought greater recognition, protection, and federal and state resources for the Hudson River Valley. As a member of the New York State Assembly, Hinchey authored the legislation that led to the creation of the Hudson River Valley Greenway. In Congress, he authored legislation that led to the designation of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, which provides technical assistance to local communities or local managers to assist them in managing natural and historic sites of national importance.

History of NY Hydroelectric Power Event Wednesday


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This Wednesday, June 22 at 7 pm, National Park Service Historian Duncan Hay will speak at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, Warren County, on The History of Hydroelectric Power in Northeastern New York. The lecture is the third in a series funded by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities and presented in conjunction with the museum’s summer exhibit, Harnessing the Hudson. The program is free and open to the public.

The speaker, Duncan Hay, works for the National Park Service as an historian and hydroelectric licensing specialist in the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. He advises license applicants and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding protection of historic and archeological properties and outdoor recreation at hydroelectric projects.

Duncan also works as a cultural resources and museum specialist on planning teams for proposed new units and heritage areas of the National Park Service. Previously he worked for the Museum of American Textile History, and the New York State Museum as curator of industrial history. Duncan earned a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s Hagley Program in the History of Industrial America.

The author of Hydroelectric Development in the United States, 1880-1940, Mr. Hay will speak about the significance of Spier Falls dam and other early hydroelectric generators in the region. He also will address the rapid growth and consolidation of the industry during the first three decades of the 20th Century, leading ultimately to the formation of Niagara Mohawk.

The Chapman Historical Museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY. The exhibit Harnessing the Hudson will be on display through September 25th. Public hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm , and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. For more information call (518) 793-2826 or go to www.chapmanmuseum.org.

The New Amsterdam Trail, Free Downloadable Audio Tour


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The Dutch and the indelible role they played in the formation of the ideas and ideals that shaped New York City and America is being celebrated by National Parks Service, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, and the Henry Hudson 400 Foundation with The New Amsterdam Trail. This free downloadable audio walking tour is the first of three in a series featuring the iconic National Park Service Rangers and an expert cast of historians, scientists, and other great storytellers.

Using a backdrop of period music and special sound effects, the audio with map can be downloaded from the Harbor Conservancy’s website or on the Henry Hudson 400 website. Visitors travel through the streets of downtown Manhattan to 10 historically significant locations, cueing commentary from their mobile phone, mp3 player or ipod. As they stand at the tip of the Battery, they can visualize Manhattan in the hours before Henry Hudson arrived and when he first navigated our waters and then listen to the stories of the life and times of New Amsterdam’s most famous and infamous settlers.

The New Amsterdam Trail features Steve Laise, Chief of Cultural Resources for Manhattan’s National Parks; Eric Sanderson, author of Mannahatta, Natural History of New York City; Andrew Smith, editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and Russell Shorto, author of Island at the Center of the World.

The family-friendly walking tour takes about 90-minutes– however, you can walk the trail at your own pace during lunchtime and pause the recorded commentary at any point. For more details and to download the free tour, visit www.nyharborparks.org or www.henryhudson400.com.

The Harbor Conservancy is the official partner of the National Parks of New York Harbor and together they champion the 22 National Park sites that call New York Harbor home by helping to preserve the environment, promote economic development and create the finest urban waterfront recreation and educational park system in the world.

Henry Hudson 400 New York is a foundation created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s legendary voyage for the Dutch to the Hudson River and New York. The unique character of New York City, originally New Amsterdam, has been shaped by the legacy of the multiethnic and tolerant culture of 17th century Amsterdam. Henry Hudson 400 is producing a series of special events in 2009 to celebrate the spirit of freedom, enterprise, and diversity shared by Amsterdam and New York.