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Teaching with Historic Places

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History and Culture

The places and objects that are important for us to remember and that help teach us how we have been shaped as a nation are not just preserved in our national parks, but are found in communities all over the country.  The NPS also works with individuals, organizations, and state, local and tribal governments to preserve these special places and artifacts through a myriad of programs.  Since 1906, various laws, regulations, executive orders and policies have directed NPS involvement in preservation efforts on every level.


National Heritage Areas are places where a combination of natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources have shaped a cohesive and nationally distinctive landscape.  The Northeast Region is home to 21 Heritage Areas that tell unique stories about our country.
National Historic Landmarks are places that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.  Almost half of all of these landmarks are located in the northeast region.  Regional staff help to develop nominations for new landmarks and find ways to help owners preserve and protect existing landmarks.  Every year there is a NHL Photo Contest with the winning photos appearing in the Annual Event Planner.

The preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil is promoted through the American Battlefield Protection Program. The work of protecting sites, raising awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields, and assisting in the management and interpretation of these places is supported by the annual Battlefield Protection Grants.

The Federal Archeology Program is a partnership with over 40 agencies whose shared mission is to conserve the unwritten record of the story of North America.  Working with these partners, the Regional Offices assists with the identification of new sites, monitors the condition of National Historic Landmark archeological sites, and provides assistance with collection management issues.  The Park Ethnography Program works to understand living cultures who have an interest in park resources and use.Public monuments and sculpture commemorate important people and events in our history.  Technical assistance on the care of these special artifacts is provided through the Monument Research and Preservation Program.   
Many of the states in the Northeast Region became corridors to Canada and freedom for escaping slaves during the 19th century.  The Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program extols the historical significance of the Underground Railroad in the eradication of slavery and the evolution of our national civil rights movement, and its relevance in fostering the spirit of racial harmony and national reconciliation.  


The Historic Surplus Property Program gives historically significant property no longer needed by the federal government to state and local governments, while the Lighthouse Program helps to place historic lighthouses no longer needed by the United States Coast Guard into the hands of local governments or non-profit groups who can preserve them.  The NPS evaluates applications for these properties and monitors their care in perpetuity.


Creating a permanent record of important historic buildings, structures and landscapes is the mission of the Historic American Building Survey, the Historic American Engineering Record, and the Historic American Landscape Survey.  These drawings, photographs and written descriptions are housed at the Library of Congress, with most of the documentation now available on-line.  The Regional Office handles documentation for properties that will be altered or demolished.

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