The stewardship of America's archeological heritage is a well-established policy and function of the Federal government. Outreach enables archeologists in the National Park Service to fulfill their responsibilities as stewards of the nation's archeological heritage by sharing archeological finds with the public and communicating their significance.
Archeology is the study of past peoples through their material remains. Nearly every park unit of the NPS contains archeological resources, be they evidence of the first people to set foot on the continent, ancient and modern Native Americans, diasporic or immigrant peoples from around the world, or even activities in the first half of the 20th century. Archeological resources include sites, collections, and documentation associated with excavation and curation activities.
Outreach provides visitors with opportunities for enjoyment, education, and personal reflection. It also moves a visitor to realize the relevance and significance of archeological resources in contemporary life. Outreach activities include workshops, exhibits, websites, publications and handouts, ranger talks, volunteer programs, classroom visits, and more. Such programs help the public get excited about archeology and the important information it provides about the nation's past.
Resource protection is an important purpose for archeological outreach. Through various forms of outreach, the National Park Service encourages the public to care about archeological resources and therefore to adopt a stewardship ethic. Rangers and law enforcement can draw on the principles of the guide to involve the public in protecting sites.