Since 1906, U.S. presidents have used Section 2 of the Antiquities Act to proclaim new national monuments or to expand existing monuments on public land. Many have since been designated as national parks or cultural sites of international renown. In addition to the National Park Service, national monuments are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, and other federal bureaus. Archeological properties on lands other than those managed by the National Park Service may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or be National Historic Landmarks for their significance in American history. These two historic preservation programs are managed by the National Park Service in partnership with federal, state, and local jurisdictions.
Section 3 of the Antiquities Act required that "...the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, or the gathering of objects of antiquity..." on lands administered by the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, or War be carried out only after a permit to do so had been issued by the Secretary of the department responsible for the land in question. The permits were to be issued only to institutions "...properly qualified to conduct such examinations, excavations, or gatherings..." Furthermore, the objective of these permitted activities was to be "...for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects."
Archeological Curation and Collections Management
Section 3 required that the collections of materials from archeological investigations be placed in public museums for preservation and public benefit. Over the past century, museums have broadened beyond just collecting to become public resources for learning about the past in a variety of ways. Exhibits, outreach and education programs, field schools, and web sites are some of the ways that museums fulfill their missions.
Archeological Stewardship in the 21st Century
Public support and interest in America's archeology continues, and stewardship awareness and conservation programs are an essential tool for managing archeological resources. Public agencies with archeological responsibilities and programs for meeting them coordinate their activities to ensure efficient functioning.
For the Public's Benefit
Over the past century, museums have broadened beyond just collecting to become public resources for learning about the past in a variety of ways. Exhibits, outreach and education programs, field schools, and web sites are some of the ways that museums fulfill their missions. The interpretation of archeological resources is important in encouraging public engagement with archeology.