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NPS History & Culture



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The General Public

Public interest in historic places and in history and culture is high. People looking for information on historic sites and buildings are by far the largest group of users of the Park Service's History and Culture website, according to a recent survey. The National Register of Historic Places, which the National Park Service expands and maintains, is a rich source of information on our Nation's significant historic places. Every year more than 4.3 million people visit the National Register website www.cr.nps.gov/nr to identify listed historic places in their own states and communities, to order publications and videos on the work of the Register itself and on African American historic places, and to download background historical studies of such subjects as suburban development and the archeology of the earliest Americans. The records of the Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record are among the most popular sites on the Library of Congress's website. Travelers are always looking for information on new places to visit, and historic places are favorites. The following programs are among the many that attempt to meet this demand:

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Travelers planning their next trip can visit the Discover Our Shared Heritage on-line travel itineraries, where they will find a series of self-guided tours to historic places listed in the National Register. Each of the itineraries spotlights a different geographic region or theme. Each itinerary includes d escriptions of each historic place and its importance in American history, plus contextual essays, information about historic places open to the public, tour possibilities, contact information, interactive maps, color and vintage photographs, and links to related preservation and tourism web sites.

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The NPS Park Ethnography and Cultural Resources Stewardship Careers programs jointly sponsored a self-paced online African American Heritage and Ethnography course. The course complements and supplements training courses the two programs traditionally sponsor for the education of National Park Service staff, community partners, and the general public.

A wide range of books, studies, and reports featuring historic places in the national parks and their importance as symbols and evidence of our history and prehistory is available on the Park History website. These include documents on the early years of the National Park system, including early guidebooks, as well as more technical studies of buildings and structures in the parks. One of the highlights is a feature on Historic Places Commemorating the Chief Executives of the United States. This study includes a historical essay, brief biographies of each of the presidents, and a list of associated historic sites.

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The NPS Cultural Resources Diversity Program has produced Asian Reflections on the American Landscape. This study is part of a continuing effort by the NPS and its partners to increase awareness of and help preserve and interpret historic places associated with a variety of cultural and ethnic groups.

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The Park Service's Heritage Preservation Services office has created two coloring books for children featuring National Historic Landmarks. Available online, American Defenders of Land, Sea, and Sky, features forts, battlefields, old ships and planes, a modern submarine, and a pioneering space vehicle. The online Great American Landmarks Adventure takes you on a virtual trip through time and space through a series of drawings by Roxie Munro.

The National Historic Preservation Act assigned an important role to State preservation programs. Like many other state historic preservation offices, the North Carolina Department of Archives and History has turned much of the information developed through surveys of its counties and communities into published works. Often paid for by the local communities, these survey volumes include slim volumes devoted to a single county, regional surveys covering eastern, central/piedmont, and western North Carolina , and a handsome coffee-table book on North Carolina architecture.