NPS announces stewardship efforts for Mary McLeod Bethune Council House

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Date: November 7, 2016
Contact: Emily Linroth, 202-619-7156

Creative interpretation, fire suppression system installation among upcoming projects

WASHINGTON – A number of exciting projects and opportunities for the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site and for the National Archives of Black Women’s History (NABWH) are on the horizon, thanks to the efforts of partners and dedicated staff. These include reconstitution of the Federal Advisory Commission; installation of a fire suppression and security system to protect the Council House; and creative interpretation and preservation projects to connect even more people with Mrs. Bethune’s legacy.

“As we embark upon the next century of the National Park Service, we are redoubling our efforts to engage those who care about the Council House, and are committed to establishing improved, ongoing communication and outreach to strengthen our partnerships and advance the legacy of Mrs. Bethune,” acting Superintendent Ann Honious said.

In 2016, the NPS sought and received more than $715,000 for a number of interpretative, preservation, and “public access through technology” projects. These include:

  • the processing and digitization of archival collections,

  • the creation of an interactive web exhibit for the site,

  • additional research on the NABWH, and

  • broader context studies of the Civil Rights Movement in Washington, D.C.

Over the last two years, the NPS advanced projects for historic preservation of the national historic site, including repairing the front facade, masonry repointing, and plumbing and drain repairs. The next significant historic preservation project will begin this November, when we will install a fire suppression and security system in the Council House to protect the building and museum objects.

During installation, the park must temporarily close to the public. The project and the closure are expected to last about 10 months. We will re-open the site as soon as construction activities are complete and site and system inspections are approved.

While we understand that the temporary closure of the site may be inconvenient, this project is essential to preserve the site in perpetuity. The NABWH at the Museum Resource Center will remain open and available to researchers during the closure of the national historic site.

We encourage residents and visitors to visit other national parks in the area that honor and celebrate African American history, including the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, African American Civil War Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln Park.

For more information about the fire suppression system installation and other projects happening to protect and share Mrs. Bethune’s legacy, visit

Last updated: November 7, 2016

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Mailing Address:

Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
1318 Vermont Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20005



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