What We Do

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

The National Park Service Network to Freedom program coordinates preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrates local historical places, museums and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional and national stories. Our goals include collaboration and networking, awareness and understanding, stewardship and scholarship, organizational effectiveness, and significance and alignment with agency goals. Read more about our program, goals and mission in our National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom strategic plan.

Our Goals

  1. Collaboration and Networking: Through collaboration and networking, the Network to Freedom Program will engage and support Network to Freedom members, partners, and affiliates in such a way as to provide new expertise, build relationships, and foster long-term stewardship and sustainability.
  2. Awareness and Understanding: Increase awareness of the Underground Railroad so that the public understands this resistance movement as a significant part of the nation's struggle for civil rights and appreciates the role that the Network to Freedom Program plays in honoring this history.
  3. Stewardship and Scholarship: By promoting best practices related to research, interpretation, education, and historic preservation, the Network to Freedom leverages its relationships to maintain the integrity of the scholarship of the Underground Railroad and to share that history.
  4. Organizational Effectiveness: Achieve organizational effectiveness by reimagining ways to meet the program mission and vision through efficient allocation of resources and a commitment to professional development, wellness, and life-work balance.
  5. Significance and Alignment with Agency Goals: The Network to Freedom Program will strive to elevate its profile within the National Park Service by increasing awareness of how the program fulfills agency goals of relevancy, diversity and inclusion, including how the legacy of the Underground Railroad fosters the spirit of racial harmony and national recognition.


Listing in the Network to Freedom has many benefits. These include:

  • Prestigious national recognition.
  • Verification that there is a documented association with the Underground Railroad.
  • Add to a national database of Underground Railroad history.
  • Encourages and supports local preservation efforts.
  • Provides opportunities for networking.
  • Provides eligibility for Network to Freedom grants.
  • Provides access to technical assistance.
  • Helps promote tourism and economic development.
  • Educates the public.
  • Provides eligibility for the National Park Service Passport Program.

What the Network to Freedom Does Not

  • Restrict use, alteration, treatment, transfer, sale or disposition of private property.
  • Require that properties be maintained, repaired or restored.
  • Require public access to private property.

How We Help

The Network to Freedom provides technical assistance to those who are documenting, preserving, and telling the story of the Underground Railroad. Network to Freedom staff are available to discuss projects and provide information on resources for:

  • caring for artifacts,
  • developing interpretive tours and exhibits,
  • preserving historic buildings and landscapes,
  • heritage tourism initiatives,
  • and, sources for grants.

Interested? Apply Today!

To become a member of the Network to Freedom and be eligible for the grant program, please visit our application page for more information.

Last updated: February 8, 2019