News Release

Salem Maritime Receives National Park Foundation Open OutDoors for Kids Grant

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Date: December 16, 2021
Contact: Susan Russo, National Park Service, 978-210-4245
Contact: Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, 202-796-2538

SALEM, MA — Salem Maritime National Historic Site received an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF). This grant supports the “Hard History Project at Salem Maritime,” a program engaging teachers and students with the history of slavery in Essex County through placed-based learning experiences.

"Salem Maritime National Historic Site is honored to receive this grant from the National Park Foundation,” said Superintendent Paul DePrey. “Creating inclusive programs requires a reconsideration of the historical narratives we prioritize and a commitment to uplift the stories traditionally excluded or misrepresented. We look forward to working with teachers to co-create meaningful opportunities for students to interact with park resources, explore multiple perspectives, and find relevancy in New England’s maritime history."

The “Hard History Project at Salem Maritime” launched in March of 2021 in collaboration with The Hard History Project and was funded in part by the 2020 NPF Hybrid Learning Grant. Using historic documents, artifacts and structures, the project enables students and teachers to examine the history of slavery, gradual emancipation, and white response to Black empowerment in New England.

NPS educators continue to work with Essex County teachers to co-develop new education programs. To support student and community learning, NPS educators are collaborating with educators and local historians to produce digital resources (including lesson plans and videos) and identify social-emotional learning strategies to support student learning.

The Open OutDoors for Kids grant helps Salem Maritime connect with students and teachers in Essex County and beyond with accessible resources and relevant programming, empowering students to consider the historic roots of contemporary raced-based disparities.

Since 2011, NPF has engaged more than one million students in educational programs connecting them with national parks across the country. NPF’s goal is to connect another one million students to parks over the next four years.

“National parks are America’s largest classrooms,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “With parks, learning is fun, memorable, and hands-on. Parks open kids’ eyes to the wonder and complexities of nature and history, and the National Park Foundation is committed to connecting as many kids as possible to parks through our Open OutDoors for Kids program.”

The NPF Open OutDoors for Kids program is made possible by private philanthropy, including support from Youth Engagement and Education premier partner Union Pacific Railroad, and supporting partner GoGo squeeZ. Additional support is provided by Apple, Sierra, Columbia Sportswear, Parks Project, The Batchelor Foundation, Inc., Humana, and many individual donors.

Learn more about NPF’s efforts to engage students with national parks as classrooms.

About the National Park Foundation. The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at

Last updated: December 16, 2021

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