NPS Uniform Collection

NPS Rangers at Aztec Ruins

The NPS History Collection includes NPS uniforms and accessories from the 1920s through today. It also includes uniforms from the United States Park Police, which functions as a unit of the NPS with jurisdiction in all federal parks.

Men in early ranger uniforms

NPS Men’s Uniforms
The earliest men's unifoms in the collection date from the 1920s. With the exception of elimination of the riding breeches and boots in 1947, most changes to the men's dress uniform have been undramatic. Details have changed but the uniform has always retained the "ranger look".

Woman in tan dress at Liberty Bell

NPS Women’s Uniforms
Although the first female ranger was hired in 1918, the first official women's unifrom standard was issued in 1947. Women's uniforms changed many times - and often in very dramatic ways - from the 1940s to the 1970s. Today, women wear equivalent uniforms to those of the men.

NPS Badges and Insignia
Badges and Insignia
Ranger badges, collar insignia, tie tacks, and name bars complete the official uniform. The collection also includes items such as the arrowhead lapel pin issued to women in the 1960s in lieu of a badge. Hat bands, belts, and other ornamentation also complete the "ranger look".
Sun Hat used in Death Valley

Special Uniforms
Special jobs often call for special uniforms and protective gear. Examples include law enforcement, firefighting, search and rescue, lifeguards, and dive operations. Whether it's a 1940s sun hat for use in Death Valley, lifeguard swimsuits, bike police uniforms or law enforcement's bullet-proof vests, the uniform collection reflects the broad range of jobs and risks that rangers take to protect the resources and the public.

Explore the History of NPS Uniforms

Harpers Ferry Center has published a series of reports by R. Bryce Workman detailing the history of the NPS uniform.

Learn more about the history of the United States Park Police uniform here.

For Junior Rangers and the Young at Heart

Test your knowledge of the NPS uniforms with this WebRangers activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the uniforms and some of the myths as we answer frequently asked questions.

Last updated: August 30, 2018