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 NPS unifoms in the collection date from the 1920s. With the exception of elimination of the riding breeches and boots in 1947, most changes have been undramatic. Details have changed but the uniform retained the "ranger look," except for the 1970s blazer uniform.

Woman in tan dress at Liberty Bell

NPS Women’s Uniforms

In the 1920s many women rangers wore the standard NPS uniform. Explore our online portfolio Dressing the Part to learn about the history of women and the NPS uniform. Read about the women's 1970 uniform, one of the most misunderstood uniforms.

NPS Badges and Insignia

Badges, Insignia, and Accessories

Ranger badges, collar insignia, and name bars are important parts of the official niform. Hat bands, belts, tie tacks, and other ornamentation complete the "ranger look". Each of the three NPS symbols created since 1916—the eagle, the sequoia cone, and the arrowhead—can still be seen on uniforms today if you know where to look. Historically, sleeve insignia defined rank among employees in the 1920s and 1930s, and leather puttees were stylish safety accessories. Explore our virtual exhibit of NPS badges to learn more.

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 helmet, 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. Learn more about volunteer uniforms over time as well.

Explore the History of NPS Uniforms

In the 1990s NPS Harpers Ferry Center published a series of reports by R. Bryce Workman detailing the history of the NPS uniform. Although they are provided below for access, please note that current research has corrected some of the information in the books, particularly related to the women's uniform. We encourage those interested in the NPS uniform to explore our Dressing the Part website for women's uniform history, 50 Nifty Finds articles for badges, insignia, accessories, and specialized uniforms, and other content throughout our website for the most current research on the topic.

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

For Junior Rangers and the Young at Heart

Get creative with our downloadable uniform coloring pages and other NPS History Collection Fun & Games.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Last updated: March 28, 2024