Recent Theme Studies

Manzanar National Historic Site cemetery with mountains in background
Manzanar National Historic Site, CA

NPS Photo

Recently Published National Historic Landmark Theme Studies

Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing (2021)

In 1999, the US Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a multi-state study of civil rights sites to determine their national significance. NPS partnered with the Organization of American Historians to develop an overview of civil rights history entitled, Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites (2002, rev. 2008). The framework recommended that a National Historic Landmarks theme study based on provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 be prepared to identify potentially nationally significant sites related to desegregation of schools, public accommodations, voting rights, housing, and equal employment. Civil Rights in America: Racial Discrimination in Housing is the fourth chapter in this five-part Civil Rights series to be released.

Finding A Path Forward: Asian American Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks Theme Study (2018)

This theme study was carried out as part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Initiative.

The Era of Reconstruction: 1861-1900 (2017)

The National Park Service partnered with Reconstruction-era historians to prepare a chronological and thematic account of Reconstruction focusing specifically on issues and events in the former Confederacy from 1861 to c. 1900.

LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Queer History (2016)

This theme study was carried out as part of the LGBTQ Heritage Initiative.

American Latino Heritage (2013)

This theme study was carried out as part of the American Latino Heritage Initiative.

Japanese Americans in World War II (2012)

In 1991, Congress authorized the National Park Service to prepare a National Historic Landmark theme study on Japanese Americans during World War II. The purpose of this study was to identify historic places that best exemplify and illustrate the period from 1941 to 1946 when Japanese Americans and Japanese aliens were ordered to be detained, relocated, or excluded pursuant to Executive Order 9066 and other actions. Thirty-seven properties were identified in H.R. 543, the enabling legislation for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This theme study is based in large part upon Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, as well as information included in Report to the President: Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation. The study was completed in August 2012. In 2013, as part of various heritage initiatives implemented by the Program, a study focusing on the larger Asian American and Pacific Islander community was initiated.

Protecting America: Cold War Defensive Sites Theme Study (draft 2011)

On March 30, 2009, P.L. 111-11 was passed directing the National Park Service to develop a Cold War (1945-1991) theme study focusing on military sites. The study provides a basic context for the Cold War and the effects of Cold War politics on the development of weapons systems and defense programs in the United States, and the inherent military challenges faced within this unique context. Property types considered under this study include intercontinental ballistic missile sites, flight training centers, manufacturing facilities, and nuclear weapons test sites, among other site types. The draft study was completed in October 2011.

Last updated: October 27, 2021