Theme Studies


NHL Theme Studies


National Historic Landmarks are often identified through theme studies. Theme studies are an effective way of identifying and nominating properties because they provide a comparative analysis of properties associated with a specific area of American history, such as aviation, LGBTQ history, Civil Rights, or labor history. Theme studies examine a national historic context for specific topics in American history or prehistory so that national significance may be evaluated for a number of related properties.

Some theme studies are mandated by Congress, while others are initiated by the National Park Service. They are generally prepared under cooperative agreements or contracts with other governmental entities or private organizations. Partnerships are encouraged with the academic community, independent scholars, and others knowledgeable about the subject at hand to ensure a high level of scholarship which identifies the most appropriate properties within a theme. The historic contexts found in NHL theme studies also can be useful in preparing National Register of Historic Places nominations. They provide assistance in the evaluation of historic properties at all levels and can be used to educate the public about the nation's heritage.

Last updated: August 16, 2022