The Network to Freedom Program includes three types of listings. Applicants will need to fill out different sections of the application depending on what they are nominating.
Applications are accepted for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program twice a year: January 15 or July 15. The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program uses an online application. The application must be completed and submitted through this online platform - typed or handwritten forms submitted via post or email will not be accepted
The steps outlined below will assist you in completing your application and navingating the application process.
Go to the section of our application instructions that explains how to nominate a site to the Network to Freedom.
Go to the section of our application instructions that explains how to nominate a facility to the Network to Freedom.
Go to the section of our application instructions that explains how to nominate a program to the Network to Freedom.
Complete your Application
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program uses an online application. The form must be completed and submitted through this online platform - typed or handwritten forms submitted via post or email will not be accepted.
Regardless of what kind of listing applicants choose to nominate, applicants must have the following information to complete the application:
- Written permission from the property owner to nominate the potential new listing in the Network to Freedom.
- A narrative and/or essay describing the potential new listing's connections to the Underground Railroad.
- High quality photographs of the proposed new listing.
Places that have a demonstrated and verified association to the Underground Railroad. Sites could include:
Stations on the Underground Railroad
Properties associated with prominent persons
Legal challenges related to escape and flight
Properties associated with documented escapes
Properties associated with documented rescues
Sites associated with kidnappings
Churches associated with congregations active in the Underground Railroad
Commemorative sites or monuments
Historic districts or neighborhoods
Archives, Libraries, and Research centers with materials that highlight Underground Railroad stories and meet standards of accuracy, professionalism, and accessiblity
Educational and/or Interpretive Program that provides accurate and current information about Underground Railroad history. Programs may include:
A public program
- Curriculum-based educational programs
- Youth programs
- A website
- A tour
- A performance
- A Living history program
- An Exhibit
The Network to Freedom application consists of several long response questions detailing the nominated site, facility, or program. Many candidates prefer to work through these long response questions in a word processor prior to transferring them into the online application for submission. If you would like to do this, you can use the drop down buttons below to copy and paste the long response questions related to your nomination. Please note: if using citations, please make sure to use endnotes rather than footnotes.
Remember: candidates do not need to fill out all three sections of long response questions. Candidates only need to answer the long response questions related to whichever kind of listing you will nominate. To nominate a site, only answer the long response questions designated for "sites."
- Describe the site’s association and significance to the Underground Railroad
- Provide a history of the site since its time of significance to the Underground Railroad, including physical changes, changes in boundaries over time, archeological work, or changes in ownership or use
- Include a bibliography or list of citations for sources used through the document
- Describe current educational programs, tours, markers, signs, brochures, site bulletins, or plaques at the site
- Describe any local, State, or Federal historic designation, records, signage, or plaques at the site
- If the site is open to the public, describe accessibility conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Describe the nature and objectives of any partnerships that have contributed to the documentation, preservation, commemoration, or interpretation of the site
- Provide a general description of the facility and its purpose or mission
- Describe the holdings or collections and discuss their significance to the Underground Railroad
- List the Underground Railroad or slavery-related items or materials in the facility
- Describe the documents the facility has to verify the sources of its collections
- Describe the indexes or finding aids that are available for the facility’s collections
- Describe the facility’s management and staff, and levels of training or certifications
- Describe the types of publications, reports, or services the facility performs or produces
- Describe the conditions of public use at the facility, including accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Describe visitation workload at the facility
- Describe the facility’s traveling exhibit, interlibrary-loan, and photocopying or duplication policies and capabilities
- Describe the nature and objectives of any partnerships that have contributed to the operation of the facility
- Describe the program
- What do you want your audience to know about the Underground Railroad, and how is it presented
- Describe what advice you sought in developing your program
- Identify historical sources of information and describe how they were used to develop the program. Include a bibliography.
- Describe the educational objectives of the program, tour, or performance
- For whom is the program intended? Is the program fully accessible to all?
- Describe where the program has been presented
- Describe how the program is evaluated and how you use the results to improve the program
- How long has the program existed and what are the future plans for the program?
- Describe the program’s management and staff, and levels of training or certification
- Describe the nature and objectives of any partnerships that have contributed to the program
Contact your Regional Manager
The Network to Freedom team has Regional Managers assigned to support different areas of the United States in documenting Underground Railroad history. They are dedicated to supporting potential new members throughout the application process and beyond. It is best to contact them before beginning the application process and keep in contact with them as you fill out the application to make your submission as strong as possible. You can find contact information for the regional managers on our contact us page, or if you are unsure of who to contact, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Network to Freedom program has outlined complete application instructions. If you have questions, your regional manager is available to assist you.
Last updated: November 3, 2023