To Do: Migrate

Lincoln MemorialThe National Park Service developed vision, goals and a strategy for more efficient and innovative opportunities to collaboratively commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and anniversaries of the civil rights movement. We promote these anniversaries in ways to create awareness about our American history as part of a continuum and interpret stories from multiple perspectives to provide relevance to broader audiences.


The challenge of meeting these goals in the face of budget reductions encourages us to reach out to one another, and to our community partners, with common purpose toward a single mission — serving our visitors. Using guidance outlined in the Call to Action, Imperiled Promise, Holding the High Ground, and several National Historic Landmarks theme studies associated with civil rights, the following achievements are highlighted:


$3.5 million was funded in support of fourteen signature commemorative events. To date, these events include: Lincoln’s Inaugural Journey, the Firing on Fort Sumter, anniversaries of First Manassas, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Siege of Vicksburg. The Emancipation Proclamation was commemorated through a national art contest as well as via programs at Boston African American National Historic Site. In addition, the NPS provided significant support for Let Freedom Ring commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The Eastern Incident Management Team provides substantial support for many of these events providing a cadre of experienced personnel. Lessons learned have been shared throughout the commemoration to build a community of best practices. (Thus far $2,032,000 of the total funding has been spent. More than $3,123,413 was matched through in kind services, donations and partner funding to support these events and build stewardship for future programs.)

Action Goal 2: Step by Step
Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive
Action Goal 14: Value Added

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam September 17, 2012

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam
September 17, 2012

$6.2 million was provided in fiscal years 2011-13 to improve sixteen interpretive media projects. Outdated and inaccurate exhibits were replaced, interpretive opportunities were provided in newly accessible areas and modern technology was explored to reach new audiences throughout the commemorations and beyond.

Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 19: Out with the Old

 Ten teenagers won scholarships and national recognition in the Expressions of Freedom art contest developed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund, challenged teenagers from across the country to explore the question, “What does freedom mean to you?,” through photography, film and poetry. The competition offered youth an opportunity to connect with the many national parks that tell the stories of the nation’s journey from Civil War to civil rights – from Stones River National Battlefield to the General Grant National Memorial, from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Winners were selected from more than 250 submissions. All winning entries received a scholarship, an America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass and were featured on the National Park Service and the African American Experience Fund’s websites.

Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive
Action Goal 10: Arts Afire

 An agreement with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provided a traveling exhibit, Lincoln and the Constitution, which interprets the civil war as a constitutional crisis, secession, slavery, civil liberties and legacy. NEH also provided opportunities for non-profit partner grants up to $1200 for developing programs on the Created Equal film series.

Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive


Five hundred seventy-nine trading cards connect individual stories related to civil war and civil rights themes throughout the National Park System. The program exists in 93 parks in six regions, in 32 states and the District of Columbia.  Twenty-three percent of all National Parks in the nation are connected to stories of the Civil War or Civil Rights.  Its online component is available to all people everywhere. Cards will continue to be added — some may be printed but all will be digital.  The trading card program was recognized for excellence by the National Association for Interpretation in 2012.

Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive
Action Goal 16: Live and Learn
Action Goal 17: Go Digital

Civil War to Civil Rights Trading Cards

Civil War to Civil Rights
Trading Cards

A civil war website became available in 2012. Although the first of the content sites on the new, it serves as model for future opportunities to provide contextual information, allow park sites to become more specific and link to provide a seamless visitor experience throughout National Park Service websites. A civil rights content website was launched on August 28, 2013 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  It complements the civil war content site by providing relevant messaging about freedom and equality. The NPS and National Park Foundation partnered to develop a web-based application that augments reality and records voice into the 1963 March on Washington experience.

 Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive
Action Goal 16: Live and Learn
Action Goal 17: Go Digital

The use of social media has developed a series of new opportunities to connect with virtual visitors internationally. In addition, it has provided useful feedback about visitor expectations and experiences. A social media team has grown to provide support to parks during special events, use information to create additional interpretive products, and sustain engagement by training park staff on how to maintain newly created social media sites in a systematic fashion.

Action Goal 17: Go Digital

 The NPS has partnered with scholars, local museums and public broadcasting in the production of outstanding documentaries that reach television audiences. The Civil War: The Untold Story emphases slavery as the cause of the civil war and provides African American perspectives in addition to those of the soldiers and citizens. Heart of the Civil War is an Emmy award-winning film about the impact of the 1862, 1863 and 1864 campaigns on central and western Maryland.

Action Goal 3: History Lesson


Current scholarship and collaboration (internal and external) is evident throughout the many publications that resulted from cooperative agreements with Eastern National. They are available for purchase at

CW2CR PublicationsThe Civil War Remembered
Slavery: Cause and Catalyst of the Civil War
Hispanics and the Civil War: From Battlefield to Homefront
(Recognized for excellence by the National Association for Interpretation in 2012.)
The Department of the Interior in the Age of the Civil War
History of Civil Rights in America National Park Service Handbook
The Life and Legacy of Robert Smalls of South Carolina’s Sea
American Indians and the Civil War
Slavery in the United States: A Brief Narrative History

Action Goal 3: History Lesson
Action Goal 9: Keep the Dream Alive

 Other partnerships that developed as a result of the commemoration include:

The American Indian and Alaskan Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has been an active partner since 2011. Cooperative projects include An Empire in Extent – The Civil War West of the Mississippi symposium (2012), American Indians and the Civil War (2013). The organization provided copies of the book to all tribal schools. In October 2013, 600 additional copies were requested by the White House for distribution during a meeting with tribal leaders.

The Lincoln Home NHS, Abraham Lincoln NHA and Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Initiative partnered with the National CARES Mentoring Movement and the National Alliance of Faith and Justice on the Journey to Greatness: Character Lessons from the Past project. These partners honored the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham children’s crusade with a March on Washington for Mentors and No Violence and continued through the Youth Mentoring Summit which garnered support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Park Foundation African American Experience Fund.

The NPS is part of a national Civil War to Civil Rights education project presently under development with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Department of Education, George Mason University, History (The History Channel), Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Foundation, and Smithsonian Institution.

Action Goal 31: Destination Innovation

March on Washington for Mentors and No Violence NAFJ photo

March on Washington for Mentors and No Violence
NAFJ photo

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
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Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
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