One of the goals of this blog is to draw attention to online primary sources that professors/lecturers/instructors can use in the classroom or accompanying assignments. While some of these posts will point to more well-known places from which to draw these sources, some – like this one – will focus on sites on the internet that scholars may not have considered as being useful in their teaching.
On the NPS’s main site, they have a page dedicated to exploring history related to their parks.
For example, the NPS, as part of the Heritage Documentation Papers, has the “HABS/HAER/HALS Collections“:
The permanent collection of architectural, engineering and landscape documentation at the Library of Congress consists of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format black and white and color photographs, written historical and descriptive data, and original field notes. The collection captures the American experience through approximately 40,000 recorded historic structures and sites, from American Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde to space-age technology at Cape Canaveral.
If you look up “austin, tx 1890,” the first entry returned is:
NPS also has a series of articles in their “Distance Learning” section that may be useful to educators. When you click on one, you are taken to information about what a field trip to that site would teach students of history. The one titled “A School Day in 1872” is about the Homestead National Monument in America. While the page may not be useful, you can click on a link to that particular site just above the photograph on the upper left side of the page.
At the website for the Homestead National Monument in America, you can then explore online resources for that site. On the left-hand navigation menu, select “History and Culture.” That takes you to a page that gives information on the Homestead Act of 1862, including a link that leads to another page which gives historical background to the act and a link to the act itself.
On that same left-hand navigation menu, when you are on the “History and Culture” page, you will see the option to click on “People” or “Collections.” Under “Collections,” you can find a photo gallery titled “Freeman Family Scrapbook,” which are images from the early 20th century.
The site also provides a how-to on searching for genealogy of homesteaders.
And like most of the National Park sites, the Homestead National Monument has a photos and multimedia page.
National Parks/Monuments sites worth exploring:
- Fort Smith (Arkansas and Oklahoma): “Explore life on the edge of Indian Territory through the stories of soldiers, the Trail of Tears, dangerous outlaws, and the brave lawmen who pursued them.” Fort Smith’s “History and Culture” page.
- Shenandoah National Park (Virginia): “With the establishment of the park in December 1935, the CCC began to build visitor facilities throughout the mountain, areas that were initially racially segregated. The core of the park’s development was completed by the beginning of WWII and, to a great extent, the mountains were released to nature.” Shenandoah’s “History and Culture” page and their collection titled “Segregated Facilities 1939-1950”.
- Jefferson National Memorial Expansion (Missouri): “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial consists of the Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis’ Old Courthouse.” Jefferson’s “History and Culture” page and their page “African-American Life in St. Louis, 1804-1865 From the Records of St. Louis’ Courts“
- African Burial Ground National Monument (New York): “From about the 1690s until 1794, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6-acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building.” African Burial Ground’s “History and Culture” page and their “Archaeology Reports” about the finds at the site.
NPS also have a YouTube channel and when you search “history” on that channel, you are returned with videos like “Andersonville National Historic Site”
Finally, the NPS is partnered with The Florida Center For Educational Technology at the University of South Florida.