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L.5 Cultural Resources
Cultural Resource Directorate Websites

This History & Culture website outlines NPS cultural resources programs and their functions, and it lists primary contacts. These programs include not only those for park cultural resources, but also broader nationwide programs for historical documentation and heritage preservation.

Cultural Resources (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

All Cultural Resources

Laws, Regulations, Standards and Guidance

DO #28: Cultural Resource Management and the Cultural Resource Management Guideline present basic information about principles, standards, and practices for management of cultural resources within units of the National Park System, including compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

CRM Laws, Executive Orders, and Regulations

NPS Preservation Compliance Coordinator: Vacant
The Laws, Executive Orders & Regulations website lists various legal mandates related to cultural resources.

Archeology and Historic Preservation

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards provide technical advice on archeological and historic preservation activities and
methods for the full range of historic preservation practices, from preservation planning to identification, evaluation, and documentation. The standards include the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The four treatment standards are preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction. Explanation and guidance on the application of the treatment standards is available online.

Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation
(as amended and annotated)

National Historic Preservation Act

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation website includes a users’ guide to the section 106 process, as well as many other resources, including information about training and about federal, state, and tribal historic preservation programs
and contacts.

Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act outlines the historic preservation responsibilities of federal agencies. These standards and guidelines for federal preservation programs are designed to help federal agencies meet their responsibilities to integrate historic preservation into their ongoing programs, in keeping with the broad section 110 mandate.

National Preservation Programs

American Battlefield Protection Program

The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) helps communities, states, the National Park Service, and other federal agencies identify, document, and plan for the protection of historic battlefields in the United States through project grants and technical assistance. Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants are available to states and local governments for the acquisition and preservation of threatened Civil War battlefields. LWCF grant funds cannot be used to acquire lands within the existing boundaries of a park unit.

Cultural Resources Geographical Information Systems Facility

The Cultural Resources Geographical Information Systems (CRGIS) facility documents cultural resources both within parks and on other public and private lands through the use of GIS and GPS, develops GIS applications for cultural resources, and develops standards for cultural resource spatial data that will be used by all federal agencies.

Federal Preservation Institute

An NPS program, the Federal Preservation Institute (FPI) provides historic preservation information and training to all federal agencies through monthly training meetings, information papers and publications, and the Historic Preservation Learning Portal. Upon request from federal agencies, it provides customized training and presentations designed to assist in developing and carrying out federal agency responsibilities under section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Heritage Areas

Congress has established a number of national heritage areas around the country, in which conservation, interpretation, and other activities are managed by partnerships among federal, state, and local governments and the private sector. The National Park Service provides technical and financial assistance for a limited number of years following designation. Some of these heritage areas include national parks within their boundaries.

Historic Preservation Planning Program

The Historic Preservation Planning Program sets policy for, delivers guidance about, oversees the implementation of the statewide historic preservation planning programs carried out by state historic preservation offices under the National Historic Preservation Act, and interprets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Preservation Planning. Guidance in preservation planning and cultural resource management is also developed for local communities, American Indian tribes, and federal agencies.

Maritime Heritage Program

The Maritime Heritage Program advances awareness and understanding of the role of maritime affairs in the history of the United States. The program maintains inventories of historic U.S. maritime properties, provides assistance through publications and consultation, educates the public about maritime heritage, sponsors conferences and workshops, and funds maritime heritage projects when grant assistance is available.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) uses science and technology to advance the field of historic preservation, particularly in the areas of archaeology, architecture, landscape architecture, and materials conservation. The center promotes and develops research, training, and grant programs to help other agencies and organizations leverage the latest technology, exploit innovation, and transfer technologies from nontraditional arenas. Research and training reports and multimedia products are available online.

National Historic Landmarks

National historic landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The following website has a searchable online database. Landmarks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and they are subject to both section 106 and section 110(f) of the National Historic Preservation Act.

National Historic Landmarks Program
List of National Historic Landmarks

National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official federal list of cultural resources that are in public and private hands and that are worthy of preservation. Under the NHPA, the national register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect historic and archeological resources nationwide. Properties listed on the register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.

NRIS database (searchable)

Technical Preservation Services (TPS)

Technical Preservation Services (TPS) creates and maintains the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and the accompanying Guidelines for Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction; maintains an active publications program; and administers the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program.

Stakeholders and Consulting Parties

American Indian Liaison Office

The American Indian Liaison Office helps NPS field and program managers interact with American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives on a government-to-government basis, and it provides guidance concerning Indian self-determination, tribal self-governance, and effective means of working with all parties. For more information about parks and tribes, government-to-government relationships, and other related topics, also visit the American Indian Liason Office site. (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

Certified Local Government Program

The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) was established by the National Historic Preservation Act to promote historic preservation at the local level. Local government preservation programs that meet certain qualifications and standards are certified through a joint NPS-SHPO process. Upon certification, local governments become official partners with tribes and federal agencies in the national historic preservation program. For very recently certified communities, contact the CLG Program Coordinator in the relevant State Historic Preservation Office or visit the program's website.

NPS Tribal Historic Preservation Program

The Tribal Historic Preservation Program administers two Historic Preservation Fund grant programs for American Indian tribes for cultural and historic preservation programs and projects. The program also administers the process for establishing tribal historic preservation officers (THPOs), who assume National Historic Preservation Act responsibilities from the states in which their tribal lands lie. For more information, including a list of THPOs, visit the following website or contact James Bird, (202) 354-1837.

State Historic Preservation Offices

A list of state historic preservation offices can be found at the National Conference of State Historic Preservation

Tribal Historic Preservation Offices

National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers


Park History Program

Acting Program Lead: Robert Sutton, Chief Historian, Robert_Sutton@nps.gov
NPS History

Park History Division (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

The Directory of National Park Service Historians includes individuals’ contact information and areas of expertise.

Handbook for Oral History in the National Park Service

The Handbook for Oral History (NPS 2004d) provides information about how and when oral history serves best as a research tool, and about practices for carrying out oral history projects, and preserving and making accessible the results of such projects.

NPS Thematic Framework

The thematic framework for history and prehistory is a conceptual tool, an outline of major themes and contexts, for evaluating the significance of cultural resources within or outside the National Park Service. For example, it shapes the evaluation of national significance in NPS special resource studies and in national historic landmark nominations. The text and some additional information are at the Park History website listed above.

Table L.15: Decision-Making Data Needs for Cultural Resources (General)

Data Needs


Types of known (or expected) cultural resources, including analysis of gaps in survey and evaluation efforts to date

National Historic Landmark documentation

Contextual information about cultural resources

National Register files

The general condition and integrity of resources and which factors affect that condition and which qualities contribute to that integrity

HABS/HAER/HAL documentation

Legal and administrative issues that historically have influenced park land acquisition and other park management actions

World Heritage Site documentation

Values of cultural resources held by traditionally associated peoples, descendent and local communities, and interested public

Literature search of existing historic contexts, theme studies, regional overviews, inventories, and assess-ments conducted by the National Park Service, state and tribal historic preservation officers, state archeologists, and others


Park administrative history


Park resource stewardship strategy

  Park historic resource study
  Park historical base map
  Geographic informational system (GIS) data
  Park cultural resource databases
  Results of public involvement and consultation (meetings, citizen panels, etc.)
  Descriptions of significance in national, regional, state and local contexts
  Other federal, state, tribal, and local sources for data
  Other relevant scholarly and/or thematic literature
  Additional resource-specific sources listed below

Archeological Resources

Program Lead: Frank McManamon, FP_McManamon@nps.gov
Archeology Program
Archeology Division (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

Archeological Sites Management Information System

The Archeological Sites Management Information System (ASMIS) is the National Park Service’s database for the basic registration and management of park prehistoric and historic archeological resources. For access, contact the park’s archeologist or CRM program manager, or the Regional ASMIS coordinator (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.). Much ASMIS data is now being integrated into park GIS.

DO #28A Archeology (NPS 2004c) supplements the general description of archeological program in DO #28 and the accompanying Cultural Resource Management Guideline and promotes a common management framework for planning for and managing archeological resources and activities within national parks as well as in archeological assistance responsibilities outside the national park system.

The National Archeological Database provides access to information on archeological activities nationwide, including NADB reports, a bibliographic inventory of reports on archeological planning and investigation.

Table L.16: Decision-Making Data Needs for Archeological Resources
Data Needs Sources
Overview of known and potential (expected) archeological resources in the area, including type, general distribution, and level of significance (national, regional, state, or local significance) Archeological site records
Description and evaluation of known and potential (expected) archeological sites, including their location, characteristics, condition, and potential scientific and associative values, including National Register, National Historic Landmark, and interpretive values National Register files
Notation of areas surveyed and level of survey National Historic Landmark files
For interpretive purposes, identification and documentation of archeological resources related to histories of traditional users and descendent communities and related to primary interpretive themes identified in the foundation document World Heritage Site files
  Reports of archeological field surveys and assessments
  Systemwide Archeological Inventory Program plans for region
  National Archeological Data Base (NADB)
  State, tribal and local inventories, including museum-held inventories
  Park base map (electronic/GIS format or paper) of archeological sites
  Park ASMIS data
  Park archeological overview and assessment

Historic Structures

Program Lead: Randy Biallas, Randy_Biallas@nps.gov
Park Historic Structures Program
Park Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes Division (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

List of Classified Structures

The List of Classified Structures (LCS) is the primary computerized database inventorying and describing historic and
prehistoric structures where the National Park Service has (or plans to acquire) a legal interest. For access, contact the Regional LCS coordinator.

Historic American Buildings Survey

Acting Program Lead: Catherine Lavoie, Catherine_Lavoie@nps.gov

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) was created in 1933 to document the nation’s architectural heritage through the production of measured drawings, histories, and large-format black-and-white photographs to create a comprehensive interdisciplinary and publicly accessible record.

Library of Congress

Historic American Engineering Record

Acting Program Lead: Richard O'Connor, Richard_O'Connor@nps.gov

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) was established in 1969 to document nationally and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. HAER documentation, similar to HABS, is also available at the Library of Congress

Table L.17: Decision-Making Data Needs for Historic Structures
Data Needs Sources
Location, historical development, and character-defining features of historic structures in the park. Park list of classified structures (to be included as appendix in GMP with selected categorized information)
Analysis of any gaps in the park's inventory of historic structures HABS/HAER documentation of historic architectural and engineering sites and structures
  Park historic resource study

Cultural Landscapes

Program Lead: Randy Biallas, Randy_Biallas@nps.gov
Park Historic Structures & Cultural Landscapes Program
Park Historic Structures & Cultural Landscapes Division (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory

The CLI is an evaluated inventory of all cultural landscapes in national park system units having historical significance or where the National Park Service has or plans to acquire any enforceable legal interest.

For access, contact the Regional CLI coordinator.

Historic American Landscape Survey

Program Lead: Paul Dolinsky, Paul_Dolinsky@nps.gov

The Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) was established to record historic landscapes in the United States and its territories. Like its sister programs, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), HALS contains written and graphic records of interest to educators, land managers, and preservation planners.

Historic Landscape Initiative

Program Lead: Vacant

The Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) develops preservation planning tools that respect and reveal the relationships between Americans and their land, and provides guidance on sound preservation practice, including Guidelines for the Treatment of
Cultural Landscapes

Table L.18: Decision-Making Data Needs for Cultural Landscapes
Data Needs Sources
Location, historical development, and character-defining features of historic structures in the park. Park cultural landscapes inventory/report
Analysis of any gaps in the park's inventory of historic structures HALS documentation
  CRGIS maps and datasets
  Park historic resource study

Ethnographic Resources

Acting Program Lead: Vacant
Park Ethnography Program
Park Ethnography Division (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

Ethnographic Resources Inventory (ERI)

The ERI is a listing of park cultural and natural features accorded significance by traditionally associated people. For access, contact Mark Schoepfle your regional ethnographer.

Table L.19: Decision-Making Data Needs for Ethonographic Resources
(Including Traditional Use of Natural Resources)

Data Needs
Ethnographic identification of resource concerns, landscapes, and interpretive issues of associated groups (e.g., Native Americans, African Americans, and other traditional users of park resources) Rapid ethnographic assessment procedures (REAP)
Recommendations for dialogues with affected groups Consultation with affected groups
Traditional uses of cultural and natural resources (e.g., for religious, medicinal, subsistence, residential purposes) (REAP) Park ethnographic overview and assessment (O&A)
Ethnographic identification, review, and evaluation of available data on family, community, and relationships between park resources and Native American, African American, and other traditional users; consultation with affected groups Park traditional use study (TUS)
Documentation of traditional subsistence, religious, uses, resource management practices, and community dynamics; identification of non-renewable of resources Ethnographic ethnohistory
For interpretive purposes, documentation of relationships between park resources and traditional users as related to social organization, religion, other elements of cultural heritage, ethnicity, demography, and economy, both contemporary and ethno-historical Oral and life histories
  Ethnographic landscape study

Museum Collections

Acting Program Lead: Lynn Black, Lynn_Black@nps.gov Ronald Wilson, Chief Curator, Ronald_Wilson@nps.gov

This Park Museum Management Program website includes virtual museum exhibits featuring NPS collections; park museum collection profiles; the NPS Web Catalog; NPS museum publications, including the Museum Handbook which has policies and procedural guidance on the preservation and protection, documentation, and access to and use of NPS museum and archival collections, and the Conserve-O-Gram series of technical leaflets providing up-to-date information on new techniques and practices in museum collections management, including preservation and protection, storage and exhibit, and curatorial health and safety. Also refer to Park Museum Management Division. (This intranet website is only available to computers within the National Park Service network.)

Automated National Catalog System

The computerized National Catalog of Museum Objects lists all cultural objects and natural history specimens that meet the criteria for museum objects in the national park system. For access to the system, contact the regional curator.

Director’s Order #24: NPS Museum Collections Management

Director’s Order #24 supplements the NPS Management Policies. It is augmented by procedures in the Museum Handbook (NPS 2006b) and it supersedes the following Special Directives: 80 1: "Guidance for Meeting NPS Preservation and Protection Standards for Museum Collections"; 87-3: "Conservation of Archeological Resources" (as it pertains to museum collections); 91-4: "Ensuring that Natural Resource Projects Fund the Curation of Collections"; 94-6: "Ensuring that Projects Generating Museum Collections Fund Cataloging and Basic Preservation"; 93-2: "Preserving NPS Cellulose Nitrate Film Collections"; and Staff Directive 87-1: "NPS Clearinghouse Procedures and Requirements Regarding Disposal and Acquisition of Excess and Needed Museum Objects."

Table L.20: Decision-Making Data Needs for Museum Collections
Data Needs Sources
Brief description of the types and numbers of objects/specimens/archives in the museum collections and their significance Description of collections provided by current owner or affiliated museums/groups
General status of documentation (cataloging), storage (onsite, offsite), security, fire protection, collection condition, NAGPRA compliance, and frequency and type of use Existing data on archeological, natural, and other resources that have potential to generate collections
  Park scope of collections statement
  Park collections management report
  Park checklist for preservation and protection of museum collections
  Data from survey of federally associated collections in nonfederal institutions; NAGPRA summary (1993) and NAGPRA list (1995) and associated files
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