Dear NCH member,
Recently, nearly all of the National Park System Advisory Board, the citizen panel that advises on National Park Service issues, resigned in frustration after repeated requests to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to hold meetings were ignored. The board normally convenes twice a year, but has not met since the beginning of the Trump administration. The National Coalition for History (NCH) strongly objects to Secretary Zinke’s refusal to engage with the board. NCH has sent a letter to the Secretary urging the reconstitution of the advisory board and the resumption of regular meetings.
Here is a link to NCH’s letter to Secretary Zinke.
Here is a link to the full story on NCH’s website.
On January 15, seven members of the twelve-member board sent Zinke a resignation letter written by board chair and former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. An eighth member joined them two days later, and two others had terms that had already expired (although they did still sign on to Knowles’ resignation letter), leaving only two board members remaining.
The National Park System Advisory Board is made up of scholars and experts in the humanities and the natural, social, and physical sciences who advise the Director of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior on issues related to the National Park system. Their purview includes a number of history-related programs. Most notably, board approval is required for the designation of National Historic Landmarks. With no board members in place, it is unclear how Landmark nominations could move forward without their review.
The expert advice of citizen boards like this one is crucial to the functioning of federal agencies, and the preservation of historic places and national parks is necessary to ensure nuanced and
evidence-based understandings of our past. NCH calls on Secretary Zinke to ensure that the new board members demonstrate broad expertise in relevant science and humanities fields, and a demonstrated commitment to the mission of the National Park Service.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
National Coalition for History
The ASA is a proud member of the National Coalition for History. NCH is a consortium of more than 50 organizations that advocates on federal legislative and regulatory issues affecting historians, archivists, researchers, teachers, students, preservationists, political scientists, museum professionals, genealogists, and other stakeholders. Priority issues include maximizing researcher access to government records and information, support for history education, and funding for agencies like the National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. NCH is also a driving force behind the Congressional History Caucus.
For more information, and to sign up for email alerts, visit historycoalition.org