NPF has launched a new nationwide program, Inclusive Storytelling, and with it the first cohort of grantees, with a total of $2 million granted to projects. Grants from the program support contemporary research in parks, as well as projects which transform this research into relevant interpretative products. See a full list of projects below.
The Inclusive Storytelling program supports the work to document, interpret, and share more inclusive and comprehensive stories, including those of Indigenous people, women, people of color, people with disabilities, communities striving for environmental justice, and other under-represented people. Inclusive Storytelling grants support parks’ work to document and share these stories through various interpretive products and services.
Note: the term “storytelling” has several meanings. In this context, “storytelling” is used to describe the art and craft of interpretation – the art of organizing and sharing a story.
January 2023 Grantees
American Memorial Park will commemorate and share the stories of Indigenous people of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Chamorros and Carolinians, who lost their lives as a result of World War II.
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument’s St. Paul United Methodist Church will conduct oral history collection and research to develop temporary exhibits that seek to deepen understanding of how 20th century African American faith communities paved the way to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The work will be supported by local organizations, such as The Ballard Project House, Inc.
César E. Chávez National Monument will catalog and assess the oral histories related to the farmworker movement of the 1960s-1970s through present day to conduct a gap analysis to determine which stories and key populations are not represented in the existing collection. The park will then work to fill these gaps, and the oral histories will help develop new interpretive products to share these stories with the public.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will collaborate with African American community partners to translate new research on Black history in the region into fresh, accurate, and meaningful interpretive and educational programs at the park. The park will host a Public History intern, two PLC interns, and a seasonal park guide to help staff with the project.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park will complete ongoing research into African American and women’s experiences of the Cuyahoga Valley and its relationships to their communities and integrate their findings into materials that guide interpretation and education at the park. The park will also partner with Kent State University to update the Cuyahoga Valley Park Handbook with this updated park story.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site will install wayside panels to invite visitors to follow a wooded path along the Freedom Interpretive Trail that explores the underrepresented African American history of Roanoke Island and speaks to the journey, hardships, and significance of the 1863 Freedmen’s Colony.
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park will support primary source research into the underrepresented stories of enslaved and newly free people as well as support staff to create new interpretive audio walking tours for the NPS app and thematic program scripts for three sites within the park.
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will design and develop a permanent exhibit that tells the story of the American Indian Occupation at Alcatraz Island from 1969-1971 and its significance to the present day.
Great Basin National Park Foundation will partner with NPS, as well as the Duckwater Shoshone, Ely Shoshone, and Confederate Tribes of the Goshute Reservation to tell stories from the past and present – and those who speak to the future – that are important to the Tribal groups. The stories will be shared with the public through virtual public lectures, webpages, wayside exhibits, and more.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park will highlight the experiences of the Indigenous Anikituwahgi people and people of African descent in the park and its gateway communities by producing two short films, updating outdated exhibits, and curating demonstration events in the park led by local Anikituwahgi and African American communities.
Haleakalā National Park will create a new NPS website in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) to engage and connect the Hawaiian community, as well as Hawaiian speakers and learners of all ages.
Hampton National Historic Site will work with its nonprofit partner Historic Hampton Inc. to update 20 outdoor wayside panels and four exhibit panels in the Log Quarters to incorporate findings from recent research to provide a more accurate and complete interpretation of the free and enslaved African Americans and others who lived and worked at Hampton.
Hot Springs National Park will engage student interns to continue conducting and collecting oral histories from local residents and descendants of some of the individuals who worked in the park’s bathhouses. Ultimately the stories will be brought to life through a self-guided tour on the NPS app, a digital exhibit, and a temporary exhibit in one of the bathhouses.
Independence National Historical Park will collaborate with partners to train park staff, with the goal of piloting inclusive public programs beginning with Juneteenth 2023, redesign their Junior Ranger program to elevate diverse stories and voices, and establish an arts integration program to bring inclusive storytelling into the classroom and bring authentic voices into the Liberty Bell Center.
Lincoln Presidential Foundation will join forces with Lincoln Home National Historic Site and Looking for Lincoln Heritage Area to create exhibits and media to tell the story of Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish American man who provided education to thousands of African Americans throughout the segregated South.
Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site will leverage current research and established Descendant and community partnerships to commission new poetic works, written by local poets of African ancestry in conversation with the park’s history, as well as co-create an interactive Poetry of Slavery and Freedom multimedia interpretive trail, and develop curriculum-based supplements to the trail.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum will address the absence of Black experiences in interpreting U.S. urban history by developing a new virtual complement to a permanent exhibit on the 1869 tenement home of Joseph and Rachel Moore, a Black family who lived in a Lower Manhattan tenement that no longer exists.
Manassas Battlefield Trust will expand the interpretation of Manassas National Battlefield Park by including the stories and voices of Groveton, a diverse 19th century community in the heart of the battlefield. The work will include developing new waysides, supporting a seasonal researcher and two living history interpreters, and constructing a new blacksmith exhibit to help visually recreate Groveton.
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument will tell the often-overlooked history of women in the Mississippi Movement by featuring them on a series of church fans which will be located at partner sites throughout Mississippi during the 90th birthday year of Miss Myrlie Evers. The fans will have a short interpretive blurb and encourage people to explore a digital interactive story-map online.
Mesa Verde National Park will expand its Indigenous Internship program, creating tangible interpretive products that will work to correct damaging dominant narratives. The work builds on Mesa Verde’s commitment to privileging Native perspectives and establishes new pathways for Indigenous storytellers to build careers in NPS interpretation.
National Capital Parks – East will enhance an existing program that engages Kiamsha youth in place-based curriculum and peer-to-peer learning. Launched in 2020, the program trained Kimsha youth to serve as docents at Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site and provided media and technical training that resulted in a video highlighting the connecting between the Kiamsha youth and various Black heritage sites.
28 National Heritage Areas across 23 states are collaborating to research, develop, and share 250 stories in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Researchers and writers will work with each National Heritage Area to craft their stories and ready them for interpretive products including websites, exhibits, and podcasts.
Nez Perce National Historical Park will collaborate with Nez Perce, Colville, and Umatilla Tribes to build a semi-permanent structure as a dedicated space in its Visitor Center for having nimíipuu storytelling sessions in a culturally sensitive manner. The park will also work with the Tribes to make recordings in both English and nimiipuutímt to tell the stories of important nimíipuu figures.
NPS – Fairbanks Administrative Center will make oral history recordings with the Nunamiut Iñupiat of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, available to the community, NPS staff and interpreters, and the public through the Anaktuvuk Pass Project Jukebox, an online platform of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks that integrates oral histories with associated photographs, maps, and text.
Pipe Spring National Monument will hire additional seasonal park rangers to cover operations during the summer of 2023, allowing permanent Ranger and Kaibab Paiute Tribal Elder Benn Pikyavit to continue his research that will help create a variety of interpretive products, including oral histories, corrections to museum displays and waysides, a podcast, and more.
Pipestone National Monument will partner with the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to digitize primary source materials, conduct oral history conversations, and create interpretive media to bring the story of Pipestone Indian Boarding School to light at the park and beyond.
Rocky Mountain National Park and its partners, Rocky Mountain Conservancy and two departments at University of Colorado, Boulder, will work with nine traditionally associated tribal nationals to hire an interpretive coordinator for Indigenous stories. The coordinator will develop updated materials that include updated and accurate tribal narratives and contemporary Native themes.
Sand Creek Massacre Foundation will work in conjunction with Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site to bring the 500 victims and survivors into historical record and compile three decades of oral history recordings by Cheyenne and Arapaho descendants for new public educational opportunities. These voices and stories will be publicly accessible, both on-site and digitally, and will help create new exhibits at the park through a partnership with History Colorado.
Susquehanna National Heritage Area will research and develop a Susquehanna National Heritage Area African American Heritage Guide, install outdoor interpretative signage at three sites, and present interpretive programs during Riverfest. The park’s new content will highlight the experiences of African Americans who coexisted at what is now Susquehanna National Heritage Area during the antebellum period.
Thomas Edison National Historic Site will support an archival research intern to research Mina Edison’s contributions to women’s history. Building upon an NPF Women in Parks grant, the research will produce a handbook of resources related to Mina – a tool for park interpreters to use when developing new programming, including a new program centered on Mina and putting four museum artifacts related to Mina’s work on view.
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve will use new studies to create formal ranger-guided programming at the park’s Kingsley Plantation, a site that the park has interpreted from the enslaved perspective since 2006.
Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site will create a 10-episode podcast series that will highlight little-known Institute history and individuals, including Institute women, staff-members, the Institute’s involvement in creating the Tuskegee VA Hospital, civil rights events and movements in which staff and students participated, Native American history of the city, and more.
Whitman Mission National Historic Site will co-create and reimagine a new Junior Ranger program with the park’s Tribal partners, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). The program will be distributed to families and youth at the park and the CTUIR’s Tamástslikt Cultural Institute as well as be made available online.