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An Expanding System

After 1916, the NPS expanded with new Eastern parks and a broadened thematic and geographic scope. NPS leaders aimed to reach a wider constituency than possible through Western wilderness parks alone. In 1933, national monuments held by the U.S. Forest Service; the National Capital Parks in Washington, DC; and battlefields, forts, and monuments from the War Department all joined the NPS. The Historic Sites Act of 1935 led to additions of even more historical parks through the mid-century. Park types diversified from ancient structures and battlefields to mounds, forts, missions, and presidential birthplaces. more >>

The NPS was now a leader in historic preservation, and archeology provided park planners and visitors with information unknowable through texts or living peoples. But archeology in the parks also had other benefits. Archeology provided jobs during the Great Depression. Historical architects based park development schemes on archeological finds. Rangers and archeologists worked together to interpret excavations to the public. Parks became laboratories for archeological method and theory. NPS archeology was further proof of the broad benefits of national parks to the nation. << back or view slideshow >>

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