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Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and Central Rappahannock Regional Library are hosting a speaker’s series in September 2016, focusing on topics related to the history of the National Park Service, which is celebrating its centennial during 2016

Each of the programs will explore a different aspect of the National Park Service and some of the sites under its stewardship. Discussions will include how parks are created, an examination of early battlefield preservation and the establishment of our first military parks, the development of our own park in Fredericksburg, and finally a consideration of how parks in the southern United States handled racial segregation in the mid-20th century.

All programs begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Headquarters Branch of Central Rappahannock Regional Library at 1201 Caroline St. in Fredericksburg. The schedule, topics, and presenters are:

September 8 – Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, “The Making of a Park.”
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Superintendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding will discuss how a national park is created. Who decides what’s significant and what gets to be a national park? What is involved in adding a unit to the National Park Service? As the first superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument, Talken-Spaulding will explain how this incredible site became a park.

September 15 – Dr. Timothy B. Smith, “The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation.”
Author/historian and University of Tennessee-Martin professor Dr. Timothy B. Smith’s talk is based upon his book by the same title The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The Decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks. Dr. Smith will first put the Golden Age into the larger context of Civil War battlefield preservation by discussing the various generations of preservation from the war until now. He will also look at the 1890s itself and examine why exactly it was so golden before launching into a discussion of the lasting importance of the Golden Age and its influence on later preservation even to today, especially incorporating its influence on our own park here at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania.

September 22 – Dr. Joan Zenzen, “Interpretation: From the CCC to Pokemon Go.”
Independent historian and author Dr. Joan Zenzen will describe interpretation at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park over time. She will discuss the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps’ transformation of the park, Mission 66 additions of the 1950s and 1960s, and more recent challenges resulting from traffic congestion and developments. She will conclude with the effects of Pokemon Go on visitor experience and park management.

September 29 – Dr. Erin Krutko Devlin, “Segregation in the Southern National Parks.”
University of Mary Washington Assistant Professor of History and American Studies Dr. Erin Krutko Devlin’s “Segregation in the Southern Parks” will explore her research on the evolution of NPS policy in relation to civil rights, and illuminate the experience of African American park employees and visitors in the state of Virginia from the 1930s through the 1960s. In the mid-20th century, southern national parks were segregated. Restrooms, picnic areas, lodges, lunch counters, and cabins were designated “For White Only” or “For Negro Only.”

All programs are free.

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