Positioning National Heritage Areas to Deliver Place-Based Educational Programming

No Thumbnail Available

Links to Files


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work



MA in Historic Preservation

Citation of Original Publication


To view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at archives@goucher.edu or (410) 337-6075.


“Positioning National Heritage Areas to Deliver Place-Based Educational Programming” undertakes an examination of place-based education programs in National Heritage Areas (NHAs) geared toward school age children and ultimately reveals the qualities that make NHAs ideal examples for developing and integrating place-based programs into the nation’s education system. This thesis research explores historic preservation, conservation, and education to identify principles common among NHAs, the National Park Service (NPS), and the place-based education initiative. Their shared tenets reveal the obvious opportunities for collaboration among NHAs, the NPS, and place-based education initiatives. Combined with analysis of key NHA functions, this study makes a case for NHAs to take a leading role in delivering place-based educational programs to the nation’s youth. Two case studies that represent strong examples of place-based education programs involving a collaborative partnership between NHAs, the NPS, and area schools are analyzed: Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student Service Learning Project at Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and A Park for Every Classroom at Essex National Heritage Area. These case studies are evaluated through interviews with NHA and NPS staff, school educators, officials, and program participants. This treatise employs a basic metric drawing from NPS evaluative criteria in order to draw conclusions about the effectiveness or success of these programs. Utilizing available qualitative and quantitative data pertaining to each case study, this treatise concludes that Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and Essex National Heritage Area serve as effective, successful, and appropriate models for application at other NHAs. The conclusion of this treatise suggests additional research into program outcomes and further development of evaluative criteria. With the recent thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the first National Heritage Area this treatise is a timely exploration of the potential for National Heritage Areas to contribute to the intellectual and civic development of our nation’s youth.