Retrieving the Master's Degree from the Dustbin of History
Essential Competencies for National Park Service Employees: Historians (Developmental Level)1
Description: Historians who satisfy the competencies at the Developmental
Level hold the knowledge and skill usually conferred by a Master's
Degree in American History, American studies, American civilization,
or architectural history, and also the proficiency in historic preservation
equivalent to a Master's Degree in historic preservation or
public history with a specialization in preservation or cultural
resource management. . . . [At this level,] historians easily conduct
research in primary and secondary sources, know how to evaluate and
interpret a variety of source material, and can synthesize information
from these sources into coherent historical arguments. They can study
cultural resources and discern their important physical and associative
characteristics. At this level, historians participate in the planning
and development, as well as implementation, of a variety of interdisciplinary
cultural resource projects. They also have begun to participate in
the ongoing dialogue of the larger professional fields of history
and historic preservation. . . .
I. Professional Discipline
- Provides information and knowledge about
- Broad knowledge of American history, architectural
history, or landscape history with detailed knowledge on a specific
- Working knowledge of the theories, principles,
practices, and techniques of the historical method (see Research
- Knowledge of historical discussion and
debate on topics of expertise.
- Ability to identify and maintain professional contacts with colleagues within the history profession, including memberships in historical organizations and attendance at conferences.
II. Preservation Law, Philosophy, and Practice
- Provides information and knowledge on the
identification, evaluation, documentation, registration, treatment,
- Knowledge of the origins and development
of the historic preservation movement and of historic preservation
practice, including a working knowledge of the laws,
and NPS policies and guidelines…
- Ability to design and conduct activities and create products that reflect sound preservation principles and practices.
III. Research and Survey
- Conducts and/or reviews historical research
and cultural resource surveys.
- Ability to determine the need for research
and/or survey, and to outline a scope and objectives of the study.
- Strong working knowledge of research techniques
and methodologies and the ability to apply them, such as:
1. Ability to identify and gather primary and secondary source materials in libraries, archives, National Park Service record holdings, and other facilities;
2. Ability to evaluate critically historical evidence and to place research and survey findings into a larger context;
3. Ability to draw conclusions of fact from historical evidence. …
4. Ability to write analytical histories on one or more simple or complex topics.
5. Ability to evaluate critically historical research, planning documents and proposals, and other documents. …
IV. Program and Project Management
- Completes a variety of preservation projects
- Working knowledge of related disciplines
involved in cultural resource activities, such as art and architecture,
architecture, archeology, collections management,
- Ability to participate in the development and implementation of a variety of interdisciplinary cultural resource research, planning, technical assistance, and reporting projects.…
V. Writing and Communication
- Presents information on historical and
preservation topics, issues, and programs in oral and written
form to NPS managers,
other professionals, and the public.
- Ability to prepare and deliver effective
talks and papers on historical topics and preservation
- Ability to draft policy letters, reports, and briefing papers; write informational articles; and complete other written assignments.
- Presents standardized training on historical
topics and on preservation history,
law, regulation, policies,
- Ability to organize, coordinate, and/or
direct the logistical aspects of
- Ability to develop effective goals,
learner-centered objectives, agendas,
and participant evaluations
for training events.
- Ability to use a variety of teaching techniques, as appropriate, including lectures, open or directed discussions, question/answer sessions, media presentations, individual and group exercises, and field studies.
Last Updated: May 11, 2007