Interpreting Elkmont Historic District: A Case On Historic Preservation In The NPS

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Tierney McCausland (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Kristen Baldwin Deathridge

Abstract: Freeman Tilden asserted in his book Interpreting Our Heritage that good interpretation is necessary for historic preservation. This thesis evaluates the relationship between interpretation and historic preservation at Elkmont Historic District in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Elkmont Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, but the Park’s interpretive policy prevented both the District’s preservation and interpretation. The events that followed led to a shift in interpretive policy and therefore historic preservation policy in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This thesis provides a context for Elkmont Historic District, a chronological history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park administrators’ management of Elkmont Historic District, and an analysis of the Park staff’s modes of interpretation regarding Elkmont. Since 1993, Great Smoky Mountains’ staff have made great strides in effectively interpreting and preserving Elkmont Historic District, though there is still room for improvement. As such, Great Smokies’ successes and shortcomings at Elkmont Historic District provide numerous interpretation, historic preservation, and fiscal lessons for the National Park Service. The most important lesson is the conclusion that a national park staff’s interpretation (or lack of interpretation) does influence what is (or is not) preserved in national parks.

Additional Information

McCausland, J. (2017). Interpreting Elkmont Historic District: A Case On Historic Preservation In The NPS. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Elkmont, Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, National Park Service, Interpretation, Historic Preservation

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