On August 30, the National Park Service (NPS) announced the long-awaited selection of Dr. Robert K. Sutton as Chief Historian of the National Park Service. Dr. Sutton has been Superintendent of the Manassas National Battlefield Park since 1995. Dr. Sutton will begin his new position on October 1, 2007. The Chief Historian position has remained vacant for over two years since the retirement of Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley in June 2005.
Dr. Sutton holds a Ph.D. degree in history from Washington State University. Dr. Sutton began his career as a park ranger with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Subsequent positions include museum curator with the Oregon Historical Society; historian with the Oregon State Parks; architectural historian with the NPS Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico; historian with Independence National Historic Park; Assistant Professor in the History Department and Director of the Public History Program at Arizona State University; and Assistant Superintendent and historian at National Capital Parks-East. Since 1991, he has served as adjunct professor of history at George Mason University. In 2000, Dr. Sutton received the Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award.
The Chief Historian position in the National Park Service is one of the most prestigious historian positions in the Federal government. Dr. Sutton will be responsible for managing the Service’s history programs, which includes coordinating historical studies at the national level, managing the administrative history program, and overseeing the quality of documentation of historic places within national parks.