National Park Service Names New Cultural Resources Head

National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis recently named Stephanie Smith Toothman, Ph.D., as the Service’s new Associate Director for Cultural Resources. Toothman will be responsible for history, historic preservation, and cultural programs in 392 national parks and a host of community programs that make-up the NPS role in a national preservation partnership among federal, Tribal, state and local governments and nonprofits. She will begin her job in mid July.

From the Washington, DC, headquarters, Toothman will establish and oversee policies that affect the management of historic and cultural properties in all 392 national parks, including 27,000 historic structures, nearly 70,000 archeological sites, the largest system of museums in the world holding more than 100 million objects, artifacts and archives, and the historical research required to share the stories preserved in national parks.

Outside of parks, Toothman’s responsibilities include support for community-based efforts to preserve and share local history including grants programs that award millions of dollars annually, a tax credit program that incentives $5 billion a year in private investment, and programs that document and recognize history like National Historic Landmarks, National Register of Historic Places, and the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, Historic American Landscapes Survey, and the Cultural Resources GIS survey. Toothman will also manage the national Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and National Heritage Areas program, and an extensive national system of standards, guidance, and technical assistance that is the foundation of historic preservation work across the country. In addition, Toothman will manage award-winning outreach programs like Teaching with Historic Places, an online series of more than 100 classroom-ready lesson plans, and the Discover Our Shared Heritage online travel itineraries.

Toothman comes to her new position from the NPS Pacific West Region where she is chief of cultural resource park and partnership programs. During her 32-year career with the NPS, she has also served as a preservation planner in Washington, DC, and as regional historian, acting superintendent at Crater Lake National Park and the National Mall and Memorial Parks during the 2009 inauguration, and as acting director of the Interior Department’s Office of Youth.

Prior to joining the NPS, Toothman worked as a curatorial assistant at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College and went on to receive her Master of Arts and Doctoral degrees in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania. Toothman received the DOI Meritorious Service Award in 2008 and the Washington State Historical Society’s “Robert Gray Medal” in 1999.