New Study of Adams National Historical Park in Boston Reveals Strengths, Threats to Priceless Artifacts

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 30, 2001
Contact:   Eileen Woodford, NPCA, 617-338-0126; cell: 617-529-2848
Mark Peterson, NPCA, 970-493-2545
Andrea Keller, NPCA, 202-454-3332


New Study of Adams National Historical Park in Boston Reveals Strengths, Threats to Priceless Artifacts

Quincy, Mass. - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today unveiled the results of a year-long assessment of the natural and cultural resource conditions of the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts, birthplace of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The study—first in a series of such assessments for parks nationwide—scored the park a 72 on a scale of 100 for protection of cultural resources.

National Park Service staff were recognized with a score of 100 for their involvement with the community, which has included an educational program for students, close working relationships with local government, and an outstanding volunteer program. The park also received a high rating for excavation work completed on one of the three existing archaeological sites.

Of major concern is the fact that more than 22,000 archival items, mostly family papers, have not been classified or catalogued and remain in storage, inaccessible to researchers. The park lacks a curator and a sufficient staff to manage and preserve the collection, law enforcement officers to safeguard the park, and enough interpreters to guide visitors through the park, which includes nine historic buildings on three separate properties.

The Adams assessment found that the condition of known Adams cultural resources rates 72, while condition of known natural resources rates 64. "If current funding and staffing levels remain the same over the next 10 years and threats are not addressed, the park's collections and archives are likely to deteriorate," Kiernan added.

The report recommends a number of steps to improve the condition of park cultural and natural resources, including cataloging and classifying the collections and papers and addressing the need for a curator and historian.

The Adams house and its grounds first became a national historic site in 1946. The site preserves the birthplaces of John Adams and of his son John Quincy Adams, who served as the second and sixth presidents of the United States respectively. John Quincy Adams was a staunch abolitionist who in court defended captive Africans who mutinied on the slave ship Amistad, as related in a recent motion picture. Abigail Adams planned the enlargement of the house in which she and John Adams lived for many years, and planted a rose bush, which still thrives at the site.

The NPCA State of the Parks program, a cooperative effort with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is designed to provide an objective assessment of the condition of natural and cultural resources in a variety of national park units across the country during the next few years. The first such assessment ever undertaken for the National Park System, the program provides information to help policymakers and the National Park Service improve park conditions and ensure a lasting legacy for future generations.

Data for this report was largely obtained through the assistance of the National Park Service.

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